My son recently graduated from high school. He is continuing his education in the Fall at a local tech school for web design.
Around the time that he was going through the major transition from high school student to graduate, I was writing my "U Can Do It Budgeting System" e-book. In speaking with various people, I began to recognize that there is a large group of individuals who need to be educated about finances and budgeting...high school and college students.
Did you know that only a quarter of teens have any idea how credit card interest works? The average college student carries nearly $3,000 in credit card debt. A bad credit rating can affect your child's ability to buy a car, a house or even get a job.
As a parent, it is important to discuss these and other money related issues with your teen before they leave the nest. But how? Some parents are not confident that they have enough knowledge about finances, feeling they don't know how to give advice or even where to begin.
To get this important conversation started, start involving your teen in the family's financial situation. You don't have to give away the ship but you can let your kids see you paying bills and getting their input some budgeting decisions. Give them an example where a choice needs to be made. Have them realize that in order to go away for vacation, you need to save up a bit to do so. Ask them how they suggest you do that. Showing them that the balance between spending and saving is so important and will take them a long way.
If there is a big ticket item that your kids wants, don't just give it to them. Explain to them that they can earn the money, either by getting a job or getting paid to do chores around the house that perhaps you would pay someone else to do so they can fund the cost themselves. It will make it a lot more valuable to them.
Before your teens leave home, your teen needs to know how to balance spending with savings and the details of day-to-day living, such as how to balance a check book and how to stick to a budget. The "U Can Do It Budgeting System" is a great tool to teach those who need help creating and sticking to a budget. It is simple and easy enough that it works for teens as well as adults. (See the "budgeting system" tab for more information.)
Some great times to initiate this conversation with your teen is perhaps at snack time. Get them to sit at the table with you with some fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk to get the conversation started. I have found that it's a lot easier to have a deeper discussion with my teen when we are driving in the car. I have his undivided attention. Share some chores together. By sharing some time together to get things done gives you a good opportunity to open up the discussion of finances.
Bottom line, get this conversation going. It's important to your teen's future.