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How To Have “The Talk” With Your Teen

They're back in school. But, when it comes to raising money-smart kids, it's up to us to initiate the conversation

(Image: ThinkStock)

Be open about setting financial goals and priorities for your household. When it comes to teaching your kids about money, transparency is a powerful tool. There’s no better way to help your kids develop a comfort level with saving and investing for long-term goals. Your kids desperately need the reality check of reviewing household bills with you each month in order to understand the true value of money and that cable TV, water, light, food and shelter are not free. Instead of treating the term “budget” as a dirty word, encourage your kids to develop spending plans and stick to them. Find ways to reward such behaviors, for example, by agreeing to match, dollar for dollar, savings toward an agreed upon long-term goal, such as college. Does she want $1,200 dollars for a new dress for the senior prom? Agree to pay for half, but only if she presents a plan to come up with the other half between now and when the money is due. Better yet, encourage her to find a dress for a lesser amount, perhaps by agreeing to match every dollar she saves with a contribution toward a long-term savings goal.

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