Teach teens how to use credit cards

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Most of us are familiar with the advice in Proverbs 22:6 about teaching children the proper values in life. One of the items on which children need instruction is money.

They should understand three stages of money: earning, saving and spending.

Children gain a sense of accomplishment by earning money.

Your teenagers may already work to earn money. And your younger children may receive an allowance for completing household chores.

Children should learn to save money from each paycheck or allowance.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to introduce them to your local banker and encourage them to set up a savings account.

As you do this, impress upon them the importance of setting goals when handling money, such as saving to buy a car or to have money for college.

Most children need guidance on how to spend money wisely. As part of the learning process, encourage them to keep receipts for all purchases throughout the month.

Sit down with them at the end of the month and review the receipts.

Let them decide if they made good decisions in spending their money. Like adults, children will learn from mistakes.

One final thought is in order.

Make financial education a priority in your family. This especially applies to teenagers and credit cards.

While many financial experts advise against providing credit cards to teenagers, this is a personal choice for parents.

If you choose to do so, make sure they understand how to use the cards wisely.

Teenagers need to recognize the importance of paying credit card bills on time, paying as much as possible on their accounts to minimize interest charges, and protecting the cards from thieves.

As a precaution, parents may want to put low limits on the credit cards to keep their teenagers from falling too deeply into debt.