Now that millennials are reaching middle age and gaining some control of the economy, they’re working to prevent younger generations from facing the same bleak future they’ve had.
If you’re a millennial or know millennials, then you know or have seen the fear, depression, and anxiet`y they’ve dealt with trying to find ways to pay off debt and want to help your teen avoid these same struggles. While things like climate change, student loans, and financial education are becoming more of a priority, you might feel like it’s too little, too late. Is there any hope for your teen?
While it may seem bleak, not all hope is lost. Your child can get around many of these issues with your help. Here are a few things you can start doing today to give your teen the financial advantages they’ll need tomorrow.
Teach your children good money management skills now
Unfortunately, money management isn’t taught in many schools, so it’s up to the parents to ensure their children learn how to handle their money. Start your kid off with a joint checking account so that you can monitor their spending while giving them real-world experience managing finances.
If your teen has a job, help them set up a savings account and make it a rule that a certain percentage of every paycheck must go into savings. That way, they’ll develop a habit of saving that will help them be less impulsive with their finances and have a healthy emergency fund should they need it.
Be open to alternative options besides college
Many of us were conditioned to think that college was the only route for a better life after graduating from high school. Now that the job market has become more flexible with education requirements for white-collar or high-paying careers, some teenagers aren’t seeing the point of acquiring tens- or even hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in student loan debt. After seeing how student loans have impacted many millennials, they’re not wrong.
If your teenager is considering alternative education options like trade schools or going directly into the job market after high school to gain experience, don’t immediately reject the idea. Sit down with them and work out a list of pros and cons for each direction to see which way would best suit their unique situation. If they still want to explore their options and skip the college experience, that doesn’t mean it’s a permanent choice. Thanks to continuing education programs, remote learning, and flexible class schedules, your child can also go back to school at any time if they decide the value of a degree outweighs the debt they’ll accrue.
Be a good example for your teen
Above all, your teen will need to have a good example to follow. If you’ve had any bad money habits of your own, it’s time to start over and be a positive role model. Having a reason to clean up your finances, like teaching your kiddo, can be a great motivator. It can be difficult, but starting to work on it today will impact your financial health tomorrow. Not only that but showing your teen that you’re working on your past mistakes can make it a shared experience that makes learning money management more impactful.
Seeing millennials’ anxiety due to the economy can make it stressful to think about how your kid will flourish as an adult. The sooner you start helping them form good financial habits, the better equipped they’ll be to become successful, financially stable adults.
John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. He’s best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller Redshirts, which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word “Whatever” into Google. No, seriously, try it.