How do I teach my teen about money?
How can you give your child a solid financial grounding? Concentrate on conversations, a financial expert says.
My 20-year-old son is a dreamer and loves branded clothing. How can I get him to understand how money works? An expert advises.
A user writes:

My son (20) has had a rough time growing up, but he really needs to learn how to work with money.
He is currently working in my husband's business and earns R40 per hour.

His car is paid by us, he receives two tanks of petrol per month and my ex-husband pays him an allowance of R1 800 per month, which he uses for rent.
He has a girlfriend, whose family is going through a divorce, and he takes care of her financially from time to time.

What programme can we put in place to let him understand how money works?

He is a big dreamer, has a soft heart and cannot say no. And he loves brand name clothing.

Jason Garner, acsis financial planning coach, responds:

Statistically, 94% of South Africans will not be able to retire comfortably so as a generation, most of us are going to be drastically affected by our failure to make better financial decisions.

The best way to assist the next generation is by making sure that your own affairs are properly taken care of.

This will set the tone for your children when it comes to finances, retirement goals, etc. It will also ensure that you will not become a burden to them in your old age.

One way to do this is to have open financial discussions in the family. Too many people seem to think that financial discussions are taboo in the home, and they are therefore avoided like the plague.

Actually, the best way is to be open around the topic and certainly to include your children in the family budget and saving discussions. You should also develop a relationship with a well-qualified financial planner who can assist not only in your personal education but that of your children too.

These open financial discussions with your children will become even more important as they grow up and become more financially independent.

The best way for having these kind of discussions is to build them around a framework.

Current reality

What does your budget look like? Do your expenses outweigh your income, etc? What are you doing well, and in which areas could you improve?

As soon as you understand this, you have a starting point for the discussion to progress. Once more, it is important to make sure that these things are not your opinion but what the other contributors say. Try to refrain from doing too much of the talking - rather ask questions and listen to the answers.


This is really about discovering what your child wants to achieve going forward. Where does he see himself? What does he envisage doing, and what are the things he would like to achieve?

Build a strategy

Now that you know your children's aspirations, you can have a constructive discussion about how they see themselves getting there.

Once again, it is important that these strategies are those of your children, and not yours for them, so be careful not to tell them what you think they should do.

Implement the plan
Once a strategy is chosen, get your children to commit to implementing it.

If this means saving more or spending less, provide them with options and then get their commitment to implement the strategy.

The failure to implement is very often the failure of any plan.

Read a more detailed version of this answer on Fin24.

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