How do you teach boys money management?
34% of American teenagers don’t have bank accounts and rely predominantly on cash, according to a 2019 Junior Achievement USA survey. In fact, 1 in 5 teens have never been into a physical bank and nearly a third of teens surveyed don’t have a bank account.
Like many parents, Benny Nachman initially started paying his boys’ allowance in cash. But — like many of us — Benny doesn’t often use cash and occasionally found he didn’t have enough cash on hand to cover allowances. His boys were less disturbed by this fact than Benny thought they’d be. He soon learned that cash isn’t all that exciting to kids who live in an increasingly digital world. In their lives, digital money, including iTunes and Amazon gift cards and Vbucks, are a lot more valuable.
That’s one reason why he founded Jassby, a mobile wallet and chore app for families. The other reason is because he thinks it’s absolutely critical to teach boys money management and financial literacy. Most states do not include financial literacy or personal budgeting in the public school curriculum — and, as a result, 70% of college students can’t answer basic questions about money, interests, loans and investments.
Talking to our kids about finances is not the solution. “I talk to my kids about money all the time — about what a bank does, what a credit card is,” Benny says. “But I can see their eyes glaze over when I lecture them. After about 15 seconds, it’s OK, dad, whatever.”
Practical experiences with money management is much more effective. So, in lieu of buying football cleats for his sons, Benny gave them each $90 (the most he was willing to spend on a pair of cleats) and allowed them to shop. He told them they could keep whatever money they didn’t spend on cleats and use it however they liked.
“The guys spent the weekend researching cleats,” Benny said, and ultimately bought a pair that was $55. In the process, the boys learned more than there would from dozens of hours of lectures.
Giving your boys the space and freedom to make financial choices can be difficult, especially if you see your son about to make what you’re sure will be a costly mistake. But allowing them to make financial mistakes in their youth may spare them from making ever bigger mistakes in adulthood.
“You never learn any better than by making your own mistakes,” Benny says. “The failures are important.”
In this episode, Jen, Janet & Benny discuss:
- Allowance policies — to tie to chores, or not?
- Why cash isn’t as valuable to kids today as digital money
- How to teach boys the value of money
- Why you must give boys the opportunity to manage money
- How not to raise entitled jerks
- Allowing boys to make financial mistakes
- Talking about family finances
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
Jassby.com — Benny’s chore & mobile allowance app
The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money, by Ron Lieber — book mentioned at 19:40
Just Don’t Be an Asshole — ON BOYS episode featuring Kara Kinney Cartwright
Age 16 & Learning to Let Go — Building Boys post mentioned at 24:30
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