First-rate opportunities to talk money sense with your teen come along frequently. We just need to recognize them when they are upon us. If we do, we can use them as life lessons, which speak much more clearly to our teens then the run-of-the-mill parental lecture. But, in order for these life lessons to work, you need to model good money sense and be open and honest about financial issues with your teenager. While you do not want to burden them with your money worries, showing your teenager what rent or a car loan really costs goes a long way.
Here is what to do when these five first-rate opportunities to talk some money sense with your teen turn up:
- When a favorite store catalog or flyer comes in the mail, let your teenager browse through it. Have him use the catalog to list things he is interested in. Then have him separate these things into two columns: the first column being ‘needs’ and the second being ‘wants’. Use these lists to explain how ‘needs’ should be met before ‘wants’ can be considered.
- Take your teenager when you go grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is a wonderful way to teach budgeting. It is something that needs to be done on a set schedule. It represents a large part of the family’s monthly expenses and most families have a set grocery budget amount. Teens that become savvy with money at the grocery store will transfer that to other areas of their financial lives.
- Open up the lines of communication with your teen when you see ads on television. Pull media advertising apart as it is happening. Ask your teenager why he feels some ads work on him and some ads don’t. Ask him what motivators the advertising company is using. Then, have him come up with ways to keep television marketing from working on him.
- When it is time to pay your monthly bills, have your teenager help. Don’t miss an opportunity to get your teenager on the same page with you when discussing how much things really cost today. He doesn’t have to write out the checks, he can just lick the envelop or push the send button on your billpay. Not only will he get a dose of what rent, car loans and insurance cost, but he will also learn how to meet this financial responsibility in an organized fashion. This is an excellent way to model good money sense.
- Remember to praise when your teenager reaches a financial goal. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator. When your teenager has set a money goal, like saving enough for his own television or video game, and then has earned the money, saved it, then bought his prize, you should be there to congratulate him on his good work. Then give yourself a pat on the back for taking the opportunities to show him good money sense.
Quick Links: Teach Your Teen to Be Money Smart | Quiz: Is Your Teen Money Smart?