Ways to Teach Teens Financial Responsibility
There are so many advantages to teaching your teenager financial responsibility – not least of which is them not asking you for money for the rest of their lives. In all seriousness, giving teenagers the tools they need to manage their money – including any money that they may already be earning – will stand them in good stead well into adulthood. Some parents may not know where to start, so we’ve outlined a few ways to get your children into good habits.
Whether your teenager already has a part-time job or simply receives an allowance from you, they are likely to have some kind of small income. The impulse to spend this money as soon as they get it is huge. Sweets, trainers, tech – it is all tempting and readily available. Denying themselves can feel like a big ask, especially when their friends and schoolmates may be flaunting their new-found wares. However, teaching your teen to put a little bit of money aside as a matter of habit is something that will help them accrue savings later in life. You’re not asking them to sacrifice it all – only a little each time. This makes it easier to take and once they see how much they’re able to set aside, they may want to save more.
Older teenagers may want to open a current account. There are obviously several different options to choose from, and both you – and they – should research the benefits and drawbacks of different banks and accounts before making a decision. One option that may appeal to the younger, more tech-savvy generation is an online bank. These usually come with an accompanying app that is cool, colourful and easy to use. The best feature with most of these online banks, however, is the way expenditure is tracked. With most of accounts, every time you make a purchase, you receive a notification on your phone, which is a good anti-theft measure as well as a reminder of how much you are spending. The apps also often offer insight into how you’re spending. If you see that most of your income is being spent on food or clothing, perhaps cut back on that expense. Essentially, it helps with budgeting in a way that feels contemporary and tailored rather than preachy.
While teenagers are living at home, the stakes for them to save money are relatively low. This is, of course, assuming that room and board are paid for by their parents, as well as the odd holiday. When they grow up and need to pay for themselves, having money becomes a necessity rather than an added bonus. However, if you teach them the real-world benefits of saving money while necessity isn’t a factor, they will learn the rewards and hopefully adopt good habits from early on. An example would be when they ask for something to be bought for them, pledge that you will pay for half of it if they save up for the other half. They get the sense of achievement having saved successfully for something themselves and are rewarded by both your contribution and the thing itself.
When some teenagers become adults, things like the cost of central heating can come as a complete bombshell. You may not consider yourself to be a financial expert, but your teenage children are likely to know almost nothing about council tax, paying bills or the merits and dangers of credit cards. Honesty and open communication about these things can help your teenagers to transition from child to adult without too much of a shock – financially at least. There are some parts of life you won’t be able to prepare them for, but financial responsibility isn’t one of them.
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This article is for information only and must not be considered as financial advice. We always recommend that you seek independent financial advice before making any financial decisions. Investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invested.
gpfm are an independent financial planning company dedicated to the provision of personal, professional and objective-driven advice for our clients. We have been awarded the Chartered Financial Planners title by the Chartered Insurance Institute for offering high quality, independent and informed advice that meets the needs of our clients.