Summer is upon us and with it comes “summer break” for students. That time off from school can be an golden opportunity to spend quality time teaching those skills not yet taught within the structured learning environment of our school system.
Money Management for Teens
It is never too early to learn about money, some say as soon as children can count, that we should introduce the concept of money. One thing is for certain money management is a skill required for one’s entire life.
Top 3 Summer Activities for Teaching Teens Fiscal Responsibility
1. Talk about Goals and Planning. Teens don’t in general think long term or play long ball. They live in the moment and subsequently need to be prompted to plan and set goals. Rarely are goals obtained that have never been set. Explain goals and objectives and how best to achieve them. Whether the goals are short term or long term, once that list of goals has been set this will set the stage for phase 2 which will be to establish the costs associated to each goal.
2. Create a budget. Summer jobs are the best tool for teens to respect the concept of money and how it relates to costs and spending. At the beginning of the summer, take the time to sit down and look at the entire summers potential income and how best to save & spend it. If Bobby is going to make $2500.00 this summer lets make sure that at the end of the summer he has something to show for it. Create a teen oriented budget that is simple to follow and use the tools and apps that teens can access easily in this mobile world such as MINT.com.
3. Book an Appointment at your local BANK or CREDIT UNION with your teen. Key element of money management is a structured approach which involves building a relationship at a financial institution. Sitting down with your teen(s) and local bank will provide the structure required in the form of opening 1. savings account 2. chequing account 3. RRSP & TFSA accounts for the working teen. Setting up automatic debit for savings & TFSA’s will keep the budgets on track with less maintenance.
As parents we want our children to be better and more successful and our job as parents is to provide them building blocks and tools to achieve that success at an early age. Make money, finances, debt and credit part of the daily conversation, great money management skills won’t happen on their own, they are a learned skill that takes work.