April 21, 2014
Talking to your teen about money can sometimes be just about as hard as having The Talk about sex. But nevertheless, it is an essential part of parenting because without guidance, teens can start their adult life with poorly formed notions about how money works. Keeping it positive is key – here are some suggestions about talking to your teen about money.
(1) Talk about it regularly. Whether directly in a teaching capacity or just generally. Teens need to learn that money is a part of everyday life and become comfortable with it. Too little exposure to discussions about money can create barriers to healthy money management down the track – whether that be an inclination to spend up large with little awareness of the relationship between what comes in and what goes out; low confidence in money matters; or other behaviours.
(2) Make it positive. Money worries can be incredibly stressful but wherever possible it’s important that your teen learns to have a positive relationship with it. We often hear the statement that kids are like sponges; well the same thing applies with teens and they pick up a lot of their attitudes and perceptions of money from the conversations they hear when growing up.
(3) Help them find their own way with money. Feeling confident with money is largely about how well educated or informed we are – about how it works and how we can personally apply those learnings. Teenagers often want to find their own way and make their own personal stamp on life. Use this as a learning tool and introduce them to money advice sites of your choice and other information resources so that they can start to build their own understanding.
(4) Involve them in the regular bill payments. One of the best ways to manage money is to have structures in place that work for you and give you transparency at all times. Show your teen what you do on a regular basis to keep the house ticking over and goals heading in the right direction. Use the opportunity to talk to them about the benefits – sense of ease and control over your money – of reviewing things regularly.
Perhaps most important is to use all opportunities to show your teen that while there is a bit of work involved in successfully managing money, it is not a chore but rather an empowering part of life that helps you achieve what you want.