Guest Post: Teen Financial Education in San Diego

5 Tips to Help Your Teen become a More Financially Successful Adult

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When it comes to learning about the basics of financial management, the more you know and the earlier you know it, the better. Many students head off to college without having an understanding of personal finance. As a result, they end up developing poor saving and spending habits and accumulate debt. In fact, the average 23–28-year-old carries more than $14,000 in debt(excluding home mortgages)1. Rather than waiting until it is too late, try these 5 Tips to help your teen become more financially responsible.




1: Set up a checking account

The very first step in teaching your teen about money is going into the bank and setting up a checking account for her. Rather than giving her an allowance in cash, deposit it into her checking account. This is a great way to teach her about using a checkbook or debit card. Show her how to track spending and ATM withdrawals.


2: Reward your teen for saving

Now that your teen has a checking account, it is important to teach her about saving. To encourage her to save her allowance or hard-earned cash, offer to match her savings or pay her an interest rate on the money she saves. In addition to creating good savings habits, this will increase her understanding of simple and compound interest.


3: Make sure your teen understands the difference between a debit and credit card

With cash and checks being used less and less, many teens are confused about how credit and debit cards work and how they differ. Tip 1 can help with debit cards, but it is equally important to explain credit cards. Be sure to explain that funds in a checking account earn interest while charges on a credit card will cost you interest.


Tip 4: Take Your Teen With you When Making a Major Purchase

One of the best ways to teach your teen about buying a car is to take her with you when you buy one. Take her through the process of test driving, negotiating and getting a loan. By explaining what you are doing as you are doing it, your teen will have a much better idea of how the process works and how to (or how not to) choose a car and a car payment.


Tip 5: Tip 5: Expose your Teen to Working With Professionals

When you are meeting with your financial planner or other business professional, bring your teen with you. This is an excellent opportunity to teach her about investing and different types of accounts like 401k plans and Roth IRA’s. Ask your financial planner to explain what the investments are that you own and how they work. You may even learn a little yourself!


When all is said and done, the most important thing you can do for your teen is talk about money. Only about one in three parents (34%) have taught their teen how to balance a checkbook, and even fewer (29%) have explained how credit card interest and fees work2. Give your teen the knowledge she needs to be financially confident and successful.


Need help teaching your teen about finance? Money MindEd can help!  Money MindEd is an afterschool classroom series that educates students, age 15-21, about the basics of finance through in-person instruction. The program focuses on building financial mastery in young people as they move towards their first jobs and into college.  For more information about the program and for additional tips on how to teach your teen about finance, visit our website at


Jaclyn Schell, CFP® is the president of Money MindEd, an afterschool programthat teaches teens about financial management and Guide My Finances, a San Diego financial planning firm. She lives in North Park with her husband John.


1[Charles Schwab and Lieberman Research Worldwide, Young Adults & Money Survey, January 2009,]



2[Charles Schwab, Schwab “Parents & Money” Survey Offers Prescription for Raising Financially Healthy Kids, March 26, 2008,]



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