Teaching your teens about money
Before you know it, your kids will be out on their own making financial decisions that will affect their lives. If you have a teenager – they might already be there. One of the biggest advantages you can give them is a basic education on being financially responsible. Here are some basic tips to help raise their financial IQ.
1. Teach the basics
Teach your kids that budgeting is simply a way to manage the money they have -- to pay for what they need. (Or afford the things they want).
- Show them how you stay on budget while grocery shopping. Ask them to help add up the items in your cart as you go through the store. They’ll learn why certain items (like candy or snacks) won’t make it into the cart without going over the money you have available.
- By the time your teen reaches high school, he or she knows what things cost– from clothes to video games. But here’s a good reality check. Have them sit down with you as you pay your monthly bills. This will help them gain a better understanding of how day-to-day money management works.
2. Create their own budget
Help your children add up any income and expenses they may have and discuss their goals for developing their own budget. Is it to pay for everyday things or to save for something special?
- Whether they receive money from an allowance or family gifts, kids can start learning the value of creating a budget they control. A good approach is to start with a small savings goal. They’ll learn the benefits of saving vs. spending.
- Show your teen how to create a budget from a part-time job or allowance. It’s never too early for them to save money for college (or a car for college). Discuss priorities and the difference between needs and wants.
3. Open a bank account
Once they have money to save, help your child open an account. This is a great time to teach banking basics such as interest rates and withdrawal limits to your kids. Depending on their age and need, the type of account will vary. Tip: look for student accounts that don’t charge fees and require no minimum balance.
- Saving: best for learning basic banking and when working toward a goal. Your kids will learn what interest rates mean and value of compounding. They will also learn about withdrawal limits and fees
- Checking: best for learning day-to-day money management. Teach them how to use debit cards responsibly and how to use tools like online banking
4. Track and monitor progress
Once you help your kids create a budget or open an account, monitor their progress together. Sit down with them to review their progress and answer any questions they may have.
- If they have already have an account, show them their balance in online banking so they can see their progress. Make the connection between their balance and what they could be saving for – a new pair of sneakers or a fun trip.
- Most banks have online banking and a mobile app. So, sit down once a month to review their checking and/or savings accounts. Discuss their budget and what adjustments need to be made to reach their goals. Prepare them for future financial decisions by talking about credit and debt and how it could affect their lives.
By teaching your kids the value of managing their finances now, it will help them grow into money-savvy adults.