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What the kids learned from the recession: Skepticism

Retailers and financial institutions, take note: Tomorrow’s customers are wary of you.

A new poll finds that more than 7 in 10 teens believe businesses try to trick them into spending more than they should. In addition, 6 in 10 think credit card companies entice people into taking on more debt than they can handle.

They don’t seem to be big fans of Wall Street, either. Only about one-fourth of the teens polled disagreed with this statement: “The stock market is rigged mostly to benefit greedy Wall Street bankers.”

The University of Arizona commissioned The Financial Literacy Group to poll nearly 900 high school students in 18 high schools for the survey.

In an e-mail, the Financial Literacy Group said that although it had not previously polled teens on their perceptions of financial institutions, the fact that adults’ views of banks have declined in recent years leads them to believe the financial crisis and recession has had some effect on the teens’ attitudes as well.

The survey also showed that the kids could stand to learn a bit more about personal finance.

More than half of the students surveyed didn’t realize that a high credit score is better than a low credit score, and the vast majority also weren’t aware that owning company stock is riskier than government bonds.