How to teach financial responsibility to 16-18 year-olds

Learn more about teaching financial responsibility. 16-18 year-olds. Watch our free video for expert advice.
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How to teach financial responsibility to 16-18 year-olds

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Between 16 and 18, things are getting serious, because now they are preparing to go after college or have a gap year or something which they are going to be independent, so now the stakes are higher and you really want them to be accountable, to a cash flow statement budget, savings, credit, they really need to learn about FICO scores, all of these things they are going to need when they are off to college. Often families will think: "Oh, they don't need to learn that now, they can get that later!" No! Now is the time when you're doing economic self-defense for children and that's the way you begin to get them really prepared to go after college. 16 to 18 is also the time when children really need to become much more future oriented, when you're projecting what they're going to spend out in the future, this is the time when you're putting your college plans together, sit down and talk with them about what is going to cost for them to be away for 4 years. Again, these are projections, these are not hard numbers; what you're teaching them, that planning ahead is part of their responsibility at this point. This is also the moment when you begin to handle much more complex issues with kids, things that are ambiguous and political, the fact that money is power and how to use that responsibly and thoughtfully. Once again, now, this is the moment to reflect back on family values and continually ask questions about how do you wanna behave and how is that reflected in the way you handle your money. A lot of family dramas happen around this time, because the child, the 16 year old or the 17 year old feels the parent want to still control them right at the moment when they want to become most independent. This is probably the moment when families will do well to be doing financial planning together, as opposed to trying to be authoritarian at this point. Now, that said, 17-year-olds still don't have well developed brains yet and so, it's important not to abdicate your authority, just because they look older and they sound older and they want things more passionately, putting boundaries in place is till important, but nonetheless, acknowledging that they are growing up and you're preparing them to go away and be independent, will make you be a little bit more successful in the process.

Learn more about teaching financial responsibility. 16-18 year-olds. Watch our free video for expert advice.

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Expert Bio

More from Expert

Joline Godfrey

CEO of Independent Means

Joline Godfrey is the CEO of Independent Means and the author of Raising Financially Fit Kids; Our Wildest Dreams: Women Making Money, Having Fun, Doing Good; No More Frogs To Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls; andTwenty $ecrets to Money and Independence: The DollarDiva’s Guide to Life.

A clinical social worker by training, at the beginning of her career, Godfrey was an executive of the Polaroid Corporation where she provided in-house family and therapeutic services to officers and employees. One of the first women in the nation to manage a spin-off from a Fortune 500 company, she launched Odysseum, a spin-off from Polaroid, and sold it in 1990. Odysseum was a creativity training company serving other Fortune 500 firms.

Godfrey is a graduate of the University of Maine and Boston University and was awarded an Honorary Degree in Business from Bentley College in 1995. She was a Kellogg Leadership Fellow and the recipient of the Leavey Award for Excellence, as well as the Beta Gamma Sigma Entrepreneurship Award.

Recognized in features for The Today Show, Oprah, Fortune, Business Week, The New York Times, and more, Ms. Godfrey is a frequent speaker and consultant worldwide. Godfrey grew up in a family business in Maine and lives in Ojai, CA.

More Parenting Videos from Joline Godfrey >
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