Q: What are some of the most important things I should teach my teenager about money?
Rachel’s Answer: Great question. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a teenager myself, and here are some of the ideas I think are the most important.
1. Be honest.
Talk to your teens about the danger of credit cards. If you’ve had bad experiences in the past, share them. Through your experiences, they will be able to understand why choosing freedom from debt is far better than any bonus points or cash back that a credit card might offer.
2. Give them responsibility.
Don’t do everything for your teen. Let him be in charge of his money. Help him open a checking account and show him how to reconcile the account. But let him do it! Also, teach him how to budget money for things like gas, clothes and going out to eat with friends. Encourage him to work or maybe even open up a small business. When I was a kid, my sister and I opened a little snack stand in the break room at my dad’s office. That was a great experience because it taught us about earning and managing money.
3. Set an example.
More is caught than taught. Your kids are watching you. I was fortunate to have parents who taught us about money at an early age. Watching them every day really helped me understand how this stuff works. Make sure you are tithing and donating to charity. Participate in community volunteer work, and take your teen along with you.
4. Reinforce values.
Teach your kids that earning money isn’t just about being able to buy stuff. The more money you earn, the more you are able to save for your future, even future generations of your family, and help other people too. The most successful people are those who understand the value of giving.
Keep all this in mind as you raise your teenagers, and you’ll lay an awesome foundation for their life.
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