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Tips on tweens finance

Tweens finance becomes a little more challenging than for little kids. Tweens are at that stage of being more than a kid, but not yet grown up – but they start looking to teenagers as role models rather than their parents. And this is where the fun begins!

Tweens will be more tempted by typical teenage fads such as mobile phones, gadgets and fashion – but will not necessarily understand the limitations or fine print of these items (neither do all teenagers for that matter!) - which makes them particularly vulnerable to scams and bad deals.

And strangely, despite their vulnerability, they are very trusting in advertising and sales hype – if it’s on TV it MUST be right! But it creates an excellent opportunity for you to start teaching your tweens about the products and services they show interest in and teach them the pitfalls and traps of our modern and material world.

So build on their desire to gain independence and try the following:
  • Help them find paying odd jobs outside the home, or by doing more family chores. Explain that with a higher allowance and payment from external jobs comes more responsibility. Consider payment as a reward for good for behaviour or good grades.
  • Encourage responsible budgeting and spending – agree a savings plan so that they save for their financial goals, and allow them some spending freedom as well. Don’t forget charity!
  • If they have a mobile phone, make sure it is on a pre-paid plan so they don’t rack up huge mobile phone bills. Have them top it up so they are paying for their own calls.
  • Open a bank account for savings if they haven’t got one already. You may even want to consider opening an investment account such as a mutual fund.
  • Introduce adult financial concepts such as tax, debt and interest. Use the media as a way of introducing these topics so it’s not just because mum or dad said so.
  • Introduce ethical internet games aimed at teaching young people about money – but play them with your child so you can explain the concepts and terminology.
  • Help your child set up a filing system for their financial records – keep receipts and bank statements, and compare these with their budget.
  • Talk about savvy shopping – comparing prices of different brands and at different shops, buying in bulk, avoiding fads, buying at sales, etc.
  • Encourage your child to think for themselves and start making their own money decisions - with some guidance if needed. It’s important to stay involved so that you can pick up any problems or trends that need correcting.
  • Encourage their entrepreneurial potential buy helping them start their own business – dog walking, cookie baking – whatever suits their interests and abilities.
  • Talk to them about fads such as mobile ring tone subscriptions – not in a negative way, but explain the fine print and what the service really costs. Let them decide if they really want that ring tone or not.
  • Discuss advertising, and shopping principles in terms of value for money – but empower them to make their own decisions on spending.
And because tweens are becoming more and more interested in computers and their application, not is an excellent time to introduce them to personal budgeting software like MoneyTree.

The aim of the game with tweens finance is to start taking that step back from being money manager to money mentor – encourage your tween to make their own decisions so they can learn from their own mistakes and gain confidence from their experiences.

Check out this fun site full of finance games. There’s also these 12 principles of money and other money lessons you can work through with your tweens.
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We are not certified financial planners or advisors. The information in this website is general information only. Always consult a licensed financial planner before making any finance or investment decision.

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