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Essential Money Talks to Have with Your Teen

Mother talking to daughter about banking

Empowering your teens with financial knowledge is more than just a gift – it's an investment in their future. As parents, guiding your children through the maze of money management is crucial for their long-term well-being. Think of it as laying down the stepping stones toward financial security and independence.

In this article, we’re revealing six money conversations you need to have with your teen. These discussions aren’t just about dollars and cents – they’re about equipping them with the skills they need to navigate the complexities of the financial world and succeed.

Earning an Income
Before teens can effectively manage money, they must understand the practical value of earning it. Parents can start by discussing the concept of earning money through work. Whether by receiving an allowance or getting a part-time job, earning an income teaches teens valuable lessons about responsibility, work ethic, and the tangible relationship between work and reward.

How to Apply It:

  • Allowance: If you choose to give your kids an allowance, it provides an excellent opportunity to discuss financial concepts in a controlled environment. Parents can use allowances to teach teens about budgeting, saving, and spending within their means.
  • Part-Time Job: If your teenager works a part-time job, it’s the perfect opportunity to instill lessons about budgeting, saving regularly, and spending within their means. It also opens the door to valuable experiences, including time management, teamwork, and gaining real-world skills.

Budgeting Basics
Budgeting is the cornerstone of financial literacy, and it’s never too early for teens to learn this essential skill. Parents can introduce their teenagers to budgeting by helping them understand the concept of income and expenses.

How to Apply It:

  • Start by discussing the money they earn or receive and their various expenses, like school supplies or going out with friends. Map out a simple budget that lists all their income and expenses. Since kids don’t typically have bills like most adults, it can help to break their expenses into categories with defined amounts, such as savings, fun money, gas, etc.
  • Once your teen grasps the basics, it's time to let them take the reins. Please encourage them to develop a personalized budgeting system that reflects their unique financial goals and values.

This sense of ownership will make budgeting more effective and foster a sense of responsibility and control over their financial future.

Contributing to Savings
Saving money is a crucial habit that teens can carry into adulthood. Parents can help children establish this habit early by emphasizing saving for short-term and long-term goals. Whether it’s saving for a car, senior trip, or college tuition, setting savings goals gives teens something tangible to work toward.

How to Apply It:

  • Encourage your teenager to regularly contribute to their savings account, even if it's just a tiny amount each week. Establishing the habit of making savings a priority allows teens to learn the value of delayed gratification and the satisfaction of achieving their goals. For an added incentive, consider matching your teen’s contributions to encourage them to save even more.
  • Consider opening additional account types for your teenager, separate from their regular savings. For example, Share Certificate Accounts (commonly called Certificates of Deposit) or Money Market Accounts are great opportunities to introduce your child to investing and saving for longer-term goals.

Working Toward Financial Goals
Teaching teens how to set and achieve financial goals is a valuable skill that will serve them well throughout their lives. By instilling the importance of goal setting early on, you’re empowering your teen to take control of their financial future.

How to Apply It:

  • Start by helping your teen identify their financial goals, whether buying their first car, traveling abroad, or saving for college. Then, work together to create a plan by breaking their goals into smaller, more manageable steps.
  • Please encourage your child to track their progress along the way and take time to celebrate their achievements. Use any setbacks as a learning opportunity to adjust their strategy. Remember, the main goal is progress – not perfection.

Understanding Credit Cards and Loans
Credit cards and loans are powerful financial tools. However, adults know they can also be sources of immense financial stress if not used responsibly. As your teen approaches adulthood, educating them about the risks and benefits of credit is crucial.

How to Apply It:

  • Start by explaining the basics of credit, including how credit cards and their interest rates work. Emphasize the importance of responsible borrowing, like paying bills on time and avoiding maxing out credit limits. Discuss the consequences of carrying high-interest debt and its long-term impact on their financial well-being, including their credit, which could affect their ability to get approved for future loans, like a mortgage.
  • Introduce them to these concepts by adding them as an authorized user on your credit card. You can create an arrangement where they can make purchases but must pay you back within a set period. This strategy introduces them to credit without financial repercussions for any mistakes.

Saving Money While Shopping
You are teaching teens how to save money when shopping, an invaluable skill that can help them stretch their dollars even further. By instilling smart shopping habits now, you’re setting your teenager up for financial success in the future.

How to Apply It:

  • Encourage your children to become savvy shoppers by comparing prices, looking for discounts and deals, and using coupons and promo codes whenever possible.
  • Discourage impulse purchases by encouraging your teen to think carefully before purchasing. Teach them to differentiate between needs and wants so they can prioritize their spending accordingly.

CAMPUS Can Help!
As parents, empowering your children to make sound financial decisions is one of the most important responsibilities you have that can set them up for success. Parents can equip their teens with the knowledge and skills to thrive financially by fostering open and honest conversations about money. Every money conversation with your teenager is an opportunity to prepare them for a brighter financial future.

We're committed to financial education and supporting you and your family through life's milestones. If you want to learn more about Teen or Youth Accounts and the tools available to parents, we're ready to help. Please stop by any of our convenient service center locations or call 800-367-6440 to speak with a representative today.

By CAMPUS USA at 15 May 2024, 14:59 PM

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