Early financial education is important to equip your children with good money management skills before entering adulthood. This may start when you first give them allowances or pocket money, or even earlier.
As they become teenagers, more facets of financial education need to be covered. Here are some tips to raise a financially savvy teen:
- Start with a regular allowance. Having a consistent income allows your teen to better understand their financial behaviours and be more aware of their spending and budgetary limitations. This will help them to manage their salaries when they start working.
- Understand “needs” vs “wants”. Teach them how to differentiate the two types of spending. For example, a decent laptop to do their school projects is a need, but a top-of-the-line desktop with latest gaming features is a want.
- Plan and track spending. Show them how to keep a record of all the money they receive and spend every day. Suggest an easy and suitable way to track their spending, e.g. via apps or online tools. It may be difficult in the beginning, but over time it will become a habit.
- Discuss money matters openly. Include them in family conversations about money. Explain the reasoning behind your financial decisions. This way, they will be able to adopt it in their lives too.
- Open an account. Help your teen to open a bank or savings account if they don’t have one yet. Having their own bank account will give them a sense of independence and responsibility over their finance. Check if there’s any age limit before opening an account for your teen.
- Focus on saving, not spending. Instead of highlighting material goals and achievements like houses, cars and gadgets, share your saving goals and money management strategy with your teen.
- Make it a habit. Help your teen to save regularly. There are many tips to save money that they can apply. For example, a popular trend is to save any RM5 banknotes (or other values) every time they receive one.
- Beware of scams. Teach your teen how to detect scam attempts and alert them of any latest tricks used by scammers. Tell them to inform you as soon as possible if they suspect anything suspicious.
- Protect gadgets from being hacked. Make sure their computers, tablets and smartphones are protected against viruses and malwares. They should also use strong passwords to protect their accounts and keep their gadgets updated.
- Beware of identity theft. Tell them to be cautious when sharing/providing personal details. Don’t simply share any sensitive details (e.g. MyKad, passport, bank account) online or to any unknown third party.
These are just some basic tips to get your teen started. When they are ready, you can also talk to them about other aspects of financial education, e.g. insurance, loans, credit cards, investments and taxes. With these skills and knowledge, your teen will be prepared to face the “real world” in future.