Give Your Teen a Head Start on Their Financial Future

Everyone needs money, but unfortunately, not everyone knows how to manage it to make it last. You can encourage your teenager to have positive financial habits by first modeling good behavior when it comes to your money and then giving them opportunities to learn how to balance their own books. Keep reading for some great tips to make that happen.   Teaching Teens How to Budget Creating a budget when you have a mortgage, car payment, student loans, utilities, and other adult obligations isn’t easy. However, when you learn how to do this at an early age, the task is not quite as daunting as it initially seems. If your teen is already driving, start by helping them understand the total cost of operating the vehicle. Even assuming it’s paid for, gas, which is a variable cost, maintenance, and auto insurance don’t just go away. Specific to insurance, there are many factors that determine how much it costs to put protection on a vehicle each month. Teenagers, however, can expect higher premiums due to their age and lack of driving experience, with teen males often having higher rates because of their increased risk of an accident (. Maintenance costs can change as well, but make sure your children understand that things like tires and oil changes are inexpensive ways to reduce the chances of a premature major repair — and the bill that goes with it. Still using the car as an example, sit down with your child and calculate their expected monthly costs. Then, make them responsible for paying them. You might set them up with a prepaid debit card with slightly more than what they need. If their total expenses come out to $200 each month, add $225 to their card and let them know that it is up to them to set their priorities. They will be tempted to spend more than their excess on things like stylish new shoes or movies with their friends. If they fail to meet their financial obligations, however, the consequence is losing their driving privileges for the next month. It will not take long for them to learn how to balance their wants and needs and this is an excellent first introduction to budgeting.   Earning Opportunities If your child finds it difficult to balance their limited budget with their newfound freedom, encourage them to look for ways to increase their wealth. By the time they are old enough to drive, they should be more than capable of handling a part-time job, even if it is only a few hours each week or on the weekends. LocalWise notes that some of the best jobs for teens are dishwasher, ice cream scooper, and lifeguard. Most of these are extremely flexible and will also serve as an excellent introduction to work ethics.   Saving for the Future When it comes to teaching your children about financial responsibility, immediate needs are not the only thing to consider. Your children [...]