As children get older, they can become more difficult to teach as most teenagers feel that they already know everything. While I realize this is not the case for all teens, the idea that teenagers are often less captive to family experiences supports the idea that beginning these financial conversations at a young age is beneficial. If the topic is already engrained, then honing the discussion in a more timely and relatable way will be an easier task. If the discussion of money was not something openly discussed in childhood, there is no better time to get started than the present. The sooner a teen starts to learn and understand how money works, the better off they will be.
Today’s apps are plentiful with ways to streamline and understand budgetary concepts, so I recommend researching alongside your teen for some viable choices. There are many educational/experiential apps for kids and teens alike. Many have the functionality to be enhanced based on preferences. The enhanced version of the apps allows for research and investment opportunities that may make more sense for teenage users. Parental controls are key with whichever program you select, so make sure to find an app that is secure and fits your comfort level.
For young teens especially, I would recommend an extracurricular class led by a financial professional. This is an area that is not thoroughly taught in school but could have a tremendous impact to your teen’s future. While they may not listen to you, odds are, they will listen if their friends are participating, so find a solid class and consider having your teenager take it with a friend or group.
While textbook education is an important aspect, hands-on, real-life education will teach lessons for a lifetime. $20 may seem exciting in your 6-year old’s piggy bank, but a typical teen will have wants that far exceed this balance. Trends are expensive, and this mom has a firm “earn it” mentality when something seems excessive. You want a new iPhone when your 8+ works just fine? Earn it. Babysit, do a craft camp with the neighborhood kids, read to your younger sister, rake leaves for your grandparents. The possibilities are endless, but I strongly feel that in order to raise teens to both understand and appreciate money and its capability, they must realize that it doesn’t come free. I’m not saying to keep your teen without age-appropriate items within reason, but when they come to you with a pricey and frivolous ask, I think the teaching moments can be life-defining.
Missy Rench is a Financial Advisor with Benchmark Income GroupTM. Benchmark Income Group is collaborative and deeply knowledgeable, with integrity at its core. Working with this group has allowed Missy the opportunity to help others while focusing on and utilizing her financial, strategic, and interpersonal skill sets. “We offer a unique approach for each client based on individual goals, needs, and timelines. Being a part of this team has been exceptionally rewarding! Every day I get to connect, guide and inspire my clients, and by day’s end, I am fulfilled knowing that I have truly made a difference.”
Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of and securities offered through OneAmerica Securities, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA, SIPC. Benchmark Income Group is not an affiliate of OneAmerica Securities and is not a broker dealer or Registered Investment Advisor. Provided content is for overview and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be relied upon as individualized tax, legal, fiduciary, or investment advice.