Ask any parent, and they will tell you talking to teenagers is one of the biggest challenges they face. Emotions can run high, for both parents and teenagers alike, especially when the conversations have to do with subjects that are important such as money. Talking to your teenager about money, however, is one of the most important conversations you can have with them. Not only will it help them to not gratuitously spend money now, but it will also set them up for financial success in the future. We have some suggestions that will help you to talk to your teen about money in a way that will benefit them now and for the rest of their lives.
This is the first concept to teach when talking to your teenager about money. Having a financial goal, such as saving for something important, has many positive benefits. For one, it gives your teenager the ability to identify an end goal and then set up the steps to accomplish the goal. This enables them to set up not just the end goal, but the steps to get there, creating a habit of organization and planning that will serve them well at every stage of their lives. In addition, having to save money teaches discipline and delayed gratification, both of which will help them in life to look at the big picture instead of just the present moment. Lastly, having a goal that requires your teenager to work to earn it teaches them the value of hard work. The money they have to earn becomes much more valuable than the money they are just given. When they finally reach that goal, your teenager will realize how much that goal is really worth. What could be better than that?
Talking to Your Teenager About Money: Needs vs. Wants
This may easily be one of the hardest aspects of the conversation between parents and teenagers when it comes to money. After all, what seems necessary to a teenager may not be necessary to a parent. It is also one of the most important aspects of the financial discussion. Teaching your teenager what is necessary and what is extra is an important skill as they prepare to become an independent and responsible member of society. It will be very important for parents to have a clear idea of what a need and want is for themselves before trying to communicate this to their teenager. This is an excellent opportunity, however, for parents and teenagers to get a glimpse into each other's worlds as they converse about the things that they consider imperative and superfluous in life now and in the future.
The Ability to Earn Money
Any financial conversation will, of course, need to include something about making money. Having a job and the ability to make money is the key to independence both financially and emotionally. Not only does a job provide financial stability, but it also comes with a sense of pride and accomplishment that only comes with having done a good job. Communicating to your teenager the importance of being able to work, doing a good job, and earning an honest wage will set them up for financial independence and success throughout their life.
Let Your Teenager Fail Once in a While
There are few things as heartbreaking to a parent as seeing their child fail. However, letting your teenager fail financially while they are still living with you may help ensure they don't fail when they are adults and on their own. If you allow your teenager to fail financially, such as not make enough money to buy the concert ticket, or go to a game, will make the lesson they learned about financial responsibility all the more real and all the more unforgettable. Making sure your teenager knows the sting of not being able to reach their monetary goal now will help to make sure future goals are not just reached but exceeded.
Talking to your teenager about money is one of the most important conversations you will have with them. Helping your teenager to understand financial responsibility now will give them a better chance for a future that is not only financially stable but successful and full of promise. Teaching your teenager about setting goals, identifying needs compared to wants, the value of earning their own money, and even allowing them to fail will help your teenager be successful financially and emotionally now and for the rest of their lives.