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Comportamiento Financiero Modelo para Adolescentes

Model Financial Behavior for Teens

by Miriam De Dios

Do money talks with your teenagers begin and end with "How much do you need..."? One expert says, don't tell teens what they need to know-show them (Money).

Being a good financial role model may prove challenging. Only two of five U.S. adults admit they have a budget and keep close track of their spending, according to the 2013 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey by Harris Interactive Inc. And about four of 10 adults give themselves a grade of C, D, or F when it comes to money knowledge, a statistically significant change from 2010 when almost two of three adults (65%) gave themselves an A or B.

Despite the sobering statistics, there are plenty of activities that teach teens what they need to know. Beth Kobliner, personal finance commentator and journalist, and a member of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, offers these suggestions:

* Compare credit card offers. Review with your teen several online offers or those you get in the mail so she can evaluate different interest rates and fees.

* Hammer home the minimum payment trap. Choose a desired item that costs, say, $1,000 and use an online credit card repayment calculator to show how long it would take-and how much extra she'd pay-if she pays only the minimum due each month. Or, show her your credit card statement that shows the cost of making minimum payments.

* Brace the teen for sticker shock. Rather than telling her to save for college, show her why she should. Have her choose three schools she's considering, then help her navigate to the "net price calculator" required on all college and university websites. Then talk about the role that financial aid, scholarships, and grants play to reduce the sticker price.

Finally, remember that the real world is a far better teacher than most high school math assignments. Make your teens responsible for personal items such as new clothing, shampoo, and snacks. This teaches the valuable lesson of searching for bargains to stretch the value of their own dollars.

Published 6-3-2013



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