Raising a Teen: A Wise Money Mini-Guide for UK Parents
Having a baby comes as a financial shock to most parents. During the early years things seem to level out a bit, but then they hit the teens – and the financial pressure really shifts up a gear. Now is a good time to re-consider effective financial management, and it can also be a good time to share some important lessons about money with your children.
Hand It Over
Giving your teenagers responsibility for their own spending is a good first step. Up to now they have had pocket money, while you have covered the important things as and when needed.
Give them a monthly allowance to cover certain items, like clothes and travel. Go through the budget with them and explain why your contribution is reasonable. Let them discover for themselves the importance of not running out.
Remember that under-18s cannot generally be bound by a contract so insist on a pay-as-you-go phone; otherwise, you will be held responsible for it.
Share the Facts
Brits can be a bit reticent about money, but what is the harm in your children knowing how much you earn? When you set your annual budget, invite the family to look at it with you.
If children think there is limitless money coming in, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they get annoyed when their “reasonable” requests for funding are turned down. If they realise that their purchases involve you going without something important, they may think again.
Spot the Bargains
Your children can learn from you the art of shopping around. When they start to drive there are some jaw-dropping expenses coming along, so gather round the computer and start looking together at the ways you can all save. Insurance can be staggeringly expensive, so use a resource like CheapAutoInsurance.co.uk to discover the tricks of keeping the cost down.
Send Them Out to Work
It is likely that your teenagers will discover that the best way to get their hands on extra cash is to find a job. It is a huge step towards independence, so you will need to handle it sensitively to avoid being accused of managing every aspect of their lives. Try to get the balance right between offering useful advice and intruding on their freedom.
They should probably keep all their part-time wages, but it may be wise gradually to introduce the idea that, when they are working full-time, they ought to contribute to the household budget.
A wage is a great opportunity to learn about saving. Hopefully, they have already had some experience of saving pocket money, but now there are bigger sums involved and bigger projects that can be saved for.
Teenage years are full of change. They can be difficult for children and parents alike. Adolescence means the process of becoming an adult, and the responsible use of money is one of the features of adulthood. Make it a shared experience and it will hopefully be easier for the whole family.