Money, money, money

Of all the areas teens seem to get in over their heads about, one of the biggest is money. Perhaps one of the problems is parents. Many adults feel they are not equipped to talk with their children about finances; perhaps they aren’t pleased with how they are doing financially.


Think how much your teen would learn if you went over the interest rate you pay on your credit card.


Show him how much of your car payment just goes to interest to help him be slow about buying a car on time. Take a look at your house payment and see about the interest on that. Talk about how the financial crisis of today is hitting so many people and explain why it is critical to understand the cost of the things he buys.


Teens can make huge mistakes about money. Teens today still are deluged with credit cards that easily may get them into debt as well as used to buying whatever they want. Help your child by talking about credit cards, bounced checks and balancing the check book. The talks you have today really can prevent problems tomorrow. This is really an important educational topic.


Begin talking about money as early as possible. When you give your preschooler money or an allowance, have him save a percentage, have a percentage he can spend and maybe even have a percentage he gives to people in need. Begin his financial lessons before he even begins school but keep them up all the way through school. This is one of the most important lessons he will learn and, again, most of that learning occurs at home.


Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and now director of Parenting Matters Foundation. The foundation publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. Reach Martin at or at 681-2250.



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