Summer signals the time when many American teens unlock their earning potential, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Parents of kids ages 13-17 report that 36% of teens will earn their primary income from summer jobs (vs. parental allowances or savings, etc.), a 19% increase over last year.
On average, teens expect to earn $582 per month — up from $498 in 2014 — and they plan to save roughly half (51%) of those earnings. If those plans ring true, that's a whopping $10.5 billion collectively saved per month while holding a summer job this year, a 30% increase from 2014.
The three most popular items teens are saving for are college tuition (27%), a car or vehicle (26%), followed by a smart phone or other smart device (23%). While saving up for college, teens are also considering the tech they need for school: Significantly more teens are saving for a laptop computer, an 80% jump from last year's survey.
"The fact that teens expect to save more this year shows they are thinking about long-term payoffs, like saving for college and investing in the technology they need," said Jed Scala, Senior Vice President, Consumer Lending at American Express.
Top Jobs for Enterprising Teens
Nearly one-quarter of teens (24%) will work at a fast food restaurant this summer, making it the most popular job, followed by jobs at the grocery store (20%), babysitting/nanny (19%) and working as camp counselors (14%). Some teens will start to lay the groundwork for their careers, as 18% have internships; additionally, 7% claim to be starting their own businesses or entrepreneurial activities.
Working for Allowances
Although some kids are too young to enter the workforce, many children will still be busy working for their allowance at home. When asked what age is appropriate to receive an allowance, the average age cited by parents of kids 17 and under was 8 years old, though they noted the appropriate age to start doing household chores was, on average, 7 years old. Tasks range from cleaning one's room, the most popular chore (79%), to taking on larger home projects such as painting or washing windows (18%).
Seventy-nine percent (vs. 83% in 2014) of parents give their school-age children an average of $35 per week (vs. $27 in 2014). Completing chores is the number one determinant to how much allowance is given, but the child's age and grades are factored in as well.
Allowance aside, a new statistic shows that nine out of 10 (91%) parents reward their children for academic accomplishments – with money being the most popular reward (52%), followed by gifts (48%) and dining out (44%).
Work Hard, Play Harder
Rounding out the equation, 86% of parents with children under the age of 18 expect to spend an average of $1,028 per child to keep their kids busy this summer (a 7% increase from last year's $958).
This may be due to certain discretionary expenses that are up YOY. For example, day trip expenses, which include visiting theme parks and landmarks, are higher ($316 vs. $292 in 2014). Camps are also a big expense for parents: day camps average $281 (vs. $273 in 2014) per child, while sleep-away camps average $255 (vs. $234 in 2014). And although the cost is down, childcare remains the lion's share of the summer expenses related to kids ($430 per child vs. $505 in 2014).
About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2,243 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000, and parents of children under 18. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity from June 3 - 7, 2015. The results reported in this release have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.7 at the 95 percent level of confidence.
About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.
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About Ebiquity, Plc.
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