How can we nourish great financial habits in our kids, such as smart saving and spending wisely? Most teenagers have an intense desire to buy the latest and greatest things. By teaching your teen about money early on, you will help them navigate the big choices they will soon have to make in regards to saving versus spending.
The most important lesson you can teach your child is to NOT spend more than what they have. Once your child has the need for student loans, money is such an obscure concept to them they will continue having a disconnect between what they earn and what they spend. Teach them to make a budget based on what money they can spend and to always set aside a portion in a savings account for a rainy day.
Investing can be a fun way to make money and they’ll learn how to take risks but reap rewards and sometimes failures. Be sure to advocate for the slow growth method and give them a solid understanding of compound interest. The amazing thing about investment vehicles is that when you start investing early, your savings can grow exponentially faster than when the typical adult begins saving around age 30. Even small amounts socked away can make a huge impact. Get help to teach your teen about investment vehicles here.
Your child might want to make some very large purchases during their young years. A car and a college education do not come cheap and more than likely they will begin to incur debt and apply for loans. It is important to help them understand how interest works and that the interest incurred compounds over time. Loans are not free. Be clear that in order for them to get a loan, you have put forth your good credit by co-signing for them, so you expect them to be responsible for paying the loan back.
As your teen grows, their financial education will be extremely important as they go out in the real world. It is up to you to ensure your child has the knowledge to handle their money wisely; after they leave the house, it is all up to them!
Visit mmfcu.org for more information on teaching your teens about smart money.