With summer around the corner, kids will have the opportunity to make and of course, SPEND money. These tips on how to raise money-savvy teens caught my eye, and come from financial security expert and two-time New York Times bestselling author Pamela Yellen.
Pamela suggests the following building blocks for your teen’s financial literacy:
* Connect becoming financially savvy with becoming more independent: Teens aren’t interested in learning about money to become “financially responsible adults.” They’re interested in gaining more autonomy and more freedom. Teens are starting to decide who they want to be and how they want to live. They want to be independent and stand on their own two feet.
* Clean up the mess you’ve made: Maybe some of the ways you’ve dealt with money with your kids have not been brilliant. Maybe you gave them allowances without any responsibilities to earn it. Maybe you haven’t allowed them to make even the smallest spending decisions. Maybe you’ve bailed them out every time they overspent. Just stop it. It may cause some upset and may need some explanation. But your mission as a parent is to help them develop skills they’ll need to be out on their own. Don’t sabotage their futures by continuing unhealthy family patterns with money.
* Correct your failure to communicate: Good communication with teens is almost an oxymoron! They’re frustrated with their parents, and typically their parents are frustrated with them. “Because I say so!” is no longer an effective explanation, and they’re no longer the compliant eight-year-olds you once knew. The burden is on you to get communication channels open so they can hear what you have to say about money.
More tips from Yellen:
* Be a good listener first
* Acknowledge and support your teen’s increased autonomy
* Accept their feelings and respect their opinions
* Admit it when you’re wrong, and discuss your mistakes and what you learned from them
* Above all, avoid nagging, guilt trips, and lecturing!
Yellen explains, “Avoid any statement that could be accompanied by a wagging index finger, like ‘You have to learn this so you’ll end up to be a responsible adult, not a deadbeat like your Uncle Harry,’ or ‘You’re not getting a credit card, young lady, until you show a little maturity with your spending.’ Your teen will instantly flip into ‘I can’t hear you’ mode. You’ll get better results with, ‘If you learn to be financially savvy, you’ll be able to create a life where you can have and do the things you really want to do. Would you be interested?’ Or ‘If you’re interested in getting your first credit card, I know exactly how you can earn it. Would you like to know?'”
About the Author: Financial security expert Pamela Yellen is author of the New York Times best-selling book, THE BANK ON YOURSELF REVOLUTION: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future and Editor-in-Chief of The Women’s Financial Edge. Pamela investigated more than 450 financial strategies seeking an alternative to the risk and volatility of stocks and other investments, which led her to a time-tested, predictable method of growing wealth now used by more than 500,000 Americans.