Below are some simple steps you can take to teach your teens to save and spend money wisely:
1. Be a financial role model.
Teenagers see how you spend your money. If they see you set aside a certain amount of money for a specific household need, they will eventually do the same when they get out on their own.
2. Help your teens get a bank account.
Establishing a bank account under their name will give them instant financial responsibility. Sit down and explain to them how to manage their own account through online banking or paper statements. Explain how to write a check and balance a checkbook.
Emphasize the importance of savings versus spending; by pointing out the multiple things they can do with it like, paying for expensive electronic gadgets or purchasing a car. This will help provide a sense of accomplishment once they have saved up enough to have something concrete to show for it.
You may also want to check into any special benefits that banks offer for teens who open their accounts at an early age.
3. Construct a "spending plan".
Once they hear the word 'budget', teens tend to cringe at the mere thought of having to restrict the spending of their money. Instead, you and your teen might consider building a "spending plan". Spending money is necessary. Showing them how to do it wisely will help them understand the difference between what they want and what they need.
4. Make a "mock" investment in the stock market.
Make them aware of the options that they have financially. Introduce them to the business section of the daily newspapers and have them make "mock" investments for companies who manufacture products they like. Monitor the stocks together and explain the how the fluctuations in the market are influenced.
5. Teach them to open their eyes to others.
Spending, saving and investing should be taught along with giving. Do not force your teenagers to give to a favorite charity, but use this time as an introduction to the topic of helping others. Not all good feelings come from material things, and they should have some perspective of the act of giving. Charity is not just something to consider during holidays!
Teaching your kids the value of money is a process. Your teenagers may not always make wise decisions but do not forget that we learn perhaps our most valuable lessons from the mistakes that we make.