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How Financially Responsible Should a Teen Be?

Ah, the teenage years. So much to learn and so much to understand while the brain is still developing can make it difficult for parents to get the right messages across. Along with proper social skills and personal responsibility, parents need to ensure their teen is also well-versed in all things financial. Kids as young as the toddler years can learn age-appropriate lesson dealing with money matters that can carry all the way through adulthood.

As not much in the way of personal finance information is related during high school years or even during college, it is particularly important that parents make every effort to teach teens about money, its place in life, and how to manage it all responsibly.

Here are some financial takeaways to discuss with your teens…

  • How Financially Responsible Should a Teen Be? 1 of 6
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    Click-through for financial takeaways to discuss with your teen....

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  • Importance of Financial Independence 2 of 6
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    While many kids would be happy to mooch off Mom and Dad for the rest of their lives, it is always in everybody's best interest for teens to learn the value of earning their own financial way. Many teenagers get jobs either seasonally or on a part-time basis while still in high school. This can be an excellent first step into learning serious financial responsibility. By making kids earn at least part of their own money, they will come to value hard work and earning their own cash something they certainly will need to understand throughout the rest of their lives. Make kids at least partly responsible for paying their own way and buying their own stuff. Clothing, sneakers, and first cars are not cheap and their involvement will be important to their learning about how much things really cost.

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  • Preach the Value of Saving 3 of 6
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    Saving is something few adults have mastered and it may be partly due to not having lessons taught early enough to become ingrained in their lives. Teaching the value of saving money is critical if you hope to see your child secure and stable in their adult lives. Because so much of society is attracted to the instant gratification side of money, people are not as prepared for their short and long term futures. Parents should explain and then encourage kids to stash away a portion of their money from work, birthday money, and any other monetary gifts they receive. Teach them how to calculate 10, 20, or even 50 percent of their cash and put that amount faithfully into a savings account. The more practice kids have at saving money, the more likely they will stick with it throughout their lives as it will become a habit.

    Image source: ClickFlashPhotos/ Nicki Varkevisser

  • Help them Identify Financial Goals 4 of 6
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    Many parents may need to learn this lesson for themselves. Setting financial goals and budgets is very important to proper money management. Help teens identify immediate financial goals (new sneakers, iTunes gift cards, movie money) as well as long term goals (college tuition, car down payment, Spring Break trip). By identifying and outlining goals on paper, kids can get a true visual of what they need to earn and how much they need to save to achieve their goals.

    Image source: martinak15

  • Live Within Your Own Means 5 of 6
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    Ultimately, the best way to teach your child anything is to act as a living, breathing role model. If you are not able to manage your own financial life, it can be difficult to expect your child to do otherwise. Get a handle on your own finances while teaching the same kind of lessons to your teenager. By enacting a household budget and learning to live a more frugal life, your child will be more likely to follow suit and grow up responsible for their cash and their own personal lives. If they see you spending recklessly on credit or are struggling to keep up with the bills and dodging collection calls each afternoon, they may be quick to follow your lead to their own detriment.

    Image source: martinak15

  • Value Autonomy 6 of 6
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    Really, we want teens to grow up to be independent, happy, and responsible adults. By teaching teens how awesome it is to not be tied to anyone or anything financially they will learn the value of autonomy and will learn to make decisions that reflect that.

    Image source: martinak15

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