News Story


Posted on May 23, 2017


Junior Achievement & American Honda Finance Corporation share resources and new research on what teens know – or don’t know – about the financial rules of the road

Colorado Springs, Colo. – Nearly one-in-four teens (24%) expects a vehicle or help paying for a vehicle for high school graduation, according to research conducted for Junior Achievement (JA) and American Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC), which included separate surveys of teens and their parents. At the same time, 61 percent of parents expect their teen to complain about the financial upkeep of a car within 30 days of getting their vehicle.

While 76 percent of teens ages 15-17 are confident they fully understand the financial responsibilities of owning a car, 85 percent of parents with 15-17-year-old teenagers disagree. This discord may lie in the fact that 86 percent of teens feel that parents should help them with automobile expenses such as insurance, repairs, and gas, while 91 percent of parents believe assistance is unreasonable.

“When it comes to newly licensed drivers, in addition to important discussions about distractions and curfews, parents should rev up the car talk about the financial aspects of car ownership,” said Barbara VenHorst, President, JA of the Heartland.  “It’s a great way to prepare them for future financial security both on and off the road.”

Interestingly, 61 percent of parents say that a car is a more effective means of teaching kids financial responsibility than a credit card. To that end, 96 percent of parents say they would only help their teen buy a car if they first demonstrated responsibility, such as by preparing a budget to pay for expected and unexpected expenses, having a certain amount of money saved, or explaining what is required to buy a car. 

Junior Achievement and AHFC created the Financial Test Drive, an online quiz to help determine a young driver’s financial road readiness. AHFC has also joined with JA on the development of The JA Personal Finance® program, a comprehensive financial literacy program aimed at helping teens better understand financial concepts such as earning money; spending money wisely through budgeting; saving and investing money; using credit cautiously; and protecting their personal finances.

The Junior Achievement Surveys were conducted by Wakefield Research ( among 500 teen Americans ages 15-17, 500 young adult Americans ages 18-25, and 500 Americans with teen children ages 15 -17, between February 8th and February 21st, 2017, using an email invitation and an online survey. 

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.  For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.4 percentage points in each audience from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About Junior Achievement
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 4.8 million students per year in 109 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.2 million students served by operations in 100 other countries worldwide. Junior Achievement USA is a member of JA Worldwide. Visit for more information.

Locally, Junior Achievement of the Heartland serves 24 counties in eastern Iowa, western Illinois and Grant County in Wisconsin. More than 56,000 kindergarten through high school students benefit from JA programs each year. Visit for more information.