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Financial tips to teach your teens

March 2, 2021 • Momcents

Written by Momcent's Mom, Krista

I saw something the other day that sparked my interest - it was called a "Launch List". It had different topics of things that parents should aim to teach their kids before they launch out into the “real” world.  Having a 15-year-old son myself, I absolutely love this idea. How to change a tire, how to use a plunger, how to prepare simple meals and shop for items, etc. All great things to start teaching your kids.  I, of course, was intrigued by the financial side of things and came up with a list of things to teach your kids about money and money-related topics before they leave the house. Enjoy! 

  1. See how a debit account works. Get them a debit card when you think it's appropriate. Show them how it works. Have them memorize their PIN number and talk to them about the importance of keeping their PIN number to themselves. 
  2. Learn how to login to their account and see their balances. Teach them how to transfer money. Show them the mobile deposit feature. 
  3. Balance a checkbook or at least keep track of their debit/checking account. Although checks are not used as much as they use to be, show them how to write a check, just in case. 
  4. Basic budgeting skills. Teach them the importance of living within their means. 
  5. Savings. The importance of saving for an unexpected cost. How to save - maybe putting money in a shoebox under their bed isn’t the best place for it, etc.
  6. Investing. Maybe just the basics to start. Show them how you are investing money to help them go to college or for retirement. Show them to the difference between starting to invest when you are young even if it’s a small amount vs waiting until you are older. 
  7. Building credit scores. Paying credit cards off monthly and show them the interest you pay if you don’t. Warn them about all the credit card offers you get on a college campus - for me, this was very tempting especially with all their giveaways that came with the card. 
  8. Student loans and how they work. Maybe share your story and tell them how long it took you to pay them off.   
  9. Health insurance. What it is and how it works. Why it is important. The costs associated with it. 
  10. Car loans/insurance. You can’t have a car without car insurance, tell them the purpose behind it. Talk to them about the costs associated with car insurance and how they can keep the cost down.  Also share with them how a car loan works, interest and monthly payments and why it’s important to make on-time payments.  
  11. The basics of taxes. Even just start with sales tax. How it’s calculated and added to your purchases. When they are older and maybe have their first job, explain how income tax works. 
  12. Monthly bills. This is a big one. When kids don’t see what all goes into everything they have, they think it just happens on its own. Show them your monthly bills.  Have them sit down with you when you're paying them. Talk to them about the cable bill, the internet bill, mortgage or rent payments, car loans, water bill, electricity, health bills, etc. Then they will see how much money it takes to have those things. They aren’t just given to you, they come from working hard and paying for them. 

I'm sure there is more to add to this list, but it’s a start. Although I have already taught my teenagers some of this, I am excited to dive into the rest of the list. I am sure he isn’t as excited; he is a teenager after all! 

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