As kids age, a parent’s job is to ensure they receive life skills that will carry them throughout their lives.
As kids hit their teenage years, they begin to spend more time hitting the books, studying for exams, and making plans for the future. Deciding which AP class to take or what after-school activity looks good on a college application can be a complicated process.
But through all the twists and turns of day-to-day living, one thing may become blatantly clear: your teen doesn’t have money skills to make great choices as they age. We don’t teach money skills in school. That comes later, through life experience rather than education. But InRoads Credit Union’s Elements of Money can change that. We designed Elements of Money to be a fun and interactive way for teens to learn.
Think about the things you did after graduating from high school or college and moving out on your own for the first time. You got a job. Bought a car. Opened a checking account. Signed a contract for your first loan.
For a lot of us, we took the “sink or swim” approach to learning these life skills. We did them without thinking much about the consequences. We signed on the dotted line because it was the quickest way to get what we wanted.
We didn’t think much about interest rates, how much it takes to operate a car, or what happens if a check bounces in our checking account. In most cases, these were skills we picked up through trial and error.
Why not give kids these skills before they blaze their own trails? To really understand Elements of Money, it starts with instilling life skills long before a teen moves out and is on their own and starts facing these situations head-on.
That’s why we provide guidance for the things teens will face as they make their way into this world. There’s more to owning a car than picking out the make, model, and color. After you drive a car home, suddenly you have to figure out buying insurance, monthly payments, and saving for repair bills down the road.
We get that as adults. But it’s an important life skill that teens need to hear long before they make their choices. And it’s a great starting point to get them thinking in the right direction.
From the time children enter middle school, their worlds are filled with information on getting a college degree. Take the right classes. Don’t forget AP. And be sure your extracurricular activities look good on an application.
But what about making college a reality? Little education is ever provided to a teen on the logistics of a college education. You know, things like tuition payments and paying loans back. You can’t go a day without seeing how the college debt crisis is impacting our society. Yet kids are relatively in the dark about what this all means.
An important factor of Elements of Money is to give teens resources for understanding this process way before they select their schools.
How much do they know about taking out a student loan? Do they know how to avoid scholarship scams? Do they understand there are more expenses than just tuition when attending college classes?
A little education can go a long way when planning out the process of attending the school of their dreams.
In a capitalistic society, we’re great at enticing people to buy. But there’s more to money than buying, and we don’t teach a lot of that. Not unless you decide to get a finance degree or use the school of hard knocks as your learning curve, which is the way most of us approach it.
Why not start the education process while teens are still at home?
To really understand money, it’s important to understand how you make it, how to spend it, and how to save it. It’s also important to understand what to do when bad situations happen, like identity fraud.
The more you know, the easier it is to protect your money, rather than waiting for the next crisis to fall. It starts with an education on money.
What makes a bank different from a credit union? If you’ve used both, you already understand the differences.
Like the fact that banks have a goal of making money. Credit unions are owned by their members. That means you’ll get higher interest rates on your savings and lower rates on your loans when you use a credit union for your banking needs.
You know it. But your teen probably doesn’t. They probably haven’t thought much about where they keep their money, just how quickly they have access to it. A single article can give them an aha moment and start them on the path to asking more money questions throughout life.
Getting Their attention
We know kids learn better with today’s modern technology. That’s why we have a lot of fun ways to learn here on Elements of Money.
If teens want to learn on the go, why not try out a podcast filled with useful information? Our podcasts can help them get the right job or learn more about making the most of their college education.
We have videos they can watch on their phones to learn essential life lessons, like the importance of paying yourself first.
And if your teen loves to take quizzes, we have the perfect solution for a little bit of fun and learning. And they’ll be following a learning curve about money in the process.
Of course, not all kids are created equal. Some teens are naturally going to jump at the chance to learn all they can about money and finances. Some teens are just built that way.
And when they’re ready for a more in-depth approach, we have information for them too. On our Elements of Money site, we’ve built Elements U just for them. It’s a great way to turbo-charge money skills and give them a little push towards becoming more responsible with the way they save, budget, plan, and spend throughout their lives.
So, is your teen ready for the next phase of life? If you want them to be better at money management, get them started today with Elements of Money. Our informative website will help budding money managers take an active role in everyday life roles.