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TheStreet Open House

4 Signs Of Money Immaturity In Teens





As your teenagers approach adulthood, you may wonder when they'll be ready for greater financial responsibilities, such as managing a checking account or credit card.

Your teens may be wondering the same thing.

"More than ever, credit cards, bank accounts and financial products are in our kids' future," says John Ulzheimer, president of SmartCredit.com. "We have the responsibility as parents to teach our kids to use them properly."

Although 36 percent of teens expect to eventually be financially better off than their parents, 20 percent are unsure of their current budgeting skills, according to a recent survey from Junior Achievement USA and The Allstate Foundation. Additionally, 23 percent are unsure of their knowledge of credit cards, and almost half have no idea how much they would need to pay for college.

"Kids mature at different rates, and the same goes for money maturity," says family finance expert Ellie Kay, author of the upcoming book, "Lean Body, Fat Wallet."

She says that while these four signs may suggest that your teenager isn't ready for more money responsibility, there are still ways parents can help foster financial growth in the children who display them.

1. Carelessness with personal items

Not surprisingly, general irresponsibility in teens can translate into financial irresponsibility, Kay says.

"If teens are constantly losing important personal items, such as home or car keys, cell phones, backpacks or wallets, they might not be ready for more money responsibility," says Kay. "If they are careless with items nearest and dearest to them, they may also be careless with a debit card."

2. Poor work ethic

Kay says that teens who have yet to pursue a job, whether working for you around the house or at a real job, may lack an appropriate respect for money.

"If teens don't want to earn money and don't know what it takes to earn it, they won't manage it well either," says Kay.

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