I just became the mother of a teen last Thursday, wow. What happened to daily tutu dances and palm tree ponytails decorating the top of her head?
Just kidding, I’ve actually really enjoyed all the various ages and stages - and really tried to take them all in. But time really does "fly by."
The reality of it is, and it's hard to believe, but there are now only a handful of years before she’s going to be an adult living an independent life. Will she be ready? It’s a question I think most parents ask themselves time and time again, and some parents are really concerned given today’s changing environment for teens.
You Are The Most Important Financial Teacher Your Child Will Ever Have
Eight years ago when I started my research to find out what my kids would need to learn about financial life skills to survive and thrive in today’s world, I learned some really interesting facts, many things that other parents Ishared with found interesting and important as well. Things like the fact that our money “wiring” and belief systems are created by the age of seven, and that the characteristic which best predicts financial success and well-being in adulthood is not IQ, school marks or socio-economic background, it’s self-control. Children learn their money beliefs and habits during the formative years in early childhood, so parents (you) are absolutely the most influential financial teacher your child will ever have - powerful concept isn't it?! There were many more insights I learned about how the brain and emotions interact around the topic of money - and how we can best teach our kids the key lessons they need for success and happiness in really simple but effective ways. After people began asking me to share the information I was learning, the stories I wrote for my kids to teach them the key lessons eventually became the Zela Wela Kids storybooks. They have now been successfully piloted in an academic program called Change Matters by Memorial University with over two thousand grade three students.
During the early research phase when Natasha and Max were five and two years old respectively, I also documented and summarized the key financial life lessons teens needed to learn progressively, and I’m glad I did because now I need that information to share with them!!! These best practices and key life skills became an activity book for teens, starting off with #1: helping them identify their personal values. Identifying key guiding values is essential to help teens (and all of us) make financial decisions based on what’s important to them, not the media or their peers.
Tasha with her favorite work out towel at the gym today
For the Parents
As soon as the teen guide, Steps to Success for Teens, 25 Financial and Life Lessons to Help you Achieve Your Dreams came out last year, parents, teachers and financial professionals started asking when I was going to create a guide for the parents. So here it is, Steps to Success Parents Guide to Teens and Money – How to Help Your Teens Make Financial and Life Decisions in Today’s World. Both of these guides are accredited by FINRA(the financial industry regulatory authority). The research was based not only on financial best-practices, but also personal success habits, and the neuroscience behind how we learn and make decisions.
This parents guide helps us:
*Identify what family values we want to pass onto our children
*Understand why there is urgency to teach teens basic financial skills now more than ever before
*How exactly to teach financial life skills
*What to teach – best practices that can impact their overall mental and physical well-being
*Credit and debit tips
*The power and importance of entrepreneurial thinking
*The 12 biggest money mistakes to avoid with your teen
The Sooner You Start, the Better for Your Teen
This parent guide helps make discussing basic money concepts easy, and while money and finances is still the most dreaded topic of conversation in the home (more so than sex and drugs), it is essential you begin to discuss these key life topics with your teens. They will be making financial decisions numerous times per day for the rest of their lives, and they deserve to have a good foundation of information to base those decisions on.
If you're interested in learning more about how to help your teen, click here to get your copy of the new Steps to Success Parents Guide to Teens and Money.
I hope you found this helpful, as always feel free to share your stories or ask questions.
All the best to you and your family,
Nancy Phillips is the creator of the Zela Wela Way Resources for Families, Creating a Life of Meaning and Financial Well-Being.
Nancy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, and a Masters of Business Administration