Teaching money to your teen

17 May 2018 - 15:52
By Sydney Sekese
Generally, investments use your money to make more money. / 123rf
Generally, investments use your money to make more money. / 123rf

Today we are celebrating the most important people in our lives - our mothers.

One of the qualities mothers should possess is compassion, a characteristic that enables them to always lend a helping hand to their children.

And what better people to teach teenagers about money than their mothers?

It is prudent for mothers to help their children figure out their own sense of right and wrong towards money.

Here are three financial rules you can instill in their lives:

Spend less than you earn

If your teenager has a part-time job, the fundamental rule of personal finance is that they need to repeatedly spend less than what they earn to avoid financial disaster befalling them. The only way to achieve this is giving up on the least important splurges in life.

Save for the future

As a youngster, your child saved up for short-term goals such as buying a favourite toy. But now, they are ready to focus on saving for larger goals such as a new laptop or a car.

The best time to start saving for the future is at birth.

Tips on how to encourage teens to save for the future:

  • Have your teen put savings goals in writing
  • Motivate your child by offering to match what she saves.
  • Praise your teen for showing responsibility when she reaches a certain financial goal.

Use credit wisely

The terms You Only Live Once (Yolo) and Fear of Missing Out (Fomo) have become a significant rallying call for the youth of the world. It is an expression of defiance that youth must live in the moment.

However, Yolo and Fomo are not great platforms for responsible money management as they put pressure on teenagers to use credit unwisely and end up in debt.

Those early years of saving can give young adults a big financial head start .

Mothers should resist the temptation to bail out their teenagers so they can learn to manage their money wisely.

*Sekese, the 2016 PFI's media award winner, is a registered financial planner and a member of the Financial Planning Institute (FPI). He serves on the FPI investments competency committee .