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Learning Money: Budgeting and Saving For Teenagers

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Staying true to our commitment at Teens Going For Gold Network to grooming financially self-reliant teenagers, we insist on helping Nigerian and African teenagers, especially those from underserved backgrounds, to assume responsibility for their finances early.

We believe that every teenager with a source of income, either through parents, guardians, a scholarship grant or a business venture, must learn to budget and save, so as to grow their earnings over time.

There is however a challenge with instilling this, as many parents find it difficult to teach their teenagers how to budget or save, either because they aren’t good at budgeting and saving themselves, or they wonder why their teenager would care.

Be that as it may, this article shares practical tips to help teenagers learn (and help their parents/guardians teach them) budgeting and saving.

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HAVING GOOD MODELS OF MONEY-MANAGEMENT

Watching how parents or close adults handle money will help teenagers pick up valuable money lessons. So, as a teenager, if your parents are not the best money managers, it would help you to pick up money-management habits from an adult around you who is handling his or her money profitably.

On the flip side, as a parent, showing responsible attitudes toward money will help your teenager develop practical money-management skills and do more for your teenager’s financial future than a thousand words of advice.

Also, getting them involved in household finances is a way to instil in them valuable financial education. You can do the following tasks with your teenager.

  • Establishing a family budget
  • Setting family savings goals
  • Creating an emergency fund
  • Distinguishing between the family’s needs vs wants
  • Saving for something important
  • Organising the bills to be paid           
  • Keeping impulse purchases to a minimum
MAKE YOUR BUDGET WITH YOUR KIDS

Yes, as a parent, you can allow your teenager to be part of family budget discussions. No, they are not too young to join those discussions. And yes, it’s okay if they don’t understand it right away. Also, remember to start simple.

This will help them to understand (your family’s) money dynamics; its coming in and going out. It will also help them understand how to allocate money equitably across necessary (family) expenses. It will also help them see why they need to save money.

In doing this, it will be important to ensure your teen understands that not all expenses are the same in importance and urgency. Some costs, like food, are continuous and unnegotiable, while others, like education, are investments in the future.

Ultimately, this will help your teenager glean a real-life example of how budgeting works and how to practice it.

MANAGING FINANCES RESPONSIBLY

Your first step to responsible money management as a teenager is setting an amount of your income as what you can spend at will, while the rest goes into a savings account or box. The earlier you start this process, the better.

As a parent, providing your teenager with a fixed but regular cash flow will condition them to budget Whenever they make mistakes or make impulse purchases, they will bear the brunt of those mistakes. Therefore, they will likely learn to spend responsibly.

Giving your teenager money whenever they request it would tend them towards financial irresponsibility.

HANDLING MONEY

Teens should be allowed more control over handling their money as they get older. It helps will speed them up on their path to learning lifelong financial management skills.

It is important to note, however, that money-management mistakes are inevitable. You may do this and your teen still spends a week’s allowance in a day or two or buys unnecessary things on impulse. The tendency is that he/she will learn from the experience choose differently next time.

SETTING UP THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS

What if you helped your teen open a savings account for savings another for regular spending? Wouldn’t that be just perfect? And by the way, setting up a joint teen checking account achieves the perfect balance between independence for your teen and supervision from you.

DON’T JUST SAVE, INVEST

It is always a good idea for you as a teenager to save up and invest your money. As a relative rule of thumb, saving 10% of your money in both short-term and long-term accounts will do you a world of good.

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