From piggy banks to that first savings account, many children are taught the value of saving from an early age. But as they grow to adolescence, following parental advice sometimes gives way to peer or media influences, and those once-thrifty children are now teenagers in a consumer-driven world where spending, not saving, is king.
“Nearly everyone falls into two categories: spenders and savers,” says John Cortines, co-author with Gregory Baumer of God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School.
Cortines and Baumer suggest this tip for parents can help teens establish good financial habits before they reach adulthood, and pave the way for those teens to become generous people as well as good savers:
• Help them begin saving for retirement now. Teens who land a part-time job often want to save money to buy a car or they simply want to enjoy a little financial freedom with weekend shopping sprees. Unless they’re careful, that money burning a proverbial hole in their pocket is spent before the next payday. Parents can help them think beyond today by suggesting they invest a portion of that income in a Roth IRA. Mom and Dad can even consider matching their teen dollar-for-dollar on their savings. “Explain the wonder of compounding investment returns – how the money they invest as a teen could be worth 10 to 20 times as much when they retire,” Cortines says.