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Family Money

financial-concepts-for-teens

Cars, college, sports, work.  All of these take commitment and focus to excel in them.  Cars, college and sports can also cost you money.  While working provides you with money, it may not cover all of your expenses.  The teen years are a great time to learn and practice more complex financial management skills, while still having help from your parents to make sure you succeed.

 

Learning by example is one way a teenager can succeed.  Allow teens to watch and ask questions as you pay bills, comparison-shop for best prices, or visit the Credit Union to obtain information on loans or other products.  Additional key areas to teach your teen are:

 

Banking Skills

If your teen isn't a member of the credit union, this is the perfect time to begin a savings account.  Use of a savings account can teach your teen how to earn dividends, use of an ATM card, and prepare them for making decisions in the future.  It can also help in the future when they want to get a vehicle or educational loan.

 

Budgeting

Budgeting is one of the core philosophies of good financial planning.  During the teen years, they learn the difference between a "want" and a "need."  A good way to start a budget is to list all income (from part-time job wages to holiday gifts), then short-term goals (clothing, etc.) and long-term goals (a car, college, etc.).  Your teen can then develop a savings and spending plan.  Teaching your teen to contribute to charities teaches them the ideals of sharing their money.

 

Saving

Many teens begin a part-time job, and no matter how small the income, it is always exciting.  It is also the time to teach them an important lifelong habit of saving.  Save a portion of everything you earn.

 

Taxes

Many times teens take the number of hours they work, times it by the amount per hour, and expect on that first Friday paycheck to receive that exact amount.  This is the perfect time to teach your teen about taxes.  Discuss income taxes and deadlines, and if necessary, help your teen file an income tax return online or by mail.

 

Credit

Endless amounts of money at their fingertips.  That is what many teens believe when they see credit cards in action.  However, at this age, it is important to teach your teen about living within their means.  It may even be a good idea to help your teen apply for a credit card with a low limit, helping them to learn about credit cards and establishing credit for the future.  Credit ratings are important in today's financial landscape, so teaching your teens about www.annualcreditreport.com and how to protect their ratings with on time payments and responsible use is important.

 

Safety

Online scams, prices that seem too good to be true?  Teens need to be aware of basic safety rules:  Never provide personal financial information without being absolutely sure of who you're dealing with.  Be aware of online risks.  Use caution when carrying cash and credit cards in public.

 

Reaching Goals

The ultimate goal is to teach your teen to handle their finances responsibly and wisely.  When a teen sets a goal, works toward it, and attains the goal, they are better prepared not only with financial management but all aspects of adulthood.

 

We're here to help.  NSWC Federal Credit Union is a great resource.  As a member-owned, not-for-profit financial institution, a primary focus of our Credit Union is education.  Feel free to visit any of our four locations in Fredericksburg and King George or online at www.nswcfcu.org.

 

Samantha P. Romano

Marketing Specialist

NSWC Federal Credit Union

Information contributed from National Association of Federal Credit Unions, an independent trade association representing federally chartered credit unions nationwide.

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Pouches is ready to kayak on the beautiful Rappahannock River. She’s also ready to learn more about how she can protect the river’s health using the Friends of the Rappahannock new River Report Card, sponsored by a surprise grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region (CFRRR).

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