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How to Teach Your Teen to Manage Money

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so make sure you’re not enabling your kids' irresponsibility by doling out the cash. If they don't learn to manage money, it may cost them their future.


  • Step 1: Model behavior Model the behavior you desire. Get your house in order and discipline yourself before you curb them, so that your advice and counsel has credibility.
  • Step 2: Say no Say no to your teen. Many parents lack the gumption – don’t be one of them.
  • Step 3: Control their spending Help control your teen's spending by educating them about wants and needs. Allowing them to have a credit card only temporarily forestalls the conversation about responsibility.
  • Step 4: Use allowance Use allowance as a tool through which they can experiment with their own money, allowing them to suffer the consequences when money is wasted. The results will be priceless.
  • TIP: Many financial companies offer services for monitoring your teen’s credit card account.
  • Step 5: Teach planning Teach them to plan, which may include getting a part-time job to purchase desired objects.
  • Step 6: Help them make a budget Help them develop a budget, teaching them to acknowledge each expenditure and to organize their basic material desires.
  • Step 7: Set saving goals Set goals for a savings account aimed at future needs like college, trips, and marriage. Agree to reinforce this with small matching contributions on your part.
  • TIP: Teach sound investment strategies to your teen, or have someone who knows what they’re doing help.
  • Step 8: Allow a pre-paid card Allow the teen to have a prepaid debit card instead of a credit card. There is no government bailout authority that will reinforce poor money management for your family.
  • FACT: By 2008, over 91 million U.S. households had at least one credit card.

You Will Need

  • Discipline
  • Allowance
  • Planning skills
  • Budget
  • Savings account
  • Prepaid debit card
  • Sound investment strategies (optional)

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