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Five Money Tips for the Parents of Teenagers

Having a teen can be very rewarding, but it can be hard! It seems they have a culture and a mindset all their own, especially when it comes to money.

Today’s technological world isn’t helping. From sending money with a transfer service in an instant to swiping a credit card at the gas station, not to mention the fact that inflation has altered our perception of a dollar, and it’s easy to see why teens have trouble with money!

This isn’t a topic that is likely to be covered in school either. Take control of your teen’s relationship with money by following these tips.

  1. Make Sure They Have an Income Stream of Their Own

The only way to learn about money is to have some of your own. That means making sure your child has their own income stream.

That might mean providing them with a list of chores in exchange for an allowance. Chores that are perfect for teens include:

  • Taking out the garbage

  • Doing the dishes

  • Mowing the lawn

  • Vacuuming

  • Folding the laundry

You can also encourage your teen to get a part-time job. By sacking groceries or working at the local ice cream shop in the summer, they will really learn what it takes to earn a buck!

  1. Open a Bank Account for Your Teen

Once they have a steady income stream of their own, you can consider opening a bank account for your teen. There’s no better way to learn about bank balances, online banking, writing checks, and using debit cards!

However, you shouldn’t open a bank account without first having meaningful money conversations with your teen. Because the bank will likely require you to be a joint account holder, you will be responsible for any overdraft fees or bounced checks.

Make sure your child is responsible enough to have a bank account on their own. If they aren’t quite ready, keep their bank account information hidden so they have to speak to you every time they want to use their account.

  1. Differentiate Between Wants and Needs

One way to make sure your child isn’t overdrawing their bank account at every turn is to help them understand the important difference between wants and needs. That can be surprisingly difficult for a teen to understand!

For example, clothes are a need, but that doesn’t mean name brand clothes are. Food is a need, but getting candy at the gas station isn’t.

Making these distinctions is important because it clarifies what your child is responsible for paying for, and what you’ll pay for. Keeping the refrigerator stocked is your job, but if your child wants to go out for ice cream with friends, they have to pay for it.

  1. Talk With Them About Their Money Goals

It isn’t enough to start helping your child manage their money today. You have to help them visualize the bigger picture. That means talking with them about their money goals.

You likely have money goals of your own for your child. Try to bite your tongue and listen to what their goals are. You might have college on the brain, but they may be thinking about their senior trip!

No matter what their goals, encourage them to save so they can meet those goals. Don’t be surprised if you have to check in with your teen to make sure they’re saving. After all, adults know better than anyone that saving can be hard!

  1. Don't Be Afraid to Talk About Family Finances

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is not talking about family finances because they think it’s too overwhelming or depressing. The truth is, your child can learn a lot about money by watching how you handle it.

Plan a time to talk about family finances with your child. That means talking about all the bills you pay on a regular basis and showing them how you budget. Once you get started, chances are, your teen will have a lot of questions to ask!

You can also invite them to sit down with you when you pay bills each month, or when you create your budget so they can see exactly how it works.

Don’t think your teen is too young to understand the nuances of money. The earlier you can get them started, the better off they will be when they get older and they are responsible for their own budget. By making money a regular topic in your home, you can help foster a positive attitude towards money too!

 

 

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