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Teaching our teens how to handle money is SO important! We’ve probably all heard horror stories about friends who did not have a good financial education when it came to making, spending or managing money. We don’t want our kids to fall into the same trap!
When I went to college, I knew that I should stay out of debt and balance my checkbook. My parents paid one semester of tuition every year and I was able to pay for the rest. But I also knew my parents could/would be a financial back up if I needed it. I remember calling home more than once, explaining that I needed some extra money.
It all worked out ok, but even now, I wish I had better financial habits and had learned things earlier. With a daughter getting ready to go to college this fall and two sons leaving in two years right behind her, this has been foremost in my mind lately. With the gap between the rich and poor expanding, I really want my kids to get started on the right foot. Here are some resources that I’ve found really helpful.
Six Resources for Financial Education for Teens:
I just found this e-book this week, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Honestly, the beginning seemed a bit cheesy and unrealistic, but as the book went on, I appreciated this little story about a new college freshman. It’s format is a bit like “Leadership and Self-Deception”, in the way that it teaches principles within a story.
New student Justin is told at the last minute that his parents are unable to pay for his college education as promised. He needs to come up with funds quickly, as well as sign up for classes, buy books, and find a job and apartment. Thankfully, he has an amazing financial mentor, and in the end, Justin has financed all of his educational goals (plus some!), has graduated without any debt, developed financial safety systems, and set himself up extremely well for his future. (He also finds a girlfriend!)
I love this book because you see Justin go through the entire college financial process. From coupons to 401Ks, this book covers it all. Even if you disagree with the author’s ideas, this book is an excellent springboard for discussion and critical thinking.
YNAB is an amazing software for desktop or phones, that helps you to assign every dollar a job, and track all of your spending. My family has recently started using this and we love it! Normally about $11/month, students get a free account! Go to this link, scroll to the bottom of the page, click on “Other Programs” and get started!
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers 12 week FREE self-reliance classes that cover Personal Finance, Getting an Education, Getting a Better Job, and Starting Your Own Business. I was recently a facilitator for my area’s Personal Finance class and brought my kids along. Not all of it was applicable for them, but I loved exposing them to discussions about talking with spouses about finances, savings, retirement, expenses, etc. The thing I loved about this class, is the accountability it offered. It didn’t teach anything new or earth-shattering, but the weekly accountability was HUGE for me.
If you are a member of this church, just ask your local leaders about it. If you aren’t, you can still attend. Just expect some “churchy stuff” and use this tool to find someone in your area to ask more about it.
A classic money management book, this book should be a “must-read” for everyone!
This best selling book explains investing and business owning and how they compare to careers in corporations, and the services or trades. This is written with a bit of a bias, and assumes success in investing and business owning, but it still does a good job of explaining concepts in this area of money.
A companion to Rich Dad, Poor Dad, this is a board game for teens and adults that introduces concepts of investing and getting out of the “rat race”, by becoming financially independent. It also helps them see the implications of buying “doo-dads”, instead of investments. I like how it gets people to think outside of the box financially.
If our kids understand smart ways to earn, keep and spend money, they will have an incredible leg up in life. As parents, when we make a financial education as important as an academic one, we are giving them an amazing, practical gift.