Unlike when I was growing up teenagers did not have a lot of buying power. However, as teens, we did learn money from our parents. We learned through what they allowed us to do and also by watching what they did. Teens and money must be a subject we are to address if we want to break the family consumer cycle.
1. Having no accountability
Over the past 20 years of teaching personal finance, I have found the number one reason adults have issues with finances is that they never had accountability with money, therefore, they have had no restraints or structure with money. This is because as teens no one held them accountable for how they spend their money. They believe they earned it they can spend it however they like. This attitude continues as they grow older, retire on nothing, and eventually, die leaving nothing behind. Holding teens responsible for how they spend will result in more responsible adults who understand you work hard and save some for when you can’t work. 2.
2. Spending too much on looks
Teens spend one out of 3 of every 10 dollars on how they look. This is 30% of all they have. We are teaching lessons whether we understand it or not. We are allowing our children to look good and be broke. Trust me one this, the pattern will not be broken. They will grow up with closets, garages, and basements full of clothes, shoes and accessories they don’t wear while most of them still having tags on them.
3. Not understanding the value of the dollar
The reason people can spend without concern for their future is that they did not learn the value of the dollar before they were trained in consumerism. If the value of the dollar is learned before teens are inundated with consumerism they will not fall for the deadly disease that kills futures, finances, marriages, and even spiritually. The value of the dollar is more powerful than anything you can purchase. The dollar’s power is never lost only transferred. We transfer our power every time we spend the dollar. We transfer it to those who teach consumerism and therefore benefit from being on the other side of it.
4. Developing a consumer mindset
According to Business Insider, 23% of teen’s money is spent on food, then clothing, accessories, video games, cars, electronics, shoes, entertainment. Nowhere in this equation is savings listed. We are teaching our teens to be consumers. To consume, waste, squander, destroy money. We must do better. It’s not until we begin to teach teens that they are wealth builders and not consumers that we will see a difference in how they spend. They will grow old with the same spending habits. If you don’t believe me then look at how you and others spend their money and you should find a sticking resemblance.
5. Not equating work and money
Finally, as we look at teens and money we must consider their work ethic. Work and money go together and when separated one or both will be abused. When money is given and not earned it money will have no value to the recipient although it still possesses value. It’s like giving diamonds to someone who doesn’t understand it’s value. They will carelessly disregard it is just glass or a shiny stone. When they understand it value it will be taken care of and protected. When work is not equated with money then it is abused. We are producing a generation who is not punctual, has no respect for authority, does not put forth their best effort, has no customer service skills and we wonder why. Their job is their income. However, when I don’t respect money then I will not respect how I obtain it.