Money Management For Teens


When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to leave home and start my independent life…I left home when I was 17 to go to college, and moved 750km away at the age of 20 to go to University. My parents only paid for my first semester of college residence ($750), and the odd lot of food I’d collect when I was home. The rest I funded myself and with student loans. I started working when I was 12 (babysitting, house cleaning and working on the farm), and took summer jobs from when I was 16 to pay for my expenses (minimum wage was less than $5/hr back then, and I’d make $2/hr babysitting 2 kids), and ended school with about $33k of student debts (which I repaid over 10 years).

What I knew about money and fiscal management when I left home over 25 years ago at the age of 17 was purely based on watching my parents – simple farmers who paid everything by cash, grew a lot of their own food, fixed what was broken (instead of replacing it), bought things on sale, and shopped second hand. Nothing was ever wasted.

Today, 20 some years later, costs are 50% higher…which means student bills now can easily be over $22k a school year compared to the $14-15k I paid in an 8 month school year back then (excluding transportation costs, which are more than double what they were 20 years ago). However, minimum wage has also increased ($11.25 now compared to $6.85 20 years ago). It doesn’t surprise me that many kids are staying at home longer, choosing to “take a year off to work and save money” (which rarely materializes), or that parents have to take out a second mortgage to pay for their kids’ education.

In this consumption society, we are buying more, consuming more, and creating more personal debt than ever before…we are spending almost 1.7 times more than we’re making (including mortgage debt). But, what do kids know today about money and budgeting?   What are we teaching our kids about fiscal management? How does overspending and buying them what they want now set them up for financial success later as they enter adult life? How can we better empower our kids with good money habits now, so they enter adulthood with the right tools and mindsets to create an abundant life?

I love this quote from Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad):

The main reason people struggle financially is because they have spent years in school but learned nothing about money. The result is that people learn to work for money…but never learn to have money work for them.

He said this almost 20 years ago…and yet, the statement is still true today. Financial literacy was not taught in school back then, and it is still not taught in any depth today (at least not here in Ontario). In a 2012 Ontario study, it was found that only 39% of high school students felt they were prepared to manage their finances after high school…this is an appalling statistic, and one that has many (84% of parents and 70% of students) calling for financial literacy to be taught in high school. I have yet to read of any significant changes to the Ontario curriculum addressing the issue of personal financial literacy.

I could create a whole program on money management for kids and parents (and perhaps I will – I already teach some of it in my current money coaching programs for small business owners), but here are some basic steps we can take as parents to empower our kids with money management today:

Teach Them An Abundance Mindset

We have been trained and have lived in a lack mindset for so many year. The reality is that the world IS abundant. I read a recent article of the trending increase in self-made millionaires and billionaires – SELF-MADE (and you’d be surprised at how many of them were high school or college drop outs!). These self-made millionaires and billionaires all have one thing in common – they have an abundance mindset…that they can always make money.

We need to teach our kids that having financial abundance is possible – that they’re not destined to work for minimum wage their whole lives; that there are options outside of the traditional “work to live” model that will give them a fulfilling, joyful and abundant life. They need to know that they can make money work for them. Watch movies like The Abundance Factor with them, or read books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, “Lessons to My Children: Simple Life Lessons for Financial Success, Wealth, and Abundance” by Mark Cohen.

Empower Them With Awareness About Money.

Show them what things cost and the value of money…take them grocery shopping with you, show them the mortgage and utility bills, have them sit with you as you reconcile your accounts, explain how many hours of work it would take to pay for something based on their hourly wage rate. Show them how investing early in their lives will pay off in their retirement years, and what impact carrying consumer debt (credit cards and personal loans) can have on their disposable income.

Explore websites with them that share information and tools on fiscal empowerment, such as and, your bank’s website, and guides like “A Parent’s Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids” published by CPA Canada.

Get Them To Start Making Good Money Decisions Now

With these key money decision questions when they are considering a purchase (even for a pack of gum):

  • Do you really need it?
  • Do you already have something like it or that can serve the same purpose?
  • Will having it light you up/bring you joy? Will it contribute to your abundant living?
  • Will having it make you money? Is it an investment or are you just spending money?

Get them into the habit of paying themselves and investing first from every dollar they receive (10-20% is a good rule…in fact I have my kids put away 50% of every dollar they receive as kids, and they can spend the rest.

Be The Example

Be aware of how you do money and what your kids are learning from that, at the same time acknowledging that everyone does money differently.

Would You Like To:

Uncover money blocks and discover how you do money on a spiritual or energetic level!
Discover the power of creating your new money story….
Transform your beliefs and actions with money right away!
Then come to my upcoming IN-PERSON WORKSHOP on September 21! Or visit my WEBSITE to learn more and why not BOOK A SESSION?


Disclaimer: The information provided in this article has been written in general terms and is provided as broad guidance only. It is neither a definitive analysis of the law nor intended to replace or serve as a substitute for any accounting, advisory, tax or other professional advice, consultation or service. The application of laws and regulations may vary depending on specific facts or circumstances. Readers should discuss their specific situations with their professional advisors. Linda Spencer, CPA, CA does not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this article or for any decision based on it.

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