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“Help, I’m in Debt!” How to Prepare Teens for Debt

Now that the new year is here, do you have money on your mind? The holiday season can’t help but leave you feeling a bit…spent…and you may have bills to be paid and even some debt to attend to.

Whether you took on holiday debt, or managed your budget perfectly, January can have you thinking (and worrying) about money issues.

So why not do more than just think about those issues? Talk about them too.

If you have a teen in your house, now is a great opportunity to start the conversation about debt and how it can affect them.

These blogs and resources can inform both you and your teen about the financial reality they may be facing. Give them one last holiday gift: a financial reading list that you can explore together all year long.

The Heavy Purse

The focus of this blog from Shannon Ryan (a Certified Financial Planner) is to help parents raise “financially confident kids.” For example, here’s a post that introduces readers and their kids to the different types of debt.

For teens, this is especially important.

There’s a lot of contradictory information out there about debt. It’s widely considered negative, yet much of life depends on it. Many students can’t attend school without loans, credit cards or other lines of credit can help build a healthy credit score and history, mortgage debt and home ownership are inextricably linked…

For teens, those grey areas can be confusing.

Ryan defines different types of debt and explores the grey areas a bit more. It’s a good introduction to a topic that you yourself might feel anxious about.

Yummy Mummy Club (YMC)

Budgeting and financial tracking isn’t what it used to be!

Today, users can do most everything right on their mobile device — and that alone might get your teen’s attention.

YMC has a list of financial apps that you can look at and try out.

Most teens are eager for more financial responsibility and freedom. Setting them up with an app that helps them track their spending and savings, and avoid debt, is a great place to meet in the middle as they test out their financial wings.

Reading list for teens and young adults

If your child is gearing up to leave home in the coming years, or has recently left home, introduce them to the blogs below.

The authors are all young Canadians who have their own relevant and real experiences with money and debt. Understanding how financial challenges like debt are unique to Gen Xers, millennials and Generation Z can help teens prepare for their own financial reality once they’re on their own.

Money After Graduation

Half Banked

Teens Got Cents

Jessica Moorhouse

Give Me Back My Five Bucks

My Alternate Life

Consider the above a starter pack for you and your teen. Think about assigning each other articles from each blog on a regular basis, and getting together to discuss what you’ve read. Think of it as your own financial literacy “book club”.

It’s pretty tough to avoid debt entirely, so focus on being realistic in your discussions with your child about debt. Remember to stress the dangers of taking on unnecessary consumer debt. Your teen should understand the ins and outs of debt management, so he or she doesn’t get overwhelmed by the responsibilities of paying it back. Make 2019 the year of debt education in your household.

From prioritizing debt after graduation to learning about your credit score, our blog offers a lot of good lessons to help your teen better understand debt. Check it out here!

How do you talk about debt with your teen? Tell us on Twitter. #LeaveDebtBehind #DebtSolutions #NewYearMotivation

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