Score another one for Chinese teenagers, who leave U.S. kids in their dust when it comes to knowing how to handle money. That's the latest anxiety-producing statistic (for American parents, anyway) to emerge out of a newly released international study of the financial habits of roughly 29,000 teens from countries as far flung as Australia, China, Colombia, France, Israel, Russia, Spain, and the U.S.
The goal of this first-ever international study of financial literacy, conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, was to gauge the financial know-how of 15-year-olds worldwide. Many of the teenagers have reached or are nearing the end of their required schooling, and must now decide whether to pursue a job or university education.
The study aims to see if teens are prepared to make such decisions about their financial futures at a time when a middle-class lifestyle no longer seems guaranteed. "Shrinking welfare systems, shifting demographics, and the increased sophistication and expansion of financial services have all contributed to a greater awareness of the importance of ensuring that citizens and consumers of all ages are financially literate," write the study's authors.