Raising Financially Savvy Teenagers

by William Blake

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. Open a savings account. As soon as a teenager begins making income from any sort of job, take them to a bank to start putting their money into a savings account. Encouraging teenagers to leave any money they make in the bank for a month before using it will help them save up moderately large amounts of money that would otherwise be squandered away in no time at all and on nothing of any importance. Though it won’t be easy to get teenagers to stick to such a plan, it will be a great financial lesson for them.

2. Get a certificate of deposit. After a teenager has successfully saved about $500, have them invest this money in a CD. Interest rates will be higher on CD’s the longer they are kept. Testing this out on a one year CD is a good idea so that, when the CD is opened, your teenager can think about what they should do with the money that has accumulated.

3. Don’t make rash decisions. Request that teenagers not make sudden purchases on things they think they really want before sleeping on it for at least one night. Making rash decisions often brings buyer’s remorse, something most parents are familiar with. Applying this “No Sudden Purchases” rule, teenagers will be saved from experiencing such remorse. For example, you could explain to a teenager that instead of buying a scooter today, being a little patient and saving money could score them a motorcycle

4. Plan your finances. Making a budget can be just as helpful to teenagers as it is for their parents. Explain the difference between wants and needs and then let them consider their situation. Over a period of time, allow teenagers to write out just what they consider to be their personal wants and needs.

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.

Teenagers can learn to use money wisely, but starting to teach them as early as possible will make it easier later on. Financially responsible teenagers will turn into equally responsible adults, capable of caring for their financial needs efficiently.

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