Tips For Raising A Financially Responsible Teen
Much of what I know about financial responsibility I had to learn on my own. While I love my parents, they held the belief that family finances were a private matter and it would only stress their children out to learn about them. This lack of financial knowledge left me very unprepared when I left home for the first time.
Since I was determined not to see my early money struggles repeated by my children, I began to teach them early about one of the five pillars of teenage independence—financial responsibility.
Teach Your Teen About Budgeting
While some parents find it controversial, my wife and I chose to give our children an allowance from 5 years old onward. It is a weekly amount, based on their age. For example, my 7-year-old daughter receives $7 a week while my 17-year-old daughter gets $17. One of our biggest rules surrounding allowances is once the money runs out, there is no more until next week.
My teenage daughter struggled with this rule when she started high school. She liked grabbing snacks at school with her friends, but she was usually out of money by the time her crew went to the mall on the weekend.
Instead of just opening my wallet, I sat her and her siblings down and went over how to track their expenses and save up for what they really wanted. They all committed to saving 20% of their allowances, so when we went on our next family trip, they all had money to spend, and my daughter was able to spend her money more responsibly when out with friends.
By teaching your teen about budgeting and saving money, you will put them ahead of the one-fifth of Americans who add nothing to their savings. With our older teens who are preparing to leave for college, my wife and I were sure to talk about having a three-month emergency saving in the bank in case they lost their jobs or had an accident.
You can even help your younger children make their own piggy bank to get them more excited about saving money.
Help Your Teenager Find Work
While my younger children were often pretty content with their allowance, my older teens wanted bigger ticket items, like new video game releases and high-end makeup. When my oldest son showed me the math on how long it would take him to save his whole allowance to buy a new computer graphics card he wanted, we had a serious talk about him finding a part-time job.
Depending on where you live, child labor laws will restrict your teen’s ability to work. But, there are still plenty of jobs teens can work such as:
- Grocery bagger
- Camp counselor
- Lawn mowing
With some help from me, my son applied for a handful of jobs and landed a position as a grocery store bagger. He worked that job until he left for college, earning him enough for his new graphics card and thousands saved in the bank.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even help your kids start investing in the stock market, as there are programs created to help children become financially savvy.
More than anything, I hope all parents take time to help their children learn to be financially responsible, as our competitive economy will only make it harder for them to succeed if all our children aren’t properly prepared.
Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on:Twitter | LinkedIn
I am always thankful to have Tyler Jacobson write for my blog because he covers a topic that I am not yet familiar with: teenagers.
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