Social Media: Essential to Teaching Your Teen About Finance?
As my daughter enters high school, she’s become more interested in personal finance. Now that she’s taken financial classes in school, she’s beginning to use more than her current standard of living. For example, she’s been aware of credit cards for some time now. So, with the help of social media sites like Facebook, she recently selected her first credit card.
She’s been out with friends a lot lately, and conversations and conversations turned to her debt, her credit score, the importance of saving up for an emergency fund and so on. Suddenly, her concept of money started to change.
Social media now really does seem to be a place to bond and connect. What, then, is to be gained for a teen from seeing her friends’ credit and savings information?
Social Media: A Touch Point to a Chalkboard
My teen’s mom commented that her credit card was a great way to learn about budgeting.
My daughter had no clue what this meant. Although it was right at her fingertips, it was devoid of anything meaningful and fundamental. Since every monetary decision was generally all up to her, she was essentially learning from a chalkboard.
Ironically, social media didn’t seem to provide anything that was solid in comparison to other financial information sources she had previously read or the lively conversations in store for her.
One note of caution: while social media sites can be great sources for researching financial information, they don’t necessarily keep you grounded in its true meaning. We’ve seen this play out in countless articles on banks and credit cards.
It’s at this point where a simple, open conversation between parents and kids becomes vital. By the time my daughter asks her mom if she has something for breakfast, we have likely already talked about her academic progress, the activities she enjoys and more. As a result, her relationship with money is now solid.
When It Comes to Savings
My daughter says that she saved for her first credit card in two weeks; to her credit, she’s on time, and willing to do it. But the goal isn’t to ensure that she saves that money forever. As she sets a goal, she does have the knowledge she needs to accomplish it.
As much as she means to be good, she’s not financially disciplined, just like the majority of kids across the globe, particularly those from poor households.
As she becomes more financially responsible, she may end up becoming more responsible about saving money. Because what all young people need are the power tools to not only smarten up their finances, but also imbue them with the knowledge they need to also be a good role model.
Without this, kids aren’t likely to consistently invest on their own terms. What they need is guidance. And financial tools to encourage saving.
My daughter might not be financially responsible enough to get her own debit card (if that were to ever happen), but having a social media account on one would only help.
Social media is a valuable tool in helping students with financial issues. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good places to discuss values and character. Social media also has a powerful pull on most people with young minds, who become better at these types of conversations when they’re comfortable with technology.
Families can join forces and meet in public places like libraries and community centers to offer their kids a safe place to have these conversations. In many ways, working together as a family may be one of the best things we can do for our youth, helping them to build their money habits and thinking ahead.
If you are the parent of a teen that is not yet ready to make a financial plan, you don’t have to: This is a personal decision. Just remember the best decision you can make is to do the research.
The hardest thing to understand is that, more often than not, your teen doesn’t need to be an expert on finance.
Investment lies within the realm of conversation, which becomes easy and manageable with your teenager’s input. Give them a voice and a makeover.
Getting kids involved in saving and investing is a good start, for when they hit the real money-making opportunities, they may know more about them. Once they are, their knowledge should only grow.
With social media, one couldn’t ask for a better tool to help your teen understand finance better, but don’t be fooled.
Money-focused social media sites, while good, don’t bring teens into the black circle of financial literacy. What does is walking them through real-world (and financial) experience.