My oldest daughter had many milestones this year. She got her drivers license, got her first car, got her first job and turned 18 just this week. Besides being a festive day full of the usual celebrations, we went to get her first bank account. Out of all the huge life-changing events she went through this year, I think the bank account had to be the one that gave me the most pause. I was tormented by the thought that she may be destined for the same financial crisis I put myself through when starting out. Of course, back then I had no clue about how to handle my money or to be a good steward of it. I was guilty of countless transgressions against my financial health. By the time I was 25, I was a complete financial disaster, with no apparent means by which to dig myself out.
My daughter wouldn’t remember those days as she was very young, but as a single mom of two young children in financial ruin, I know it directly affected the lifestyle in which she was raised. Because of my ineptness and indebtedness, I found everything from feeding them to putting gas in the car a miraculous feat. Eventually things got better and I was able to learn how to put money in its place and do the right thing with it. So I have to feel good that I have set some proper examples of money management skills for my daughter to learn from.
But there are still things I wish I would have shared with her about money before now. Things I know if she takes to heart and starts applying them immediately will set her up for a lifetime of financial wellness. For me, this one falls right in there with emotional and physical wellness as being areas I have always been committed to nurturing in my children. These are the things she may already know, but areas of financial wellness I want to make sure she understands:
- It’s not about whether you have a lot of money or a little, it is about living within your financial means.
- Treat your money as you want it to treat you—be good to it and take care of it and it will reciprocate. Treat it badly and it will do the same.
- Never buy something you don’t have the means of paying for right now. This applies to various areas from lump-sum purchases to purchases for which you need to finance heavily.
- No matter how much you make, put away a percentage of it for an emergency.
- Always be aware of where you money is going.
- Always meet your financial obligations no matter how tough it might be.
- Forget those trendy shoes, put it in savings!
- When you have a spending urge, take a look at your savings account balance instead. That is a huge rush in and of itself.
- Develop a budget and financial plan no matter what your income.
- Treat yourself within reason every once in awhile. Depriving yourself is not healthy.
- Give even when it hurts. It might hurt a little, but it will also feel great. Don’t go beyond your means though.
These are just a few of the areas I have outlined to go over with my daughter this weekend. She is a sweet, open-minded and smart young lady so I am confident she will absorb my advice and be appreciative of this heap of hard-earned advice.
What do you share with your teens about money? What are some areas you are concerned with? I would love to hear from you.
(photo credit: lanchongzi)