As a parent who is honestly still getting the hang of money management, I want to ensure my teenager learns smart financial habits before she’s off on her own.
At the start of my career, I was a regional theater performer and pieced together creative gigs like teaching artist work in order to make a living. My parents didn’t have any experience with that type of lifestyle, so they weren’t able to offer any support when it came to learning about money.
To be fair, even if they had the knowledge, I don’t know if the financial lessons would have stuck back then. I was living for the moment money-wise.
Now that I’m a full-fledged adult, my financial situation has greatly improved, but I’m still behind a lot of my peers when it comes to knowing about things like investing and retirement planning.
As I intentionally work to become more educated, I know I don’t want money to be a source of stress for my kids.
That’s why I’m committed to teaching them, and especially my teenager, key principles now to set them up for future success.
Here are 9 financial lessons I’m making sure to share, and that you can use to teach your teen about money:
Lesson 1: The Importance of Budgeting
I wasn’t always great at budgeting. When I first moved away from home, I didn’t know how to manage my money. I never tracked my income or mapped out expenses.
Now I try to sit down with my daughter monthly to review what she’ll need for the month, and plan out her budget.
She plays a sport, so doesn’t have time to work, but occasionally she’ll do work for me to earn money.
When she does, we look at her spending categories and decide how to divide things like clothes, entertainment, snacks, and savings up.
I explain how sticking to her budget will help her afford what she wants.
Lesson 2: The Value of Saving and Investing
Saving and investing was another concept I had to learn myself.
I want my daughter to make saving a priority now, like setting aside a portion of every gift or paycheck she receives.
She has a high-yield savings account in her name, and we track the balance.
We are learning together about investment options like IRAs, index funds, and other investments that build wealth over time.
Lesson 3: Ways To Earn Money
As a teen, I worked several part-time jobs during high school.
Because my daughter is an athlete, she doesn’t have time for that, but fortunately, we live in an age where there are abundant opportunities to build income through one-off gig jobs through my business, or with family friends, and entrepreneurial ideas.
I want her to take pride in a job well done, and learn money management through work.
Lesson 4: Responsible Use of Credit Cards
I made credit card mistakes that I don’t want my daughter to repeat.
We discuss responsible use, like only spending what you can pay back each month.
When she does get a card, I’ll coach her on avoiding racking up card debt.
My own experiences help illustrate how destructive poor credit card habits can become.
I want her to learn from my positives and negatives.
Lesson 5: Comparison of Shopping and Bargain Hunting
Shopping sales and finding bargains was another skill I had to develop over time.
With my daughter, I demonstrate comparing prices online, using coupons and promo codes, and avoiding impulse buys.
I explain how these savings strategies can be applied to big purchases too, like buying a used car or shopping for financial aid options for college.
Something that our kids have to worry about that we didn’t is scams, and I make sure she’s educated on how to spot “deals” that aren’t real.
Lesson 6: Insurance Basics
Insurance was a mystery to me at the start. So I’m introducing my daughter to policies like health, renters, auto, and identity theft.
We haven’t had a ton of conversations about it, but the teen years are a good time to start planting the seeds of insurance knowledge so when she gets her first job or apartment, it won’t be the first time she’s hearing about it.
Lesson 7: Paying Taxes
I had no clue how to file taxes in my early freelance days.
I’m explaining tax brackets, deductions, and other filing basics.
When she does get a job, I’ll walk her through the process of filing her taxes so that she understands how it all works.
Lesson 8: Gratitude as a tool to teach your teen about money
Giving back and gratitude are also key lessons.
We regularly discuss the importance of generosity, charitable giving, and volunteering.
I praise her acts of kindness and model thankfulness for all we have.
This motivates awareness of her blessings and the importance of making a positive social impact.
Lesson 9: Seeking Guidance
Finance can be complicated.
As her parent, I remind my teen that I’m always here for guidance on money matters big and small.
I’m intentional about being open and non-judgmental in these discussions.
She’s gaining confidence in handling finances but knows she can come to me with any questions or concerns.
Take the time to teach your teen about money
By teaching fundamental money lessons now, I’m equipping my daughter with smart financial habits for adulthood.
I wish I had learned these principles earlier!
The skills she’s building will bring stability and success for years to come.