Parenting Point: Teens and Finances

by / Comments Off on Parenting Point: Teens and Finances / 45 View / May 4, 2016

What was your first job? Some of my first jobs were cleaning, babysitting and detasseling. Getting my driver’s license meant more choices and I was thrilled when I no longer had to depend on detasseling to earn money!

Does your teen have a job?

There are so many benefits to our kids beyond collecting a paycheck! Having a job means they have someone besides you telling them how to behave! They learn not only work skills, but time management, interpersonal skills, personal responsibility and more.

Sometimes they don’t like the work or the boss or co-workers and that helps them appreciate their parents and family members more. Having a job they’re not wild about also encourages teens to reflect on the vocation God may be calling them to instead. These first jobs can help kids gain a broader perspective on life as they interact with others. They can feel a sense of accomplishment and independence. They learn how to balance school and work. Having a job gives them something constructive to do and enables them to save up for college or other things.

It’s great to be able to help kids learn how to manage their finances while they’re still at home. Balancing a checkbook might not be the most fun in the world, but it’s a valuable life skill! Being held accountable for writing down debit card purchases while under the parents’ roof is helpful, too.

We use a 3-part system of money management—Give, Save, Spend. Setting up a system to record amounts for these three categories is a huge help in getting our young adults off to a good start in managing their money. At the time of this writing, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF.org) has a program with a great interest rate for those 18 and under called Young Investors.

What a great feeling for kids to buy something with money they earned. One of our sons had so much fun researching computer components and then ordering them with money he had earned and putting together his own computer! Another son bought himself a guitar and taught himself to play—and we had no idea he was interested in learning. Our daughters enjoyed buying clothes that were beyond our budget and going to movies or out to eat with friends.

And how satisfying it is for our kids to be able to share a nice chunk of change to give back to God. They can always give to their church, but sometimes they prefer sending to a special mission opportunity such as to a missionary family they know or to the district camp and outdoor ministry. It’s good for our young people to have choices and be able to give from their heart.

Delayed gratification is a good lesson to learn. Our son who saved up for a computer build had a great chance to learn this. He is now thinking about saving up for a car. If they have an overdraft, we don’t bail them out, but allow them to grow from their mistakes.

I remember when our oldest was young. He found a sale on Legos that he just HAD to have! But he didn’t have enough money. We loaned him the money, but each time a new month rolled around, he was charged a quarter in interest for each dollar he had borrowed. He realized that paying off loans fast was a great idea! (We also offered him paying jobs to help him out.)

You can bet we praised him for taking responsibility and working hard! Remember to encourage your kids and praise them for a job well done.

You might enjoy sitting down with your teen(s) and seeing what Scripture has to say about money management. Some passages to check out:

1 Corinthians 4

Luke 16:11

Luke 14: 11-24

Proverbs 21:20

Acts 20:35

James 1:17a

Psalm 50:23

Luke 16:1-2

Proverbs 22:7

Psalm 37:21

Philippians 3:14

I Timothy 6:17

Matthew 10:16

Proverbs 11:25

Philippians 2:4

I Chronicles 29:11-12

Psalm 37:3-4

Deuteronomy 30:11-14

Matthew 6:5-13

Sound money management is a skill our kids will benefit from for the rest of their lives!

“Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars.” (James 1:17