Raising Financially Savvy Teenagers

It’s hard to teach teenagers something that they don’t think they already know.  Parents are seen as ignorant of what is important to them.  Despite what they think, however, parents do know about money and the consequences of using it unwisely.  Show them what you know by teaching them a few things about money.

Parents have experience on their side.  They have dealt with money and the ups and downs that come with it.  Parents can lend insight to teenagers about how to make and manage money.  From day one, they can set teenagers on the right track to understanding the advantages money and good credit can bring into their lives. Here are some tips.

1.  Start a savings account.  When your teenager receives money from their first lawnmowing or babysitting job, take them to the bank.  Saving money is an important part of managing money.  Ask them to give their money a month to sit in the account before they spend any of it.  This will be hard, but one job may pay forty dollars that will be gone in a weekend.  After a month, their savings account may have $200 in it.  That can buy a new outfit and leave some money for a rainy day.

2.  Invest in a certificate of deposit.  When your teenager has accumulated around $500, have them put the money in a CD.  The longer you keep the money in a CD, the higher the interest rate will be for you.  Try a one-year certificate.  After a year, you can sit down with them and decide what to do with the money.

3.  Sleep on it.  When your teenager sees something that they really want to purchase, ask them to sleep on it for a night or two.  Parents know all too well about buyer’s remorse after an emotional purchase.  Implementing the “sleep on it” rule of thumb in your household can save your teenager from feeling that same remorse.  They want a scooter today, but by taking the time to think about the purchase, they may choose to save to buy a motorbike instead.

4.  Develop a financial plan.  Adults are told to come up with a budget for their family, but teenagers can benefit from a similar plan.  Get them to list their wants and needs in two columns on a sheet of paper.  Wants and needs are subjective things, so be sure that you explain the fine line difference.  They don’t have to do it in one sitting.  Give them time to think about it.

5.  After they prioritize their wants, let them figure out how much money they would have to save to purchase it.  To make the process less painful, they can figure up how much money they want to devote per month towards the purchase.  This leaves them disposable income for dates, nights out with friends, and incidentals like gas.

Raising a teenager that understands money is not impossible.  Starting when they are young children lays the ground work for future teachings.  Teenagers that can take control of their money become adults that won’t want for it.


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