Personal Finance for Teens
Not a single adult has ever looked back at their handling of money and thought, “Yep, I did it just right – there is no room for improvement.” Instead, there is likely a strong desire to magically return to your teenage self and drop the wisdom to start saving more, spending less, staying debt-free, and building up investments. Though we cannot travel back to a younger version of ourselves, we can help the next generation by passing on the knowledge found in The Complete Guide to Personal Finance: For Teenagers ($18), as it’s one of those subjects that teens cannot learn about soon enough.
Kids in the tween/teen years are exploring their independence, and being mindful of what it’s going to take to survive. Money management is a key factor here. Twelve year olds are thinking of how can they buy their own iPads or video games, mid-teens are thinking about getting the car they hope to drive, and older teens are thinking about how to pay for college. Do I need to get a job? A savings account? A loan? It’s crucial that teens learn about personal finance before they get approached with credit card offers the moment they step onto a college campus, and this book a great introduction to personal finance for teens.
In addition to the warnings about falling into debt as soon as they are legally able to, this book also touches on personal banking, budgeting, taxes, and just all around being fiscally responsible. The author (Tamsen Butler) has a very approachable and informative voice. Learning about personal finance for teens can be a tricky thing to approach by a parent, as the parent may – as much as they might not want to admit it – have a habit of talking down their kids, or feel a tendency to dangle the fact that the kid has been financially supported by the parent for their entire life. Whether or not that’s the case, Butler’s book encourages kids to bring the topic up to parents, so allowing the kids to learn from another source, such as this book, may be a nice way to introduce the topic into discussions at home. When it comes for a good gift for teens, fiscal responsibility tops the charts.