Here are a few key messages from this research:
In our ever-changing global economy and world, financial skills are leadership skills. As the premier leadership organization for girls, Girls Scouts helps girls build financial experience, confidence, and independence by providing them with resources focused on everything from saving money, developing strong credit, and minimizing debt, to philanthropic giving and financing their dreams.
Girl Scouts is committing to the financial empowerment of American girls. Our shift from simple fundraising to financial education has been underway for some time and continues to bolster the relevance of Girl Scouting to today’s girls. The current economic recession and resulting awareness of how important financial literacy is for all youth—especially girls—has given our approach a real charge.
This generation of girls is financially empowered and independent. A great majority feel gender is no barrier to what they can accomplish financially. Moreover, they envision a future family structure where they are fully engaged in financial decision making and planning.
• Girls see little difference between genders when it comes to financial capability, with seven in ten saying that both men and women are equally likely to be financially responsible (73 percent) or in a lot of debt (72 percent).
• The vast majority of girls (94 percent) would rather make their own money than rely on their parents, and 80 percent would rather make their own money than marry someone who would support them financially.
Girls are extremely optimistic about their future lives, but they admit to lacking the financial confidence and knowledge they need to achieve their dreams. They are also products of how the world has changed, as many distrust large financial institutions and think that debt is a normal part of life.
• 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. They are similarly optimistic about obtaining college degrees (96 percent); being able to retire comfortably (92 percent); being able to save a lot of money (90 percent); and making a lot of money (87 percent).
Financially confident parents are key influencers.
• Girls primarily say they learn about money and finances from their moms (85 percent), dads (61 percent), teachers or guidance counselors (20 percent), financial classes in school (14 percent), and friends (12 percent).
Girls are quite clear that they need and want financial literacy skills to help them achieve their dreams.
• Nine in ten (90 percent) girls say it is important for them to learn how to manage money, and 88 percent say that it is important to set financial goals.
When girls are confident in making wise decisions with their money, it will help them reach their dreams. This is why the Girl Scouts finds it important to teach girls financial literacy through courage, confidence and character, so they have the skills to make the world a better place.