Teaching Good Financial Habits
by Kathleen McCoy, Ph.D.
Many parents are searching for ways to teach some financial lessons to their teenage children, here are some ways you might begin:
- Let them experience some of the uncomfortable consequences of their financial irresponsibility. Feeling the consequences may give him extra motivation to change his financial habits and choices.
- Model for your teen the fact that most of us can't buy whatever we want when we want it. We have to plan and save to get the things we want. Then help them make their own plan of action.
- Encourage your teen to make a plan for buying things they want. . . to save for the new stereo instead of looking for instant gratification or easy credit. Make a chart showing how saving a little money every week or every month can help achieve a particular goal in a given amount of time.
- Help plan a job-hunting campaign. When your teen has to work for their money, they may appreciate it more. If your child is an early teen, a paper route may be a good option. In the middle-to-late teens, a job at a fast food restaurant or supermarket or other retail store may be the best possibility. Discuss what they need to do to be a good worker: the importance of being on time, being respectful to both the boss and the customers, working hard, keeping a good attitude.
- Teach the joy and the freedom of budgeting: it's about taking control of your money, not deprivation! Start out with the take home pay and help find ways to stretch it to cover necessities, fun and savings for major goals.
The financial habits and skills you teach your teen now can make a major difference in the future!
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Last modified: Oct 24, 1995