Get Adobe Flash player
Almost one-third of parents (32%) indicate that their teens' major source of income this season will be a summer job, according to the latest American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. And these are not unpaid summer internships: the 13-17 years olds, born in the nineties and leading the generation now referred to as "Generation Z", are filling their piggy banks with hard-earned cash to the tune of $434 per month – approximately $1300 for the summer. While these 32% depend on their jobs as a primary source of income, many are still banking on parental support to fund their summer spending and saving.

In fact 38% of parents of these teens will dole out an allowance – at an average of $22 per week — as their kids' primary income this summer. The majority of parents (70%) say the amount of the allowance will be determined by the chores their kids complete. And almost no one is getting away with bathing suits on the floor or towels left out of the hamper: 9 in 10 indicate that their kids will be responsible for chores this summer – paid and unpaid!

In addition to summer jobs and allowance, 11% of Gen Z will primarily rely on their savings this summer, parents report, while 6% will earn money from (non-steady) odd jobs such as helping out their grandparents or neighbors.

"No matter how they earn their income, the summer is a great time for parents and kids to discuss real-time strategies for spending and saving their money," says David Kroner, SVP, Proprietary Products, American Express. "Since teens are on track to becoming more financially independent, American Express offers parents tools such as Additional Cards with Custom Limits(SM)." Custom Limits gives parents the option to set, change or remove spending limits on Additional Cards linked to the parent's account. Additional Cards are available for family members over the age of 15.

Teens Go Back to Basics to Earn Their Summer Stash
So how are Gen Z's leaders—whose primary income is a summer job—earning their green? Below are the top five teen jobs this summer, by the numbers:
  1. Babysitting/nanny (18%)
  2. Fast food service (18%)
  3. Landscaping (13%)
  4. Working for family business (8%)
  5. Grocery store (8%)
The More Things Change, The More Chores Stay the Same
Kids aged 6 to 17 may be savvier than their parents on all things digital, but you can't get any more basic than mastering household chores. Gen Z—and their parents—keep to tried and true tasks. The top chores we can expect from kids this summer are:
  1. Cleaning their room (87%)
  2. Taking out the trash (61%)
  3. Doing dishes (56%)
  4. Caring for a pet (49%)
  5. Doing laundry (36%)
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2008 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as two sub-groups—Affluents and Families. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between June 5 and 8, 2012. Overall the results have a margin of error of ± 2.2 (or ± 3.9 among Affluents and ± 3.2 for families) percentage points at the 95% level of confidence. The results highlighted in this release are among parents with teenagers, age 13 to 17, (n=480) and have a margin of error of ± 4.5 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.

Affluents are defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000.
Families are defined as having children (under 18) in household.

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 and connect with us on, and