In African culture, we say “Ligotshwa lisemanzi,” which basically translates as “you teach(start) them young,”  since it is difficult to alter an adult’s mind after it has been formed, made up, and developed. This is true in all aspects of life.

“You can be young without money, but you can‘t be old without it” – Tennessee Williams

Most parents say that their teens do not listen to them when it comes to advice on money matters; the reverse is also true; Teens actually embrace their parents’ financial advice.

Teenagers have made billions of dollars in recent years through part-time and summer jobs/side hustles. With the introduction of several internet-earning possibilities, these adolescents are becoming smarter and earning more money than their parents ever did in their lives.

However, these young minds must not only know but also comprehend how to manage their funds properly. “When you know better, you do better” (Maya Angelou).

Some have spent the majority of their earnings, while others have saved the majority, if not the whole amount, for a large purchase or their college education. 

This era in which parents now live has caused them to take a hard look at themselves and the mistakes they have made as parents in the past and ask difficult questions about what they can do to enhance and stabilize their teenagers’ future financial journey, as it requires a different mindset and lifestyle than they have experienced in the past.

Children nowadays are growing increasingly aware of their family’s source of income and financial situation. They use these money-spending rules at random when they strike out on their own, which is risky since once established, they can never return to the original intent—developing a strong foundation for good money management principles.

As a result, it is more a parent’s duty and responsibility now more than ever before to begin teaching their adolescent children to manage their money wisely from an early childhood developmental stage (say, around 10 years) when they can speak about, understand, and handle money since school will never and has never taught them. Unfortunately, our students are not taught these principles and values in our outdated educational system from school right until college.

Here are 7 ideas on how as a parent, you may encourage your teenagers to spend, save, invest and give their money away

1. Set a good example.

Your children will see how you spend your money based on your lifestyle.

If teens see you allocating a particular amount for a certain family requirement, they will do the same when they are old enough to make their own living.

If parents want to WIN with their children, they must first create a family Spending Plan (Budgeting: Roadmap to Financial Wellbeing) that divides it down into Household Expenses, Savings & Investments, Debt, and Giving. 

For your younger audience, you can have jars labeled with all of those titles: Personal Spending (50%), Savings & Investments (45%), and Giving (10%), and then label and assign a percentage to each jar (shoe boxes). Just to get them hooked on the vocabulary, concepts, and action (behavior) behind it.

2. Assist your adolescent in opening a bank account.

Opening a bank account in their name would offer them immediate financial responsibility. 

Sit down with them and explain how to manage their own account (using the above-mentioned percent allocation principles – nowadays bank accounts are so flexible that it is possible to create those accounts) and that they will be rewarded once they save enough; as a parent, you can give a “bonus” as an incentive for the responsibility demonstrated and the principles followed. 

We are rewarding outstanding example conduct of being a decent global citizen here, and the inverse is equally true if “no show,” then “no incentive,” period. It all begins there.

Their funds may be used to pay for their education, a large purchase such as a vehicle or a house, to establish an internet company, to invest in the stock market, or to learn a new skill that would help them generate more money. 

It also offers young minds a feeling of success after they have saved up and have something tangible to show for it. You can look into the particular benefits that banks provide to teens who open up accounts at such a young age.

3. Create a spending plan.

When they hear the term “budget,” youngsters and adults alike tend to cringe at the prospect of having to limit their spending.

Instead, you and your adolescent child might establish a new terminology that resonates with you, I came up with a spending planner (roadmap).

This would get them excited and interested and prompt them to consider how they may spend their money wisely.

In addition, have them make a list of their earnings vs their expenses.

Make it clear to them the distinction between goods that they require and luxury items that they can live without. This teaches teenagers to recognize what is essential in their lives and avoid making rash decisions.

Create a Spending Planner (Budget) so that Teens understand how money works

4. Make a fictitious stock market investment.

Make them aware of the financial choices available to them.

Introduce them to the business section of your daily newspapers and financial news agencies, and have them make fictitious investments in firms that make items they enjoy.

The good news is that youngsters are more daring than previous generations, and they have a better grasp of complicated stock market jargon, investments such as cryptocurrency, blockchain, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Contracts for Difference (CFD), currency, and forex trading than most parents (baby boomer generations) dare to dream or venture.

They both can monitor (play) the stocks jointly, giving them another option for investing their money in the future. As you spend more time together, you will be pleasantly pleased to learn and connect on shared topics.

5. Giving

As global citizens, parents must model their lives for their children by educating them to offer their time to charity, money (funds), and contributions such as assisting and participating in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or non-profit organizations (NPOs) with either skill sharing, time, or money.

It is simpler when teenagers are taught from an early age how to care for the environment (human life, plant life, animal life) because all of this is part of the ecosystem that they not only live in not only for now but into their future and so they are also obligated to protect it at all cost.

The famous adage “Let us leave this world better than we found it” is more relevant today than it has ever been. Believe me, it is more satisfying and fulfilling to see active youngsters contributing to the local area in which they live. It gives comfort that there is hope not only for our responsible teens but our future leaders.

6. Delayed gratification

Teach your youngsters that they may have to wait to buy or have something that they want. The demand for instant gratification can result in them being unprepared for the real world where you do not always get what you want when you want it immediately. It is also a great skill to create a sound financial mindset. Teach them that wants and needs are different

7. Money is finite

Both adults and children need to understand that money never appears out of nowhere and gets printed non-stop (a fallacy that only happens in movies). There is no limit to generating it, but if you give it all away or spend it all, there is NO more. Teach your children to use spending jars and money boxes to save, spend, invest, and give away, so as to demonstrate and teach them how to make rational decisions about when, where, and how to spend it wisely and when to wait. There is a time for everything, and everything works in cycles.

8. Show and tell compound interest

Older children in their pre-teens and teens use a small amount of money to teach them how compound interest works. Teach and show them how an R180.00($10.00) can grow to R1800.00($100.00) for example overtime if left in a compounding account – that means one can earn interest on top of the initial capital invested during the period it is saved. If they choose, they can leave it for a longer period of time, knowing that money works for them and they do not have to be slaves to it.

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”

― Albert Einstein

Thank you for reading this blog post. Which ideas do you think will encourage and motivate your teens to start off with? Please be sure to leave a comment and share. Thank you once again for gracing us with your presence. Please be sure to come back again and linger a while. We really appreciate your presence.