Learning how to become an independent and responsible adult is probably the best parenting advice you can give your child.
Although money is said to be bad company, the importance of understanding how it works cannot be understated. Your child’s understanding of financial matters will almost certainly affect the quality of life he/she leads.
Children are more likely to get into financial difficulties later in life if they aren’t taught how to handle their income wisely.
Teaching your teens the value of money is, therefore, some of the best parenting advice that might dictate how well they will manage their finances as adults.
It is true that the most important financial management lessons, those that can help ensure better living standards during adulthood, are often taught at home.
So, besides instilling a firm understanding of ethics, morals and other important principles of life, you need to teach your kids about money too!
But how do you go about teaching your teenager the value of money?
Here’s what you can do:
1. Lead By Example
Teenagers learn through example, picking up their parents’ habits subconsciously, so you need to be aware of your spending habits and how you manage your finances. Your attitude towards money helps mold your child’s financial management skills.
If you spend your cash irresponsibly or have little control over your finances, odds are your teenagers will not behave any differently and may expect things to always be readily available.
Instead, involve your children in the financial management of the household. This doesn’t mean letting them see every cent which comes in and out, but showing them how much is spent at the supermarket, the fruit market, the butcher and the general household bills such as electricity, gas and water to allow them to understand exactly where the money goes.
One of the best parenting tips you can give your child is to show them roughly how much money you have to work with each week and where this money goes. Not only does this teach them the concepts of saving and budgeting, it also includes them in the household running and allows them to see how decisions are made regarding where the money must gol.
It is your role as the parent to be the educator around money and financial management habits – you can start by showing your children how well you manage your finances.
2. Don’t Use Credit Cards
Children imitate their parents, hence if you tend to pay mostly with credit cards, it’s time to check that habit.
Credit cards tempt adults to spend what we don’t have, even though we know we will end up paying a lot more for that privilege, so imagine what a teenager with a credit card will act like. They see Christmas Day every day and Mum & Dad will pay!!!
Teach your children to budget and show them the importance of buying things in cash or at least with a debit card that is spending their money. Handing over cash is the best way of learning how to spend responsibly.
Scott Pape, the author of The Barefoot Investor for Families gives the best parenting advice for teenagers (and parents) about the use of credit cards.
At the very least you should give a detailed explanation of what a credit card is as well as the disadvantages of using one. Statistics in the US show that 45 percent of teens with access to credit cards will have amassed a debt of up to $3000 by senior year so, unless you’re convinced your children are very responsible and can manage credit cards, they should not be allowed one. But if you must, having a cap limit on a credit card before giving it to your child is advisable.
3. Involve Your Teenagers In Financial Decisions
Have your teens contribute to the financial decisions made around the home. Before you task them with any shopping errands, make sure you’ve taught your kids how to look for discounts and shop for better deals.
Start by taking them along when you go shopping.
When you ask your teenager to go grocery shopping, give a list of the items you want and make them understand the importance of sticking to the budget and only getting what is on the list.
Give your teenagers plenty of advice and teach them how being meticulous with their calculations can help reduce unnecessary expenses. You can show them how you budget your monthly expenses with careful planning and choices or teach them about marketing gimmicks and why they should not fall for such tricks.
4. Teach Financial Responsibility
Some of us don’t think cash should be handed out to kids. However, your children won’t learn to respect, value, and spend “pocket-money” if they aren’t given the chance to handle it. Giving your kids a small allowance from early childhood is, therefore, a good idea.
You can give your teenagers a bigger allowance and more financial responsibilities once they’re ready to handle their own budgets. Regardless of their needs, giving your teenager a weekly or monthly allowance to cover a specified list of items is a great piece of parenting advice.
Show them how to budget for the items listed (essentials) and then explain that whatever is left over will have to cover such things as social activities, school lunches etc.
Do not give them any more cash until the end of the specified period to teach them the effects of going over-budget .
5. Encourage Your teens To Save
Teach your teenagers the importance of saving and having savings goals.
If you ask my children, they will tell you that one of the best pieces of parenting advice I gave them growing up was that they had to save half of their pay once they got a part-time job. I am proud to tell you my daughter had $5000 invested in shares by the time she was 18 – all with her own money!!
They can start by saving for new clothes, technology, or other some investing targets.
Learning to save up for something and understanding the value of saving with things like compound interest, could help improve your children’s financial management skills, which will come in quite handy in their adult life.
6. Familiarize Your Teenager With Banking
Your kids will need to deposit their savings somewhere, hence the importance of a bank account.
If you didn’t open an account when your child was young, go with your teenager to the bank, have him/her talk to the teller and open an account in his/her name.
Discuss with them before-hand the different types of accounts and ensure they have a low or no fee account. Again we suggest Scott Pape’s Barefoot Investing for Families for all this type of information.
Besides teaching them about banking, letting them conduct the business on their own will make them feel independent and important.
Encourage them to deposit regular amounts each month as committing to a minimum deposit is a great way of saving for any particular goal. Direct debit is probably the best option and for convenience, opt for an account that can be serviced online.
Helping your kids learn how to save and having their own savings account is bound to give them a feeling of achievement that might motivate them even more.
7. Encourage your teenager to work
Although school activities do not necessarily prevent teenagers from taking on part-time jobs, your may want your children to wait for their vacations to earn some extra money. Getting a job is beneficial on so many levels.
Judge not the job your children pick or how much they earn, as having a job can help them learn how to manage additional responsibilities and give them some extra cash.
Besides the basic work ethics, they will also learn that cash doesn’t come easily and develop respect for hard work and reward for effort. The best parenting advice we can give is to support your child’s initiative and the chosen activity regardless of whether it is tutoring, babysitting, or serving at a food outlet.
We believe that the best parenting advice you can give your teenager is the value of money.
Being able to manage their finances is the first step towards leading responsible, independent lives as adults.
Here’s a summary of what you can do to develop your kid’s financial management skills.
• Be aware of how you manage your finances
• Discourage credit card usage
• Teach them how to budget and make sound financial decisions
• Task them with grocery shopping and other duties that can help instill financial responsibility
• Encourage them to take up jobs and earn their own cash
• Teach them the importance of saving on a regular basis
• Set them up with a savings account
For more best parenting advice for teenagers click here.
Dawn is a regular writer at ParentingMonkey.com. She is an experienced classroom teacher and comes home to a full house of her own. See her on Facebook or visit her on Twitter.