Teaching Teens Financial Responsibility

When your kids were little, you frequently heard requests such as “Will you read me a story?” or “Can we go for a bike ride?” Now that your kids have morphed into teenagers, their pleadings often involve asking for money—your money.

How can you tame their cash demands and avoid the money wrangles, while also instilling a sense of financial responsibility? Here are a few ideas:

  • Make the most of “teachable moments”—Look for opportunities in your day-to-day interactions with your teen when you can slip in a money “lesson.” For instance, if you’re out shopping together, you can talk about your own shopping choices or why you’re delaying a purchase.
  • Provide hands-on experience—These types of experiences have more impact for teens than just listening to you talk. For instance, have your teenager make the grocery list for the week. At the market, he’ll see for himself how big a chunk of the family budget goes toward groceries.
  • Model money monitoring—Sit down with your teen to go over her list of expenditures for the week. Discuss the following: Were these wants (things that just made you feel good) or needs (things like a new jacket to replace the one that no longer fits)? How could you have spent your money differently?
  • Introduce plastic, perhaps—You’ll need to decide when your teen is mature enough to manage a debit card. When they are ready, check out the Armco Youth ATM and Mastercard debit card program. Teens must complete a financial literacy course and you’ll have access to parental controls in the cuEARN platform.
  • Talk about the future—What will come after high school? If it’s college, what portion of expenses will the teen have to cover? Older teens also begin to think about career choices. Check out the free Edmit college planning software offered by Armco Credit Union.

Armco Credit Union offers an array of Youth Account products specifically designed to help teach your kids and teens the financial principals listed above. Our Youth Savings Accounts pay your kids to learn about financial literacy. The Youth Checking Accounts don’t have a minimum balance or impose fees like banks. We can also set your teen up with their first debit card account. Getting teens established with these tools can help them learn to manage money now—while the stakes are small—so they don’t get into financial trouble later. Open a youth account online, call or stop by a branch today.