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Your kids' appetite for money and all it can buy increases greatly by the time they become teens. Every marketer's dream, teenagers are incredibly fashion and trend conscious, they generally don't have expenses to pay for, and are more than eager to have the latest hot item.

As your children get older, they may be increasingly influenced by their friends' spending habits and attitudes about money, but your own values can still strongly influence how your kids approach money now and later on in life. Try to take a moderate approach, because kids may rebel against your extremes, whatever they are, or adopt those habits as their own.

1. Work
Many teens soon realize that after-school jobs can help them earn money for the things they want, while at the same time they learn the value of each dollar they earn.

Having a job helps teach kids about responsibility, offers valuable work experience and occupies time they might otherwise spend less productively. Even a job at McDonald's can teach important lessons about getting along with customers or co-workers. That first paycheck can also be a real eye-opener for a kid who didn't realize how much smaller her take-home pay would be after tax deductions.

Help your working teens create a budget to manage their expenses. Try having them track all of their spending for one week to establish baseline allocations for various expenses like school lunches, cell phone service, clothing and savings. If their monthly expenses exceed income, help them prioritize. (Is a tattoo a need or a want?)

2. Savings
Encourage good saving habits. If your child works, he can open a Roth IRA retirement account.

If you haven't done so already, help your teen open a checking and savings account. Give them a fixed amount of money for back-to-school shopping, and see how far they can stretch those dollars.

Spend time with your teen using an online savings calculator, which demonstrates how money can grow over time, based on different amounts and varying interest rates.

Many banks and credit unions offer special accounts for young people with lower minimum balances. Avoid accounts that carry fees that can erode small balances, and teach them how to shop around for offers that are best for them.

Cover the basics with your teen, including the importance of:

Avoiding ATM fees
Never signing a blank check
Protecting PIN numbers and passwords
Keeping track of their available balance, either online or by balancing their checkbook to avoid overdraft fees
Safety of using a debit card online

Dawn Handschuh has earned a living putting pen to paper for 25 years, including 10 years in financial services, where she wrote widely on retirement planning and personal finance. Dawn is a regular contributor at CreditFYI and on CreditFYI's Credit Blog.

Article Source: Teach Your Teens About Money


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