Dear Mr. Morton- Our teen, age 16, earns money by babysitting. Trouble is, she spends her money like a drunken sailor on weekend furlough. Designer jeans and tennis shoes are in for her! Any thoughts on how can we teach her to be thriftier? - Parents
Dear Parents- I’ll try, but I’m not the one to ask. America’s 16 million teens used to spend over $93 billion each year, but in today’s economy the “Fly Now-Pay Later” era is officially terminated in many households. I would teach your teen to save more before she ends up flying by the seat of her exorbitantly high-priced Gucci jeans. Buy some used jeans at the discount store, then rip, tear and fade them in the washer. They’ll look right off the shelf from Robert Cavalli’s.
In an age where our government can’t even save social security and Medicare, It may be difficult to teach her how to save. You may want to try to reason with her, but the only thing she may want to save is an hour during daylight savings time. Teens crave the feeling of independence, and her making money and spending it on her own may be a strong drive. I guess there’s nothing wrong with trying to reason with her, but there’s nothing wrong with teens that trying to reason with them about…won’t aggravate.
You’re not alone! Robert Manning, several years ago cited young adults under age 25 as the most rapidly growing group of bankruptcy filers. By the way, Manning authored the book, “Credit Card Nation.” I guess they didn’t learn good money management as teens.
But, hope lurks on the horizon! According to a recent Seventeen magazine poll, teens are shopping smarter: 55% wait for items to go on sale, half make fewer “impulse purchases” and 42% do comparison shopping for best prices. Only 22% said the economy had no affect on their shopping behaviors.
Here’s additional sites that discuss teen spending habits:
NAA Business Analysis & Research Dept. (Oct. 2005)
Targeting Teens Brief
Mediapost on teen spending
Note: In the right margin, see Code "Q TEEN SPENDING" FOR DAILY UPDATED ARTICLES & VIDEOS ON TEEN SPENDING.