Updated: 3/27/2012 1:39 PM ET|
8 crucial money lessons for teens
When they're young, teach your kids how to seek the best prices on a new video game or pair of sneakers. It's also a good idea to require them to pay some or all of the cost of nonessential items.
"What will happen, nine times out of 10, is that they'll get the money and that video game isn't what they want anymore," says Lechter. This lets you discuss the notion of impulse buying.
And if Junior still wants that video game? He's learned the value of work and/or delayed gratification.
6. Live like a student
That first apartment doesn't have to look like a magazine ad. If an old car runs great, keep it. And, for heaven's sake, don't be an early adopter of the newest tech gadgets.
Kids who grow up seeing home redecorating and remodels, new cars every two years and constant tech upgrades assume this is the way all adults live. Parents need to make it clear that they have these things because they can pay for them.
(You can pay for them, right? If not, you're teaching an entirely different lesson.)
According to certified financial planner Nicole Rutledge, plenty of young people expect to re-create the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed -- as in the day they after they graduate. Wrong.
"(Your parents) most likely struggled with saving, too, and didn't accumulate a lot of material goods at first," says Rutledge, a senior adviser with Resource Consulting Group in Orlando, Fla.
Your kids need to be told -- or better still, shown -- that living comfortably on a limited budget can be a test of creativity. Put together parties and potlucks with friends. Check out gallery openings or free movie screenings.
7. You're not alone
Plenty of young people are trying to live large on limited funds. Your college student can learn from their blogs, tweets and Facebook posts.
"We're in a social-media generation. Get into the practice of including (online) personal finance into your everyday life," says Thom Fox, who wrote "Learn Now or Pay Later," a financial-literacy series for the nonprofit Cambridge Credit Counseling.
Subscribe to PF blogs. Listen to podcasts. Trade ideas with others in the same position.
8. Dream big and small
Goals can be modest ("I want $20,000 in net worth in the next five years") or major ("I want to retire at 50"). But they won't happen unless you identify them.
How to teach your kids to dream in this way? Tell them about goals you've accomplished and what you're doing to reach current ones. Ask them what they hope to see in their own futures. Brainstorm the possibilities.
"By all means, live a bit for today," says San Francisco Bay Area certified financial planner Lynn Ballou, "but have a long-term vision."
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Do as I have done to help kids understand money. They get information in school but things on paper really are different in the real world. When each of my children turned 16 they got their driver license. For the next 3 months they did all of the running around taking sisters or moms to work or doctors or to practices. When they turned 18 or the middle of their senor year they would be given the bills and my paycheck to balance the money for 3 months. They had to plan food, they planned oil changes for the cars, they planned everything for the 3-4 months. This was a big insight for where things go and how fast things change. I had one daughter refuse to get her driver license until she turned 18 and got a job. 13 kids in the house and they all had some sports or plays to go to. A good ON THE JOB TRAINING for young people. Just a good way to learn things.
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