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Helping Your Teens Set Financial Goals

Summer jobs are currently in full swing – which means many teens are earning a steady flow of cash. However, some teens may lack the knowledge of effectively managing their finances. This is where parents and guardians can play a vital role. Helping your teens set financial goals will enable them to make the most of their summer earnings. Follow our credit counseling advice to set your teen up for success.

Helping your teens set financial goals is easier with ACCC's tips!

Helping your teens set financial goals is easier with ACCC’s tips!

Empowering Teens through Financial Goal-Setting

Encouraging teens to set financial goals is an excellent way to develop their financial skills. If this is your teen’s first or second job, they may have never engaged in any financial planning before. While they may not have significant bills to pay yet, it’s important to consider future expenses such as a car or college, or even covering the costs of a class trip abroad. Even if they simply want some extra spending money, setting goals can help them extend the longevity of their earnings.

To initiate the conversation, guide your teenager through the following questions:

  • What do you want to achieve with your money?
  • How much will you need to reach your goals?
  • Are these SMART goals? (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely)

Once you have an idea of their financial goals, it may be necessary to help them align their expectations with reality, and that’s perfectly fine! Financial planning is not an innate skill, and if they are not accustomed to earning their own money, budgeting, and saving, they will require your guidance to establish a solid foundation.

Initiating Budgeting to Support Financial Goals

Now that you and your teen have established financial goals for their summer earnings, it’s time to create a budget. The budget doesn’t need to be as intricate as your household’s; its purpose is to track the income and expenses, including savings. If your teen has multiple savings goals, create separate categories in the budget to monitor progress toward each one.

Teenagers may initially downplay the importance of budgeting, and have different reasons why they believe it’s unnecessary. However, without documenting their spending on paper or through online tools, it will be challenging to effectively achieve any financial goals. To get started, visit ACCC’s Budgeting section for helpful templates and guidance.

A summer job offers an excellent opportunity for teenagers to earn income and learn the significance of setting financial goals. Make the most of this teachable moment by setting aside time with your teen a few times a month to review their progress (as much as they are willing to share). Cultivating positive and responsible financial habits now will benefit them for years to come. Helping your teens set financial goals is a priceless lesson. Don’t fret if they fall short of certain goals; it provides a perfect opportunity to learn valuable lessons without facing significant financial troubles.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Rae Yen is a marketing coordinator at ACCC. She wants to help others optimize their financial resources and plan accordingly.

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