Money gives people, of all ages, the decision-making opportunities they need. Educating your teens to make wise money decisions earlier on will affect their finances in the long run. One of the most important things you must do is to expose your daughter or son to the basics of investing. In hindsight, I wished my parents did so.
1. ENLIGHTEN THEM ABOUT YOUR FINANCES
Embedded in our Asian culture, most Singaporean parents keep their financial issues away from their children. However, the teenage years is the perfect time for you to enlighten them about the “real world” and its problems. Keeping your teens in the dark will make them think that managing money is easy and life is perfect.
Help your teenage child to transition from being a clueless kid to an informed young adult by teaching how important it is to set up future goals and a working budget. Take the effort to share your financial experiences including the ones that are related to investing. Be ready to answer countless amount of questions too!
2. PUT VALUE TO THE CURRENCY
Explaining the importance of money is easier said than done. With the idealistic minds of most teens, you must level it down to reality by giving relatable examples. Put worth or value to the currency by telling them that the money they saved and invested can be used to buy concert tickets of their favorite bands. It can also be used to buy the latest gadget that they have been eyeing on.
Make them realize that when money is invested in the right place and in the right way, they can purchase not just one but probably a couple of the things that they need and want.
3. START WITH THE BASICS
Similar to learning how to ride a bicycle, begin by attaching the training wheels. In this case the training wheels are your investing fundamentals. Explain your own investment philosophy and the way you invest. Then talk about the basics of how the stock market operates as well as the different investment options available (e.g., mutual funds and REITs). Differentiate each option by describing its rewards and risks.
Start with these simple concepts first before jumping on the other concepts such as P/E ratios and diversification. This way, you can keep your child’s interest as everything seems understandable.
4. USE TECHNOLOGY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Shake things up and make learning fun by introducing free investment and trading apps such as Kapitall and CASHFLOW. Kapitall allows you to assemble a portfolio worth $100,000 and track its progress easily. While CASHFLOW, patterned to a popular board-game, allows you to work at a variety of professions until you implement a successful investment strategy to become the next business mogul. These games help teens to grasp the investment concepts that they need later in life.
As teens can become careless, continue to guide them throughout the process and never leave them “investing” on their own.