Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guerrilla Messaging and Other Creative Ways to Talk to Teens About Money

If your little Ella is hitting the teen years and you’ve been mum on the topic of money since she bounced into the world, you’ve got a big problem. Your lovely, pubescent creature is mining nuggets of financial misinformation from her peers on Facebook and beyond. Why? Because she thinks it’s a taboo topic at home.

But don’t freak out. There is hope. You can start talking to your teen about money as soon as you finish reading this article. Here’s how.

Guerrilla Messaging

The next time you and your spouse are driving the family somewhere, plan in advance to make the conversation go something like this:

“Honey, who’s paying for Evan’s university?”
“I dunno.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? Don’t you have money saved up?”
“I don’t think so. He’s got to get himself through school like I did. McDonalds, maybe?”
“Okay. Maybe he can mow 10,000 lawns between now and then.”

Keep the banter going until your “Evan” chimes in with some worried questions about who exactly is going to pay for his education.

Loan Sharking

The next time your teen asks for twenty dollars to go out with her friends say “sure, sweetie,” but then produce a typed-up loan document with the following terms:
  • The full amount must be paid back in seven days. 
  • Any amount outstanding will result in an additional dollar per day loan fee.
  • The document must be signed by your teen and yourself, plus a witness. 
Put the document up on the fridge, and be tough but open-minded to any suggestions your teen might have for working off the debt.

Price that Gruel

Okay,so maybe you’re not serving gruel for dinner tonight, but I can guarantee you are serving a meal that you can attach a dollar sign to. Come up with a rough estimate of what the cost is of getting that meal from the store to your table. Write that number on a piece of paper.

Then, at the beginning of the meal, announce that you will give twenty dollars to the person who comes closest to the actual cost of the meal. After the dishes are done, bring the family back to the kitchen table and see who is the closest.

Now,that’s enough reading. It’s time to set up your teen to talk to you about money. Be creative, have fun and make them sweat a little.

Copyright 2012. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved. 
This article will be appearing in Your Teen's Money Skills.com later this week. 
For reprint permission, please contact moneyme at telus dot net.

1 comment:

  1. One thing that surprised me was how much my 15 year old daughter learned when she organized a weekend camping trip for Pathfinders (that’s the next level up from Girl Guides). She had a limited meal budget and had to buy the provisions for four girls for five meals. She also had to buy some supplies like foil paper and cleaning products. She couldn’t stop talking about how expensive everything was, and how she had to carefully compare prices and package sizes to ensure she was getting the best deal. She also had to stay within her budget which she found to be a bit challenging.