Teen Post: Build Your Financial Awareness Now – You Might Be Glad You Did!Jan 8th, 2012 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Build Your Financial Awareness
Teaching Teens Finances
We live in a world of technology advances that are zipping along at the speed of light. Computers, tablets and ipads, video games, and cell phone packages that require an upgrade every other month. I’m sure you have heard from your parents just how much these things cost – but as teens, we are bombarded with so many big price tags that eventually the sticker shock just seems to fade with each passing trend. Yeah, it’s just another hundred bucks, right? My family just works it out in the end…
The scary fact is that a lot of teens move on to rack up debt that they can’t pay – early on in life. Starting out on your own in financial trouble is not a smart way to play the game. Here is the simple truth:
Very shortly you are going to be the sole person responsible for your own finances and planning for the future is YOUR solo gig.
The not-so-scary fact is that by taking a solid step forward and thinking about what’s best for you long-term (much like you did when you and your family chose to homeschool ), your future can look pretty bright. The great news is that many options available to you are now in digital or mobile format – and that you can easily relate to!
Here are some simple (but technologically up-to-date!) strategies to put in place right now:
1. Open a checking account. It’s easy, it’s free, and there are real-world penalties involved if you mess up (overdraft fees, etc.). Ask about the pros and cons of debit cards and how they work. Set up online access and be sure to utilize your bank’s online tools for managing a checking account including online banking, mobile banking, account alerts, bill pay, and transaction records. Using mobile banking will allow you to check account balances, pay bills, transfer money, view transactions, and receive mobile alerts on your phone when their balance falls below a set minimum, helping to avoid fees.
2. Subscribe to RSS news feeds involving the financial world. You can custom pick the feeds that interest you most, or have the most relevance to your fields of study – Google Reader is an excellent place to start . The feeds will automatically get you the news and information you need, without you having to go out looking on the web. Subscribing to email newsletters by some of your trusted institutions and accounting agencies will help to build your knowledge base as well – scan the topics and pick the articles that have relevant information.
3. Utilize online video resources and webinars. Look for information in the media format you can relate most to – in many cases there are video options that won’t bore the pants off you! There are many reputable sites that are targeting teens – they know you are going to be a large part of their future – so take advantage of their interest in you, right now.
4. Keep an ear to the ground for local seminars. A lot of colleges have not-for-credit evening or weekend short-courses available – and so what if you are only a teen, it’s a great way to prepare for college! Mom or Dad may even want to attend with you. University extension agencies are also great sources of free information for young people. Remember that any financial knowledge that you compile now can only help you in the future.
The fact that you are still just a teen affords you the opportunity to get in the “driver’s seat” (even if you are not 16 – woot!) financially speaking. A little bit of knowledge, some steady practice with the newest financial tools available to you, and you will have yourself a big leg up over other teens your age.
And – IMHO – the driver’s seat is exactly where you want to be! CU L8R!