Our first guest expert blog of 2023 is from Laurel Makowem, the founder of Mothers Teaching Money, a financial education platform for mothers and their children. Laurel is on a mission is to make financial education fun, affordable and accessible. She has very kindly written some excellent tips on how to build financial confidence in teens for us. It’s a topic we cover regularly, as we feel it’s so important, and we love Laurel’s insight and approach and her easy-to-follow practical advice.
What is Financial Confidence?
If confidence is defined as ‘a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances’, then financial confidence could be defined as a feeling or consciousness of one’s power and ability to earn well, build wealth and ultimately have financial freedom.
There is a growing body of evidence showing a strong relationship between financial wellbeing and financial confidence, yet many children do not have the opportunity to learn the mindsets and skills necessary to build it, often because parents weren’t taught it themselves.
Here are some tips to help you raise your teen to be a financially confident adult:
Write an abundant wealth building money story
Give them the opportunity to write an abundant wealth building money story. A money story is a person’s relationship with money. It is what they subconsciously BELIEVE, THINK and FEEL about money, which drives what they DO with money, which forms their FINANCIAL REALITY. Teens learn their money story from their environment, significant adults, and the media. They may hear things like “we can’t afford that,” or “money doesn’t grow on trees,” or “do you think I’m made of money?” or “investing is for rich people” or “investing isn’t for us”. They may experience bickering, fighting, lies or anxiety around money. These types of words and experiences can lead to a relationship with money based on scarcity, lack and fear, rather than abundance and wealth building. Choose your words about money carefully and become aware of your own money story and decide to change it if you must.
Talk about money with your friends, family, and children
If money is a taboo subject in your home, decide to change that and talk about it as often as you can. The more you talk about money with your friends, family, and children, the more comfortable you and they will feel around money overall. Some questions to initiate conversations with teens could be: if $1000 landed in your lap right now, what would you do with it? How many hours would you have to work to make that $1000? Do you know how much your life costs a month? Do you know how many hours I/the family/you worked to pay for your shoes/phone/game? I wonder how much that influencer gets paid to say they love that product, or if they really do love it? What are you grateful for today? What are some things we could do as a family to save money towards our holiday? Do you know how banks make money? What’s the difference between a debit and a credit card? Did you know that your money can make more money for you if you invest it?
Think abundant wealth building thoughts
Use powerful mental strategies like gratitude and affirmations to teach teens how to think abundant wealth building thoughts, rather than scarcity or lack. Everything they do with their money starts with a thought about money and forms their financial reality. Some abundant wealth-building affirmations could be: I AM abundant. I AM good with money. I am a mindful spender. I make good choices with my money. I live in an abundant world. There’s more where that came from. I AM an investor. Also encourage them to have a daily gratitude practice and to create a ‘my wealthy healthy life’ vision board. Some questions to consider could be: What does wealth mean for me? What does health mean for me? What does a wealthy healthy life look like and feel like for me? Where will I be living? What will I be doing? Who will be in my life? What kind of work will I be doing? Where will I go on holidays? What causes will I support? What will I be doing for fun? What food do I eat? What are my big dreams?
Set financial goals
Use the WOOP goal setting technique to teach teens how to set financial goals (short, medium, and long term), and plan for obstacles, both external and internal that could get in their way of achieving their goals timeously. Some external obstacles could be advertising, mismanagement of credit cards, social media pressure, peer pressure and lifestyle creep. Some internal obstacles could be a scarcity mindset and lack of financial knowledge.
Track progress towards goals
Just as important as developing a habit of setting financial goals is tracking progress towards that goal. Use a visual tracker with these headings: Goal amount (what is the amount of money they plan to save). Saving for (if they wish they could include a photo or a drawing of what they are saving up to buy). Start date (when will their goal begin). End date (by what date do they plan to achieve their goal). As they save the amounts, colour in their tracker and celebrate their progress. To support their saving goals, you could celebrate with small gestures along the way, or you may choose to match their savings.
Multiple income streams
Teach them how to set up multiple streams of income, some generating active income, and some generating passive income. Active income is the norm for most people and is income earned in exchange for hours worked, e.g., a job. Passive income is when we do work upfront and continue to earn money from those efforts, e.g., rental from a rental property, an online course, dividends from shares, or royalties from a book. Brainstorm different ways they could earn money using questions like: What are your strengths? What do other people compliment you for? What are your talents? How can you make money from that idea? What skills do you have? What skills would you need in order to make money from that idea? How much time do you have to work on your idea or business? How much money can you earn from that? What is something you would like to learn about but can’t find any good books or courses? Could you get a job at a place where you could learn your skill, eg if they enjoy beauty and hair, they could work at a hairdresser, if they enjoy gaming, they could intern at a digital media agency.
The Investing Habit
When teens learn The Investing Habit (investing half of all income earned), it becomes their default way of being with money and planning for their futures. Many adults were not taught this wealth building habit, so it can sound extreme, but children are a blank canvas when it comes to developing their money habits and relationship with money.
Show them how to plan into their budget, giving and helping others, and how to balance giving with taking care of themselves financially.
Normalise investing and The Investing Habit in your family, even if you do not invest yet.
You can build your teen’s financial confidence using these tips, starting today. They have time on their sides, time to learn and practice the mindsets, skills, and habits they need to grow into financially confident adults who make educated and informed financial choices based on fact and knowledge, rather than emotion or somebody else’s beliefs about money.
Laurel Makowem is an NFEC Certified Financial Education Instructor, Financial Coach, Financial Literacy Advocate, and founder of Mothers Teaching Money, a financial education platform for mothers and their children.
Laurel believes that every mother can raise her child to be a financially independent and successful adult, regardless of her own upbringing, financial situation, or relationship with money.
Her mission is to make financial education fun, affordable and accessible and stems from her own personal experience as a previously financially unempowered and uneducated woman and mother. She provides a range of online resources and workshops for parents and children from age 5 upwards. She is especially passionate about giving teen girls the opportunity to write an empowering money story for themselves and bridge the many financial gaps that still exist in our society today.
Laurel is married and is mom to her 18 year old son, and four very spoilt furbabies. She loves cafe coffee, carrot cake, dancing, walking with her husband and dogs, and going on roadtrips with her family.
A little bit about Equipp
I’m Anna, mum to 3 young adults. I set up Equipp with my late business partner Louise (mum to 2) and now work with her husband and daughter. Our mission is to help spread happiness and positivity amongst today’s amazing young people. We believe it’s vital that every teenager is given confidence to believe in themselves. Telling them how wonderful they are and putting a daily smile on their faces via the cards and gifts they receive from Equipp is integral to everything we design and produce. Have a browse around our collections of birthday and teenage milestone gifts and please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like any recommendation.
We love to celebrate teenagers in every way, and are building a community of parents who feel the same. We hope you enjoy reading our blog posts and we’d love it if you came and joined us on Instagram or Facebook to chat about parenting teens.
Oh, and we’re raising money for a fantastic teenage suicide prevention charity, Hector’s House, with a donation from every purchase from Equipp.