While most American adults are concerned about their personal finances, as well as the national debt, many teenagers seem to feel extremely optimistic about their finances, according to a recent poll by Junior Achievement USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating students about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness.
The reason that teens are so happy-go-lucky about their finances is because they expect their parents to take care of them until they are 27 years old. This is quite a change of attitude, compared to 20 years ago, when most kids couldn’t wait to leave home and get out from under mom and dad’s watchful eye.
The fact is that schools cannot teach kids about saving money, budgeting, opening a savings account or any of the other issues related to finances. This education must come from parents because mom and dad are still the number one influence on how their children save money, budget and pay for expenses.
This article offers ways to help your children understand the value of a dollar, so they will be more realistic about their future and their money—instead of depending on yours.
It all begins with a piggy bank—and expands into savings accounts, bonds and other types of investments. Begin when your child is a baby. No age is too young to begin teaching your child the importance of money and saving. Saving money for college or higher education begins with the first day of your child’s life.
Kids learn best when chores are rewarded with money, so use this opportunity to teach them that some of their money should be put into savings. Parents who talk to their kids about saving some money will raise kids who automatically have money saved.
According to the Junior Achievement USA poll, teens expect to live with their parents longer because many of them are unsure about their ability to budget or use credit cards. Of the teens surveyed, 33 percent said they do not use a budget and 42 percent were not interested in learning to budget.
Although the majority of the kids polled thought students were borrowing too much to pay for college, only 9 percent of them were currently saving for college. And one third had not even talked to their parents about higher education.
Teach your children to price shop and search for bargains. This can be taught by clipping coupons and checking prices from one store to another. It also helps your child re-evaluate how much they want something. Sometimes this alone will deter them from spending money on a frill they do not really want or need.
No chores, no allowance. An allowance without work is similar to paying someone for vacation or for existing. Who does that in the real world? Why would you teach your child this lesson?
Set the example that you can’t have everything you want. Explain to your child that you have to earn enough to buy the things you want. Living within your means and teaching your children to do the same is part of parenting. And lessons taught young correlate highly with adults who understand the importance of saving and budgeting.
Many mothers and fathers parent with guilt--instead of using the discipline of teaching their children about money. If you give your children what they want, you are telling them that you don’t think they can earn it. Confidence is built when we work toward a goal or desire, and our hard work pays off.
Results from the Junior Achievement USA poll found that one third of teens had not even talked to their parents about higher education. This is quite problematic, especially since college costs and debt have reached an astronomically high number, and the average young adult finishes college with at least a $20,000 debt.
College debt is a huge problem in our country. Today’s kids are taking out huge loans under the advisement of financial counselors. However, these kids will never be as prepared for what to expect in regards to their financial debt after college, as the kids who are being taught young by fiscally responsible parents.
Keep in mind that your kids do not need the “stuff” money can buy half as much as they need the time you give teaching them how long it takes to save for that “stuff.” It is vital for parents to educate their kids about the importance of beginning with a piggy bank and expanding into savings accounts, bonds and other types of investments. Additionally, saving and working for your money, shopping for bargains and not getting everything you desire will help kids grow into mature, money-savvy adults.
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