Money during high school

Teaching high-schoolers about banking and credit will make them savvier when they leave home for college or work. Many teens have part-time jobs and can really understand what it means to earn a living. If they are working, they most likely will be introduced to the concept of paying taxes. With a regular income, this is a good time to teach them to manage a checking account and ATM or debit card. They can be taught to save for major expenses such as their first car or education.

Even if they are not earning their own money, they can become more responsible for buying some of their own clothes and other necessities. A weekly, monthly, or seasonal allowance for these items will help them appreciate how much things cost and perhaps take better care of their belongings. They can learn to set up a budget, keep records of their expenditures, and learn about needs versus wants.

Depending upon their finances, your children can even learn about investing during this time. High schoolers are ready to be taught about the market- using real money. They can learn about interest rates, different forms of saving and investing, and benefits and risks.

During the last year or two of high school, the costs associated with your children's next steps should be discussed. If they are going to work, they need to think about where will they live, what their living expenses will be, and how much they can earn. If they are going to college, they will also need to understand how much their tuition will be, what other kinds of expenses they will have, and how these costs will be covered. If they will be taking out student loans to pay for their education, they need to understand the implications of these loans. As their parent, you need to be clear about what you will help with and what your expectations will be.

High school is the time for your children to have learned how to deposit money, write a check, use a debit card, keep track of a savings and checking account, create and stick to a budget, and make simple financial choices. Learning these things under your guidance at home is far better than dealing with financial problems when they are living away from home.