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How to talk to your teen about money

If you have a teenager, it won’t be long before they’re inundated with credit card offers and important financial decisions. Money management for teens is one of the best ways to set them up for success.

In fact, a 2017 survey from T. Rowe Price found that talking to your kids about money at least once a week can help boost their confidence and financial knowledge. Despite this, nearly 70% of parents are reluctant to talk about money.

If you’re looking for ways to talk to your teen about money, start with these concepts.



If your teen has a job or gets an allowance, talk with them about managing their saving and spending. Don’t make it about “controlling” their money. Instead, download our budget worksheet to show them how they can afford the things they want to do, like buying new clothes or eating out with friends, while still working toward larger goals.

Consider setting up a checking account and debit card for your teen and talk to them about using it responsibly. If your teen has only used cash before, a debit card can teach them how to track and manage their money, even when they can’t see it in their wallet.



Help your teen see the value in saving money by understanding their goals. Maybe they want to save for a new car or go to a concert with friends. Make a plan and see how much money they need to put aside. It will be satisfying for your teen to see their money grow and know they reached a goal all on their own. (But for extra motivation, consider matching your teen’s savings contributions.)



Credit can be scary for some teens, and way too tempting for others. Using credit responsibly is a great way to establish healthy financial habits and begin building a credit history.

  • Review credit card offers with your teen, and carefully explain concepts like interest, credit limit and billing cycles
  • If your teen is 18 or older, consider having them “practice” by signing up for a credit card with a low limit
  • Encourage your teen to use the card for minor purchases, like gas or lunch, and then remind them to pay the balance in full every month

Here are a few more things to consider before signing up for a credit card.

Even if it doesn’t always seem like your teen is listening, money management is one of the most important gifts you can give them. Learn more budgeting and saving tips to help prepare your kid for the real world.

Brooke Howell
By Brooke Howell, GM Financial

GM Financial’s Brooke Howell is a writer specializing in financial literacy and a lifetime Chevrolet driver. She is red-haired, well-read and her fuel tank is always more than half full.

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