Reader Question: Our son is 16, and he just got his first paycheck. He asked us about the best way to manage it, and we’re not sure what to tell him. Do you have any advice?
Congratulations on a big moment in your son’s life! I’m sure he’s proud, and I’m glad he has parents who want to teach him how to grow into a financially responsible young man.
I think giving is a really big deal at this age. I’d recommend putting 10 percent toward your church or a good, local charity. It’s very important to teach kids about the spiritual and financial benefits of being a giver. The remaining 90 percent you might split evenly between savings and spending in the beginning. You can always go a little heavier on the savings portion if there’s a concrete goal, like college or a car, in mind. The process of thinking ahead and setting goals is always a good exercise, too.
The goal here, in addition to teaching him the value and benefits or work, is to build the muscles of his character. Financially speaking, as parents, we should want our children to grow to be givers, savers and wise, careful spenders. If they become all three of these when they’re young, they won’t be financially irresponsible adults later!