Have you heard of the 50/30/20 rule? The idea is simple. 50% of income to be spent on necessary living expenses, like rent, food and commuting. 30% to be spent on current lifestyle needs, and the final 20% into savings. For teens that don’t have substantial fixed expenses yet, they can focus more towards lifestyle and savings. Putting more focus on savings will help build better habits and can allow for more flexibility in the future.
Track, balance and re-balance.
Back in the day we used that thing called a check registry. There are free apps for us to use on mobile devices, like NumReciepts, that work similarly. Take a picture of the receipt, label and categorize the expense. This will allow them to understand fully where their money is going, and make adjustments that can help them create a balanced budget. They can run reports to see where they are at weekly and monthly. Not every week or month is the same, but they can find trends in spending so that they are able to plan.
None of this matters, if we don’t have GOALS.
Typically I see a goal of a new car for teens, something better than the ’96 Pontiac with a rust spot the size of Texas on it. The reality is, if we don’t know what we are saving money for and why are we saving it, what motivation do we have to keep doing it? Knowing the what and why can help visualize achieving that goal and create the motivation to sacrifice today for tomorrow.
Create True Responsibility. No Bailouts!
If the money gets spent foolishly, you shouldn’t even ponder bailing them out. Henry Ford once said “Failure is the opportunity to begin again. This time more intelligently.” Think of the 2008 financial crisis. The bailouts didn’t teach responsibility, it gave a way out. It’s not easy to let a loved one fail, but remember, we all learn from failing.