Got a teen heading off to college soon?  After the high school graduation festivities are over, they’ll be faced with lots of decisions to make– many for the first time in their lives.

If your teen is moving out shortly after tossing that cap in the air, you want them prepared to tackle their newfound independence with wisdom and confidence. Here are 4 money lessons your teen should have in their back pocket before leaving home: 

1. Master the art of delayed gratification. From budgeting to credit smarts, the habit of delayed gratification will serve your teen well throughout their lives. People of all ages struggle with impulsive buying and emotional shopping, and it’s never too late— or too early— to create healthier spending habits! Teach your teen to embrace frugality. Being content with what we have is a lifelong lesson we all need to learn, so teach them to embrace thrifty living when it’s needed.

 2.  Know how to manage debt properly.  As financial independence appears on the horizon, your teen will probably start getting mail from credit card companies eager to claim their business. From credit cards to car loans to a potentially costly education,  your teen will almost inevitably have to shoulder some debt at some point in their lives— and they need to know how to address it properly. An increasing number of college seniors are graduating with thousands of dollars in credit card debt before they even graduate, setting them up for financial despair. [note] “An Investigation Into Credit Card Debt Among College Students,” Contemporary Issues in Education Research. (accessed April 18th, 2018)” [/note] With student loans added to their list of expenses after graduation, many young adults can begin to feel like they’re drowning. No one wants to start out their journey that way. Teens need to know the difference between good and bad debt, and how to grapple with the two.

3. Know what life actually costs. The cost of living has been rising steadily since the 1960’s. In 1975, the average home price in the United State was $39,500. Today, it’s $376,700.  [note] “Median and Average Sales Prices of New Homes Sold in United States,” U.S. Census. (accessed April 18th, 2018)” [/note]  The demanding costs of housing, food, transportation and health care have seen better days, and of course, student loan debt looms larger and larger over American millennials. While teens needn’t pile on extra stress worrying about the future, it helps to be aware of life’s expenses and plan how to meet them.

4. A healthy financial mindset is your greatest asset. Make this your mantra: money is a tool, and having it makes life easier and more fun. This sounds like a no-brainer to us, but think about this: money is a deeply complex and often taboo subject in our culture. Our kids are sponges! They internalize money messages all the time, and they’re not all positive. If all the grown-ups in a child’s life have a fraught relationship with money, he or she could carry that negativity into their own financial journey. For example, they may view money as a constant source of turmoil if that’s the example that’s been set. A healthy relationship with the concept of wealth is priceless! Money is a helpful tool to have at their disposal that they’re perfectly capable of attaining if they’re willing to work hard and use wisdom. It’s by no means the end-all-be-all of a fulfilled life, but it can make life easier and more fun.

Jassby is a free mobile payments system for the whole family.  With our iOS and web app,  parents can safely give their teens money for rewards, accomplishments, gifts and more; teens can learn money management by saving or shopping from an parent-approved list of online vendors. When it comes to money matters, Jassby is part of the family!