Sweet! 16 or 17…now money is real!

moneyEvery kid can get a job when they are 16.  The definition of ‘job’ varies by your child’s responsibilities, abilities and work load.  For some kids, earning might only occur in the off season from their sport or activity.  For my daughter, it meant getting a job at the local ice cream (custard) place.

When your kid starts earning an actual paycheck, it is important to monitor their spending and make sure they are saving.  As a result of school and activity circumstances it was necessary for me to get my daughter her own car.  I made her fill out all of the grade paperwork and driving log that helped with the insurance premium discount and she pays about half of her insurance every month.  It is truly my opinion that kids have to have some financial ‘skin’ in the game so that they understand the value.  If yout circumstances don’t require a car there are plenty of other ways to teach your child to budget their earnings.

It is important that the money is kept separate from yours.  My daughter and I opened an account at the local credit union.  I liked that there were no fees at all and the savings account earned interest.  I was also able to watch her transactions from my account.  We made a deal that she had to text me in order to spend more than $5 so that she had to think before she spent.  Also, some banks and credit unions have a text or email features that will automatically send a message when a transaction is made, some are very customizable.  Spend the time to discuss that spending with your kid and make sure that they don’t overdo it.  I was OK with my daughter having a Visa Debit Card from her account, that is an individual decision and you really need to think about what having that plastic card means in your situation.  If you are not ready for your child to have a credit card that is linked to an actual account you can try a pre-paid card.  I would suggest doing research and comparing benefits and costs to see which would work best for your situation.  I found a great article here.

The main message to get to your teens is save, save, save and to have them think before they swipe.

Enjoy…Nancy Ann

2 thoughts on “Sweet! 16 or 17…now money is real!

  1. Thank you for this column! I’ve got a 17 year old daughter who hasn’t been managing her money proproperly (she claims “she earned it, she can spend it how she pleases”) and I’ve been trying to think of ways to help her. I’ve tried respecting her independence and intelligence but when she splurges on new shoes and dinner with her friends, I just see her college funds going down the toilet! I think I will bring up monitoring her transactions and maybe even holding on to her money for her, that way we can both be sure she’s making what I believe to be smart choices. Thanks again!

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