Talking to Your Teens About Money
Our instinct as parents is to provide and protect. This has become even more apparent as we navigate our way through the current COVID crisis. But our kids, especially our teens, are more resilient than we sometimes give them credit for.
Opening up and talking about the family finances (within reason) gives them an opportunity to ask questions, gain understanding and ultimately be better prepared for their future.
For most, they will face tough financial decisions and being equipped with the skills to navigate their way through those decisions is perhaps one of the best gifts you can give them.
Children pick up on and mimic the behaviour of their parents and their peers. From a young age they are forming their financial understanding, through the games you play together and from listening to and watching your attitude and behaviour to spending and saving.
Everyday events from shopping to paying bills, saving for bigger ticket items and bringing them along when you lodge money to your account are learning opportunities and can help start the discussion around money and goal setting.
As they get older, enlist their help to research things like insurance, household bills, holidays, etc. Could they help save the family money or find a better way to get away for a family break? Can you reward them by sharing a portion of the savings in return for their help? By doing this you are equipping them to want to research in the future when it is their money and they are looking for ways to save and spend wisely.
Most teens have a basic understanding of where money comes from. Talk to them about ways they can earn money. You may choose to pay your teen for chores or they may help neighbours with babysitting, car washing, grass cutting, etc. As they grow, encouraging them to apply for a summer job, where they may have to pay tax, are all great ways to show them the time and effort required to get money.
It is also good to have the conversation around future plans. Jobs they think they may like and what they may need to do to get there. So chatting about interest areas, looking at college courses and drilling into what they offer, and even looking at recruitment websites to get an idea of what salary they can expect are all ways to help them plan their financial future better.