Financial Planning

‘No’ an unfamiliar cash concept to many teens

PocketsAmerican workers and their employers aren't the only ones feeling the pinch these days.

In this eye-opening New York Times article, author Jan Hoffman says many American teenagers -- who for years have been given nearly everything they want by parents who can't say "no" -- are struggling to come to grips with that very word as their parents try to weather the financial crisis.

"They were raised in comparatively flush times by parents who believed that keeping children happy, stimulated and successful, no matter the cost, was an unassailable virtue," writes Hoffman. "But as the economy totters, many families have no choice but to cut back, which may lead to a shift in their thinking about money and permissiveness."

Indeed, Hoffman adds, discretionary spending by teens has dropped 27 percent in the past two years, to about $2,600 annually.

I know, I know: "Boo-flippin'-hoo." That was my first thought, anyway. I mean, cry me a river, right? Still, for kids who have never known real financial sacrifice, these days are coming as a shock.

They're also providing us with an outstanding opportunity to make a real difference in the financial literacy arena. Using this crisis as a backdrop, parents have the opportunity -- I'd even call it a responsibility -- to teach their kids the value of a buck, the importance of saving money and spending less, and the dangers of credit. The MACPA's financial literacy resource center, the AICPA's "360 Degrees of Financial Literacy" program and the "Feed the Pig" campaigns are great places to start, as is the "Feed the Pig for Tweens" campaign, which can help instill some finance-friendly habits before the teen years arrive.

And CPAs, you can help, too. Contact the MACPA for details on how you can spread the financial-literacy word.

More financial literacy resources:


Bill Sheridan