You might think teenagers worry about nothing more important than their Friday night plans, but it turns out they’re worried about their financial futures, too — and they’re already incredibly pessimistic.

According to a new survey from Junior Achievement and the Allstate Foundation, just over half of kids between 14 and 18 think they’ll be as financially well-off as their parents. That’s a huge decline from just a year ago when 89 percent felt that way.

In addition, teens think they’ll need money help from their parents way beyond their 18th birthdays. Last year, 44 percent thought they’d be financially independent by age 20. Now? Just 18 percent are so optimistic.

Junior Achievement USA CEO Jack Kosakowski said the new results are the “cumulative toll” of seeing family members lose their jobs or even their homes, and also a lack of confidence about their own financial savvy.

In a separate 2011 survey from Charles Schwab & Co., nearly 95 percent of teens reported their families being affected by the recession. Experts say that number has risen because although parents will usually go without things themselves to shield their children from the harsh realities of a financial downturn, things have gotten so bad for some families that they’ve been forced to level with the kids about what’s actually going on.

“The reality is that this group is growing up almost like the kids of the Depression,” said Renée Ward, founder of “It’s not surprising that their confidence level would be challenged at this point.”

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