“I Know!” The two most favorite words in your pre-teen or teens vocabulary…that and the grunt. When your child figures they know everything, it can feel like bashing your head against a wall when you try and show them anything. Therefore, I decided to make you a list of some helpful hints to help you along when teaching your teen about money.
- Have someone else do it. I know this sounds counterintuitive but honestly you are their parent, and in you don’t know anything at all. Before Covid I volunteered in classrooms, in the one class I happened to know a child’s parent. This 16-year-old went home and told their mom about all the things I taught them that day. I got a message from the mom, “I literally told him all of that before!” Kids are more likely to listen to someone other than you. If you have a financially successful friend that would be willing to speak with them, call them up! You don’t want “Always In Debt Doug” being the one to give the talk.
- Open a bank account. Every teen is seeking independence, if they have to come to you every time, they need money they are going to feel controlled and trapped. Now, you don’t have to give them a bank account with thousands of dollars (that would be crazy), just a bit to start. With the digital age we don’t keep track of money like we used to. It is a valuable lesson for them to see how fast it can “disappear.”
- Match money. If your child wants to save for something specific but is frustrated or unmotivated work out a Matching Money Contract. The idea of this contract is once they save $100 you will match it. Now be sure to do this in your own budget. Maybe you make the contract say for every $100 you save I’ll give you $10. It is so important to show them how to save for what they want not put it on credit!
“Teaching Your Teen About Money Doesn’t Have to Be Hard” – Amy Hudson
- Charge them interest. “Mom, can I borrow $10?” – “ Sure but that will be $11.00 if you don’t pay me back this month and it will go up from there!” I’m sure that will get a great reaction. Explain the concept of interest, it is really hard for teens to understand because they don’t’ see it. You can take them to this site Credit Card Interest Calculator to figure out how much they will be charged for “borrowing” money.
- TALK ABOUT IT! This is the most important note of all. When I go to classrooms only about 5/25 kids raise their hand when I ask if their parents talk about money. Think about it, did your parents talk about money? No, really…did that help you when you got to the real world? Whether you are just paying your bills or checking your bank statement – do it out loud, even if they don’t become actively engaged, they are still LISTENING! Make sure you are setting a good example, making positive money comments and something that is OK to talk about.
Now if you are thinking, I can’t talk nice about money, I hate money, I suck at it… then we should probably set you up a clarity call. Seriously, they are free, no pressure (I hate sales) and I just like to talk about money!
If your kids are younger there are lots of things you can be teaching them already – check out my older blog 5 Games to Help Teach Your Kids About Money – PS I’ll update this one soon!