As a parent, you’re probably used to your children asking you for things from the minute they start talking. It’s your job to make sure they’re taken care of – healthy food, an education, a comforting home, all the proper amenities, and so forth. However, as your children continue to get older, they’re going to start asking for different things – such as money and more expensive hobbies and activities. Teaching your teenager about the value of money and how to make a dollar stretch is one of the most important lessons they can take into adulthood.
If you’re looking for ways to ensure your teenager grows into a fiscally responsible adult, here are a few ways you can get started.
- Give them hands-on experience. There are plenty of “adult” tasks that your teenager can help with so they can develop the tools to manage those tasks after they’ve grown up. For instance, having your teenager help build a grocery list and shop with you can teach them how to budget for food and other household amenities. You can also show them your weekly or monthly budget spreadsheet so they can see how far your family’s money can be spent.
- Help them with their own personal budget. If your teenager has a part-time job, they’re already taking a big step in developing good financial habits. However, you can take a step even further by helping them work out where their money is going. Assessing their weekly expenditures – snacks / lunch at school, hobbies, hanging out with friends – can go a long way in determining what’s a “need” and what’s a “want.”
- Slip in financial lessons into your everyday activities. Every teenager can benefit from what some call “teachable moments,” and you can do it without even trying too hard. For instance, you can show them how moderating your thermostat can affect your monthly electric bill, which is an essential part of any household budget. You can also use your grocery shopping trips to decide together which brands or products are a better value for the cost.
- What comes after their teen years? Every teenager has to grow up, and all you can do is ensure they have the best financial toolbox going into adulthood. If your teenager plans to attend college, sit down and talk together about how their education will be paid for, whether they plan to attend a local college or one that’s further away, and if they want to take on a part-time job while in school. When you help your teenager visualize the real-life costs that come with being an adult, they benefit greatly as they get older.