Guest post written by Laura Thomas, Financial Literacy Blogger
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.
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?”
“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 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.
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.
Laura Thomas is a mom, professional storyteller, writer, and money-conscious citizen with a vested interest in improving the financial literacy of Canadian families. She is the host and co-producer of Money Moment with Laura Thomas. She also writes a financial literacy blog called Money and Me for Canadian Families.
© Your Teen’s Money Skills, Inc. 2012 All rights reserved worldwide.