Teach your teen safe spending habits

Teach your teen safe spending habits

We teach our kids about stranger danger and online safety and while those are important, they’re skills you children will likely never need to use.  But what we don’t usually spend time on is teaching kids how to spend safely and that’s a shame because their financial future depends on their knowledge of not only how to spend but how to save.

When our own kids were pre-teens we purchased prepaid debit/credit cards for them and weekly we loaded them with their spending money.  Then we worked with them to show them how to budget, how to save for big ticket items, and how to handle cash withdrawals and balancing their account.

The boys have put those lesson to use in real life, every day.  In some ways they are more responsible with their money than even we are.  They’re in their mid-20’s and one has saved a substantial amount in his company 401K account for a future down payment on a house and the other is building his savings to cover moving expenses to his next assignment.  Neither has amassed any credit card debt and our oldest just purchased his first car with a substantial down payment – he opted for a loan to boost his credit for that future house loan.

I couldn’t be prouder of the boys and their ability to handle their money well and we do take credit for their skills.  We spent time every week during their teen years working on the importance of knowing what you’re spending and choosing what to buy wisely.

What’s scary is that America Express reports that more than half of parents (57%) with kids in high school and college give schools below average or failing grades in teaching kids responsible spending, with more than one-third (35%) giving a straight out ‘F’. This is compared to 37% of parents who give schools an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for teaching safe sex, according to a recent American Express Survey.

But is it the schools responsibility to teach our kids about money?  Not in our family.  While they did have some classes that covered checking accounts and the like, it supplemented our teaching and you can do it too.  Check out the “Practice Safe Spend” tips for talking points to start the conversation with your kids.

It’s never too early to start talking about money with your kids.  As young as five the boys understood money and that the magic machine (ATM machine) couldn’t just keep giving out money, we had to have money in the bank.  Now if only I could take this lesson to heart as well. 🙂

Have you started the conversation with your kids?  It’s never too late.

NOTE:  I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of American Express and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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