Money talk with your teenager, we all know It can be hard to get the message across to your teens; they’re starting to really discover the world, get their own opinions, and they don’t really want to listen to dear old dad anymore. It can be a hard thing to come to terms with, but meeting your teen in the middle, and employing new methods to really teach them what they need to know, like how to manage their time, is key.
And one of the biggest things that you’re going to need to teach your teen about is money. Some kids tend to be naturally money savvy, and some kids tend to spend frivolously without a care in the world – balancing between these two states is what you’re aiming for here! So, let’s go through some of the best ways to help your teens see this path for themselves.
Using Pocket Money to Set a Standard
Pocket money is something a lot of kids and teens alike receive. Whether it be a weekly or monthly allowance that’s unconditional in nature, or it be a reward for taking on chores and jobs around the house, it’s totally normal to let your children have money of their own. Once you hand it over, it’s theirs, and they can do what they want with it. Whether they save it up, or spend it all at once, is totally their prerogative. But that might unsettle you a little, especially if you’re not sure what they do with the money you give them! And that’s why it’s key to set a healthy boundary here without overstepping, and use pocket money to set a standard. Most of all, you’ll want to make sure that any pocket money is earned, and provide your teen plenty of opportunities to earn it – make sure the value of the monetary reward is worth the work too, to make sure your teen really starts to value what they’re capable of doing!
Go Through Budget Templates with Them
Budgeting is something we all need to learn, sooner rather than later, to make sure the money we do have goes in the right places. And seeing as your teen is being fed and clothed (predominantly) by you right now, it might be hard to get them to see the value of money in these areas without a worksheet in a familiar format.
Most of all, you need to get in the mind of your teen here. What do they enjoy doing that costs money? Well, most teens want to buy their own things, and go out with their friends, and that’s what you need to focus on here. They get pocket money, which they earn, and now they need to learn how to allocate these funds, because you’re not going to pay for that cinema trip for them!
Budget templates are easy to come by – you can find plenty online, and there’s quite a few teen orientated versions as well. After all, most teens are either visual learners, or learn by doing, and giving them something tangible to track their progress on is going to keep them on track in a much better manner. Work through it with them, and take your time on each section.
Saving Money on the Big Life Expenses
Big life expenses are going to come your teen’s way one day, and they need to be prepared to cope with them. From obtaining a renewable income, to paying for a home of their own, or a family, or even just a car they’ve always wanted, the big expenses are something they can only dream about right now, and it’s your job to show them how to make them a reality.
Most of all, you need to show them how to budget for expenses like these in the near or distant future, and how to save money along the way, as well as save money when they’re putting down their investments. Think about the way you once afforded all you have in life, and learn from your successes and mistakes along the way, and make sure your teen knows all about them. The next generation shouldn’t have to pave their own way entirely blind! Now, depending on the age of your teen, learning to drive and getting a car of their own is the closest big expense to them right now. So why not use it as a learning experience? After all, they’re going to have to start paying for the upkeep of the vehicle, even if you buy it for them, and teaching them about fuel savings and loyalty programs, or wheel and tyre packages that’ll make car maintenance a lot cheaper to keep up with, is key for getting them in the right headspace.
Make Sure You’re Setting an Example
And finally, we come to quite possibly the hardest part of teaching your teen the value of money – setting a good example yourself. Because you’re going to have ups and downs with your own financial wellbeing, and it’s going to cause you stress, and you’re going to make some silly decisions sometimes. However, instead of hiding these from your teen, let them in a little. Make sure they know what’s going on in your financial life, even if it’s less then rosy – it’ll certainly help to serve a learning curve, and it’ll present the realness of money and how it affects our lives. Sure, you don’t have to properly scare them here, but be sure not to lie to them either.
It might be easier than you think to teach your teen the value of money. Teach them about budgeting, get them ready for the big expenses in life, and make sure that pocket money they get sets some kind of financial standard they can use to their advantage! And if all else fails, make sure you don’t easily bail them out – make sure they learn something from what went wrong, and coach them towards the right answer next time.
Post contribute by Mike Gene
Cover Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash