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Helping Your Teen Gain Financial Responsibility

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Financial Responsibility Money Manage

One of the useful skills that teens will benefit from as they grow up, is having financial responsibility. As a parent, you can do a lot to help your teen gain this skill.

Financial responsibility simply means being responsible with money – or not going out and blowing it all in one go. As all adults know, there are usually bills to be paid and mouths to feed before you get a chance to be frivolous with money and spend it on treats for yourself.

With levels of debt rising, especially amongst young adults finishing their university studies, the more teens can learn about being financially responsible, the better equipped they’ll be for future challenges.

Learning to be responsible with money may seem like a bit of a bore for teens, but they will thank you for it in the long run. It’s especially useful to have financial responsibility skills by the time they’re between 16 and 18 years old, when they’re at college, going to university or if they’ve got a job after finishing school and are keen to move out to live on their own. Being able to manage money and be financially responsible will significantly effect how they cope with the new situations they find themselves in.

Open a Bank Account

It’s good experience for teens to have knowledge and understanding of banking, so if they haven’t already got a bank current or savings account, then do consider encouraging them to open one. This will give them the chance to pay money in from any earnings or birthday presents, see how much they’ve got at any given time and, if interest rates are reasonable, see the savings increase in value over time.

Pay Their Own Phone Bill

If your teen has their own mobile phone – and most do these days – then another way of helping them to become more financially responsible is to leave the bill payment down to them.

It could come out of their monthly allowance, from money they earn through jobs or through their savings. Although it may be tempting for teens to spend excessive amounts of time on phoning their friends or sending texts, when your teen realises it’s up to them to sort out the bill, then their expenditure may well go down.

Although they may well come running to you if it all goes wrong and they run out of money, try and resist the urge to bail them out unless you really have to. Going without the use of a mobile phone may well have a better end result than automatically paying their bill for them. Yes, it might not be so safe for them to go out without a working phone, but maybe they could forgo going out too, if they’ve run out of money.

Other Financial Responsibility Tasks

There are plenty of other ways in which you can help your teen learn about being financially responsible. If you need ideas, then look towards what their main hobbies or activities are, the things they love doing, and see if you can generate ideas from that. For example, they may love video games or collect certain action figures, and both of these are activities for which they could learn to pay for and afford.

It’s unlikely that your teen will become a long-term financially responsible teen in an instant, but these early days will help considerably in the long-term and you can rest assured that you’ve done your best to help them on their way to better budgeting and money awareness.

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