My son is six years old, but I recently thought back to three years ago when we were out for dinner.
When the check came, he put his hand out and said, “I got this!”
At the time, my husband and I just looked at each other and started laughing.
While I am certain he had no idea what he was “getting,” I am sure he heard us say those words before.
Fast forward to just the other week and we were out once again.
At the end of the meal he called over the waiter and said “check, please.”
I was so proud of him for not only being polite and saying please, but for also understanding what paying the check means at the end of a meal.
Plus, it could also have had to do with the fact that I promised him a lollipop when we were done eating.
Yes, he is only six, but our kids, at any age, learn from us and teaching financial responsibility should be as natural as teaching them to say “please” and “thank you.”
As they get older, this becomes even more important.
Here are three tips for teaching teenagers financial responsibility.
1. But mom, I can’t live without it! How often do we hear these words? These days they are probably referring to what else, but items such as their cell phones or app purchases. If they are not already paying for such items, make it a point to share the monthly statements with them so they can see what it costs for these luxuries. If they are starting to take on some financial responsibility you can be sure they will pay attention to how many texts they are sending or how many apps they are downloading. They’ll begin to realize that funds are limited and therefore the use of such “necessities” is too.
2. Teach your children well – So are the words of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Never before have they rung more true. Barron’s recently cited a survey from Junior Achievement USA and the Allstate Foundation which found teens are not optimistic about their financial future. Two years ago, the number of teens expecting to be financially dependent on their parents until age 25 was just 12%. Today, that number has risen to 25%. Take the time to talk to your teenager about financial independence and try to get a sense of how optimistic or pessimistic he or she is and why.
3. Talk taxes – I remember the first paycheck I ever received and I couldn’t understand why it was so much less than the amount I was promised. Taxes. Paying taxes is something our kids will have to do the rest of their lives. Might as well open their eyes to it from the beginning. Your best bet is to contact an accountant once your teen starts working. There are often different tax rules for teens depending on age, type of job or the amount of money they are making.
Have a financial topic you want to discuss with your child? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.