What Are Teens’ Financial Resolutions for 2023?

Ten diverse, African American, Asian, caucasian, East Indian, young adults illustrating teamwork.
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Despite inflation and an uncertain economic landscape, most teens are feeling optimistic about their financial prospects in the new year.

The 2023 New Year’s Financial Resolutions study, from Fidelity Investments, found that 70% of teens have positive feelings toward their finances, compared to just 58% of adults. Of these, 23% say their relationship to money is healthy, while 21% say it’s relaxed. And this translates into them making financial plans, as seven in 10 teens say they’re considering financial resolutions for 2023.

The top four financial resolutions of teens are to save more money (61%), spend less money (30%), start saving/save more for college (30%) and learn more about how to save and invest (25%), the study notes. 

Teens Are Looking Ahead

A surprising finding of the study is that teens are focused on the long term, unlike adults. Fidelity notes that, for the first time in a decade, 53% of adults are prioritizing short-term goals over long-term ones, in what John Boroff, head of youth investing at Fidelity, deems a “significant shift.”

Over half (53%) of teens, on the other hand, remain focused on long-term goals, including saving for college, a future family or retirement.

“With teens, our research shows that they are more likely to view money as a tool to help them gain financial independence than previous generations,” Boroff said, “and we also have to recognize the fact that teens don’t yet have significant regular expenses, for the most part.

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“It’s encouraging to see them thinking about long-term savings goals, as we know that saving even small amounts steadily over time can help build a stronger financial foundation for life.”

In terms of what motivates teens to make these resolutions, 74% say it’s for paying for things they want, while 72% say it’s to save money for the future and 49% say it’s to pay for essential things, such as food, clothing and school supplies. 

How Parents Can Help

Additional sources of motivation for teens include having parents or guardians’ guidance for their financial goals followed by having a place to invest, such as stocks, brokerage or accounts.

Boroff said the most important thing parents can do to help empower their teens in their financial journey is simply starting a conversation.

“While we know talking money can be uncomfortable, the data shows that teens who talk to their parents about money are twice as likely to say they feel confident in their finances,” Boroff said. “The advice is the same for teens: Be open to talking to your parents and other trusted adults about your money questions. It’s never too early to start saving and investing for your future.”

An interesting point is that “having enough money to invest” as a source of motivation reveals a gender gap, as more than a third of teen boys (35%) name this reason, compared to only 23% of teen girls.

“We continue to see the gender gap persist in how teens approach money,” Boroff said. “In fact, while one-quarter of teen boys say that starting investing is among their top financial resolutions, only 13% of teen girls say the same. We continue to work on delivering the education and conversation starters that families need to break down these barriers.”

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As far as helping them keep their resolutions, the study notes that positive reinforcement and the help of adults can play big roles.

So, what helps them stay the course? For 36% of teens, it’s having a parent or a role model to encourage them to stay on track. An additional 36% say they are motivated by getting rewards if they reach their goals, while 33% say they can keep their resolutions if they set clear and specific goals.

Finally, the study found that the No. 1 financial topic teens are interested in learning about in 2023 is saving (37% said this), followed by budgeting and investing (both 23%). The gender gap is notable here, too, as 29% of teen boys are interested in learning about investing, compared to just 17% of teen girls.

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