Help your teens understand the value of money

Research suggests that at just nine children are mature enough to understand the concept of saving money. And as a parent, there is plenty you can do to help them with these handy hints and tips…

Time to talk

There’s plenty of evidence suggesting that as parents we have a heavy influence over how our kids learn to behave around money. Yet, we can be hesitant to talk to our kids about money for a variety of reasons. But avoiding open conversations about finance may just encourage them to put their head in the sand when they might need help.

Handy hint:  Share stories of your own financial mistakes (yes, you were young once too!). It can open up conversations they can relate to without preaching and help them understand the consequences of poor money management.

Managing Allowances

When your kids first start receiving their pocket money or allowance, they probably spent it on sweets. But once they reach their teens, having an allowance becomes much more of a balancing act. Their priorities change and paying for a mobile phone tariff or buying the latest Xbox game presents a more expensive trade-off than buying sweets did. It’s a great way for them to learn about prioritising and budgeting, even if they make some mistakes along the way.

Earning and learning

Remember those days of getting up at the crack of dawn to lug a high-vis bag full of papers around your neighbourhood? And the excitement of getting your first pay slip? A paper round, regular babysitting job, or working in a local café are all essential ways of learning that time equals money. Once your teenagers have an income, they quickly learn two important lessons: firstly, that you only earn what you are prepared to work for; and secondly, you only save what you don’t spend.

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Handy hint:  Talk to your teen about some different part-time job opportunities in the area. If they have friends who have part time jobs, see if there are any job opportunities where they work. What about neighbours and friends – do they need their car washing or some babysitting?

Shooting towards goals

Whatever your teen is into, use that as leverage to get them to save - whether that’s music festivals, the latest gadgets or wanting to learn to drive.  The great thing is, the more they want the more leverage you’ve got.

Handy hint: Ask your teen to list all the things they want, then help them to put a timeline on achieving and owning them from saving their earnings and allowance. You could even offer a parental bonus once they’ve hit certain targets to help motivate them even more.

Sowing the seeds of financial wisdom now could help them avoid some costly mistakes and form a relationship with money that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

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