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Teaching Teenagers to Make Wise Financial Decisions

Jul 16, 2008
It's hard to teach teenagers something that they don't think they already know. Parents are seen as ignorant of what is important to them. Despite what they think, however, parents do know about money and the consequences of using it unwisely. Show them what you know by teaching them a few things about money.

Since parents have had more experience on how to deal with financial thicks and thins than their children, teenagers can learn a lot from the advice they give. The knowledge parents share with their teenage children will help them get on the right path financially and set them up for benefiting from having good credit. Here's how to do it:

1. Open a savings account. As soon as a teenager begins making income from any sort of job, take them to a bank to start putting their money into a savings account. Encouraging teenagers to leave any money they make in the bank for a month before using it will help them save up moderately large amounts of money that would otherwise be squandered away in no time at all and on nothing of any importance. Though it won't be easy to get teenagers to stick to such a plan, it will be a great financial lesson for them.

2. Invest in a certificate of deposit. When your teenager has accumulated around $500, have them put the money in a CD. The longer you keep the money in a CD, the higher the interest rate will be for you. Try a one-year certificate. After a year, you can sit down with them and decide what to do with the money.

3. Sleep on it. When your teenager sees something that they really want to purchase, ask them to sleep on it for a night or two. Parents know all too well about buyer's remorse after an emotional purchase. Implementing the "sleep on it" rule of thumb in your household can save your teenager from feeling that same remorse. They want a scooter today, but by taking the time to think about the purchase, they may choose to save to buy a motorbike instead.

4. Plan your finances. Making a budget can be just as helpful to teenagers as it is for their parents. Explain the difference between wants and needs and then let them consider their situation. Over a period of time, allow teenagers to write out just what they consider to be their personal wants and needs.

5. After they prioritize their wants, let them figure out how much money they would have to save to purchase it. To make the process less painful, they can figure up how much money they want to devote per month towards the purchase. This leaves them disposable income for dates, nights out with friends, and incidentals like gas.

Teenagers can learn to use money wisely, but starting to teach them as early as possible will make it easier later on. Financially responsible teenagers will turn into equally responsible adults, capable of caring for their financial needs efficiently.
About the Author
Has your debt got you stressed out and constantly worrying? Quit beating yourself up and learn some simple and effective debt reduction tips. Visit http://www.debtsmackdown.com for lots of helpful advice.
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