New Research Uncovers Girls’ Lack of Confidence in Financial Decision Making, Illustrates Desire to Learn
The American dream is alive and well among girls, according to a new report by the Girl Scout Research Institute which reveals that girls feel optimistic about their financial futures. However, those same girls noted feeling unknowledgeable about essential financial principles from using credit cards to establishing good credit. Only 12 percent of the girls surveyed reported feeling confident in making financial decisions.
“Helping shape girls’ development to become the leaders of tomorrow is our goal at Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines,” said Lisa Jones, chief executive officer. “The girl who can confidently and successfully manage her finances will grow into a woman in control of her financial future.”
The report, Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy, comes out at a time of continued economic uncertainty. The country’s recovery from the 2009 recession has been marked by slow economic growth and high unemployment, as well as increasing concern over the costs of a college education and the unprecedented levels of student loan indebtedness.
The study, which surveyed 1,040 girls ages 8 to 17, shows that girls are averse to debt. However, these girls say they need more education about how credit works in order to avoid debt. In fact, nearly 4 in 10 girls say they do not know how to use a credit card, only 38 percent know what a credit score is, and just 37 percent know how credit card interest and fees work. Yet the vast majority (90 percent) says that it is important to learn how to manage money.
Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines offers a financial empowerment program that ensures girls have the opportunities to build their business sense and hone their financial literacy skills. Girls build on these skills as they progress through the K−12 curriculum to become knowledgeable, confident, and self-reliant participants in a global economy.
“Our programs at Girl Scouts are allowing girls to explore what it means to be a responsible consumer, build financial independence, and learn to balance their own needs with the needs of others,” said Jones. “When girls develop smart financial habits early on, they are better prepared to create a budget, manage their credit, all while saving and investing for their futures.”
Despite the recession and economic uncertainty, girls are optimistic about their financial futures. Some 88 percent say they are likely to make more money than their parents. Nearly all girls say it is likely that they will have jobs or careers they enjoy (98 percent), be able to provide for their families (96 percent), and own their own homes (95 percent) one day. This generation of girls is financially empowered and independent.
The majority feel gender is no barrier to what they can accomplish financially and they envision a future family structure where they are fully engaged in financial decision making and planning. Whether a Girl Scout is setting goals during the annual Cookie Sale Program, or working to earn the Financing My Future or the Money Manager badge, she is developing financial savvy, business skills, and innovative thinking for her lifetime.