Are you a parent of a teenager? Does your teen expect you to dole out cash like an ATM? Does your child know the word “budget?” As many families take a hard look at their finances in light of the current economy, many are seizing the opportunity to instill money management skills and financial responsibility in their children.
Now is the time to talk with your kids about money. With the end of the school year approaching, along with milestones like graduation, summer jobs and preparing for college in the fall, it is the perfect time to make money matters part of the dinner table conversation. The fact is, whether you are 13, 30 or 90, no one is immune to financial stress, especially given today’s economy.
“It’s important that parents have the ‘money talk’ with their kids first — even if you feel like maybe you haven’t always made the best financial decisions as a parent, older children learn from our candor,” says Matt Boss who heads up the mass customer strategy, including students, for Bank of America. “By talking candidly about money and finances with your child, it will be easier for them to take the reins and head down the path to a successful financial future.”
Here are some basic steps the pros at Bank of America suggest for providing your teen with a better understanding of how to manage their money:
1. Talk openly and honestly.
The first step in educating your teenager about finances is to create an open and honest relationship when it comes to money. Sit down and explain the importance of money management and ask them what steps they think they should take to get their finances in order. Discuss any questions or problems that they have. Once trust is established, it leaves the door open for effective learning.
2. Set a budget and stick to it.
Sit down with your teenager and help them hash out a realistic budget plan. Record monthly income totals, including paychecks and allowances. Then record all expenses — non-discretionary spending like food and insurance, and discretionary spending like movie tickets and CDs. Don’t forget about savings — try to set aside 10 percent each month.
3. Understand and actively manage a checking account.
A checking account is the foundation of your teen’s financial world. If they don’t have one already, help them open one and explain how it works. Make sure they understand the importance of a balanced account and consequences associated with not keeping track of that account. Talk about the pros and cons of debit cards and how they work. Finally, utilize your bank’s online tools for managing a checking account including online banking, mobile banking, account alerts, bill pay and transaction records. Using Mobile Banking, students can check account balances, pay bills, transfer money, view transactions, and receive mobile alerts when their balance falls below a set minimum, helping them avoid fees.
4. Take advantage of educational seminars in your hometown.
It’s not uncommon for schools or banks to hold short, educational classes to help younger generations comprehend different aspects of financial basics. Contact your bank, local community groups or your teenager’s school to see what is available. Make it more fun by attending with them or finding out if you can recruit their friends to go.
5. Use online educational resources.
Bank of America recently introduced a financial awareness campaign designed to educate and empower students to take control of their finances and bank with confidence. Online host Morris, the wise upperclassman, provides students with tips on how to navigate life as a student. He covers important student issues through his online show including money matters, educational materials and information and tips about being smart with your money. The newest addition, The Morris Code (TM), is aimed at the teen audience and is the distillation of Morris’ personal philosophy about financial literacy and his epiphany: that it is never too early to become financially literate. To “get the code,” visit www.BankofAmerica.com/morriscode for a comprehensive collection of resources, tools and tips.
To achieve a solid financial understanding, Bank of America suggests students and their parents adopt the Morris Code money-management principles:
The Morris Code (TM) for Students:
1. My checking account is the foundation of my financial world.
2. Banking more efficiently saves me money.
3. I will pay attention to where I stand financially at all times.
4. I will teach myself things about saving money that other people may not.
5. Paying for college means exploring all of my options.
6. I will be practical and smart in how I spend my money.
7. I will take responsibility for my credit score and use credit cards wisely.
8. I will take steps to protect my financial records and identity.
9. Planning for the future is my responsibility.
10. Money can’t buy me happiness, but knowing what I’m doing with it can point me in the right direction.
The Morris Code (TM) for Parents:
1. I will teach my child how to use a checking account.
2. My child will know how to save money and the importance of doing so.
3. My child will bank more efficiently with the tools online banking offers.
4. I will teach my child the importance of credit scores and using credit cards wisely.
5. I will help my child explore all options for funding their education.
6. I will teach my child the basics of maintaining a budget.
7. My child will know the importance of planning for the future.
8. My child will be aware of how to protect their finances and identity.
9. I will teach my child smart spending habits
10. I will prepare my child to be a savvy, self-sufficient and financially responsible adult.
“Taking the first step today will help your child learn financial management information that will benefit them for the rest of their life,” concludes Boss.
Courtesy of ARAcontent