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Teenage $pending Power

Aug 24, 2012 10:59AM ● By Luann Stempel

Teenagers have incredible spending power. They influence the marketing practices of many large corporations as well as their parents’ spending practices. With that in mind, it is important to start your children with sound savings practices early and encourage smart spending as teens.

As high school graduation and college approach, your teen should be familiar with using savings accounts as well as managing a checking account. Having a checking account as a high school senior can be great practice for when they are expected to manage their finances. Understanding how their hard-earned money is spent can lead to better savings habits and calculating the hours of work needed to cover a purchase can really hit home.

Teens should understand the basic workings of checking accounts, credits and debits, available balance, overdrafts, bounced checks and fees. Encourage them to read and review the terms and conditions that are provided before account opening. A personal banker can take the time to answer any questions that you or your teen may have.

Having access to funds 24-7 can be convenient but worrisome as well. Discuss ATM safety with your child. They should choose an ATM in a secure location and well lit. Understanding the differences between a credit card, a debit card and an ATM card can head off future problems with account management. Online banking is also a great tool to monitor an account long before a monthly statement is generated.

By creating a budget, you can help your teen SAVE money and create smart spending habits. If your teenager carries less money and leaves an ATM card at home, funds will not be readily available to impulsively spend on a burger or specialty coffee. There are many resources available for both you and your teen to read and review. Who knows, you may even rethink your own budget plan in the process.

Planting the “saving seed” early is a good foundation for having a money-savvy teenager.

Luann Stempel is the branch manager of First Bank & Trust’s eco-friendly Green Branch, 4007 Dempster St., Skokie. For more information, call 47-763-1626 or visit