When you hit a certain age, you declare a level of freedom for yourself. You can now drive and you can get a job. Sure mom and dad still get the big things, but those things, like heating bills, car insurance, and mortgage payments, can seem so unimportant in comparison to saving up for that killer pair of jeans. When you hit that awkward stage of new found freedom – it can be liberating. Get a job at the local coffee joint and the next thing you know you are going shopping at the mall with all of your friends to celebrate that first paycheck.
I’m sure we all remember those days when your paycheck meant a shopping spree with none of mom and dads rules. Those were the days. Sure the occasional splurge is rewarding for getting a job, but now is the optimal time to teach your teen about finances. They might be able to get away with blowing one check at a single store now, but would you want them to hold those values when they get older and have other bills to pay? Of course not. The teenage years are so awkward, but as part of becoming a young adult, these years are also filled with valuable lessons.
Giving financial advice to a teen can seem impossible; this is usually the stage where people tend to think they know everything as well – making it a difficult time for everyone. But we were all young at one point – so it does pass for the majority of us. If you want to approach your teen with financial advice, then determine the types of financial goals they have when they land that first job. They aren’t going to be thinking of long term goals here, but if there is a certain skiing trip, this would be a good chance to set the first financial goal. Maybe in the past you have always paid for that yearly ski trip. But now is better than latter for your teen to understand that you won’t always be able to get everything. Try setting a goal that they will pay for the lift tickets or a certain percentage of the trip. This might seem cold hearted at first, but if they have something to save for, they may rethink those $200 dollar designer jeans. Then stick to your arrangement, show them how to budget and put back from each check. Use this time wisely, showing a teen how to budget and save is one of life’s many important lessons.