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Teaching Your Children about Financial Literacy (A Three Part Series)


Part 3: Teens…The Final Frontier


The teen years can be a tricky time: as our children are trying to spread their wings and want their independence, parents still have important things to teach.  As much as teens want parents not to tell them what to do, they still need our guidance and support.


By allowing teens to make mistakes, parents help them learn important lessons while the “fallout” is relatively small.  Our job as parents is to provide real life “examples” that teenagers can learn from indirectly, without feeling as if they are being given orders.


In addition to the ideas given in the last post, here are some ideas specifically geared toward teenagers:


  • Instead of taking your teen out shopping for school supplies and clothes, load the money you would spend on a pre-paid card, and allow your child to make their own decisions about what they are going to buy.  In our home, the only stipulation we put on spending was that the money had to be used on supplies and clothing.  We also made it clear that they would not receive any additional money.  It was up to them how to spend it.  This is also a great idea for monthly allowances.
  • If your teenager is working a part-time job, show them how to check their pay stubs.  Everyone, including employers, makes mistakes and teens need to learn to make sure that they are accurately paid.
  • Allow your teenager to plan and organize a yard sale.  Not only will you get your house decluttered, but you will also teach your teen valuable skills such as making change and bartering skills.  If you feel particularly generous, you can even let them keep the proceeds.  
  • Talk to your teen about the importance of having an emergency account.  This account is for true emergencies: a blown out tire, a phone dropped in a toilet, a blown out transmission.  A new pair of sneakers at the mall is not an emergency; it is something that to save for.  It may take several months to develop, but for a teenager a good amount to shoot for would be $500-$1000.  
  • Talk about the importance of giving with your teenager.  Research five charitable organizations with them, and then pick one that the entire family will support.  This gives them a sense of ownership in where their donations are going.  With this ownership, it becomes more likely that donating money to worthy causes will be a part of their lives into adulthood.


For more information about Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.