Wiser Wealth: Should You Involve Your Teenagers in Big Spending Decisions? Two Points of View

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Should teenagers have a say when big financial decisions are made in the family? The Wall Street Journal asked two financial experts to weigh in.

Yes, include teens

Lazetta Rainey Braxton, co-CEO at 2050 Wealth Partners in New York, says parents should include a teenagers’ input. If handled correctly, the teen will find the experience empowering and educational.

“To really learn how to manage money, teenagers need to be invited into conversations about big purchases,” she said.

Parents need to take that input seriously and let the teen know their opinion is valued.

Teens can make astute observations and are capable of grasping the complexity of big financial decisions and their consequences.

Including them at the table will improve their confidence and teach them valuable financial lessons they can carry into adulthood.

No. Don’t include teens.

Michelle Perry Higgins, a financial planner and principal at California Financial Advisors in San Ramon, Calif., says including teenagers in big financial decisions gives the impression they are in control.

Educate your teens about a financial decision, but don’t give them an actual say.

“One of the reasons parents tell their teenagers they are not yet adults is because the children are inexperienced in making difficult and sometimes complicated decisions, especially about spending large amounts of money,” she said.

Teens may base decisions on emotions of the moment. 

Pretending teens can give valuable input without them understanding the issues or having skin in the financial game does not help prepare them.

If parents make it clear they are discussing large purchase decisions with the intent of educating, not soliciting advice, then the teenager won’t be disappointed that the car their parents decide to buy is a pickup truck instead of a hot new sports car.

Read more about what these two financial experts have to say at the Wall Street Journal here.

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Need financial planning advice? Learn more about Fred Hubler’s no conflict of interest, retainer-based financial advice model here or read more about Fred’s Phoenixville business on BUCKSCO.Today here.

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