Especially for Teens – Who Are You With Money?

What do you do with your money?  

How does it make you feel when you have money, or when you don’t have money? 

Everyone is different!  Money is a resource, something we use to obtain the items we need or want.  However, who we are with money is also a reflection of our values, our habits, and our environment.  Let’s take a look at what influences those areas. 

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  • Parents and Close Family. Think about the conversations you have had with your parents, what they have taught you, and the ways you have seen them use money.  Some families are very open to discussing money topics, such as income, paying bills, and budgeting.  Some families are more private.  
  • Faith.  Use of resources and money is an important part of many religious practices.  How you think about giving, borrowing, and saving can be shaped by your faith. 
  • Culture.  Expectations about the way people use their money and resources can vary tremendously between cultures.  In some societies, it is considered a sign of love and respect to spend lavishly on others, while in others those actions could be considered an insult.  That’s quite a difference!  Similarly, some cultures value shared resources, while others give more respect to financial independence.

Family, faith, and culture can be very intertwined and are certainly not the only forces that influence our money choices.  Each has a different way of shaping our money values, habits, and experiences.  But why is that important to know?  

Knowing what influences our thoughts about money and spending helps us to be better decision makers.  We can be more intentional about setting goals.  We make a plan for our money that is based on what is important to us.  

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Ask yourself this: have you ever tried to set a goal that wasn’t important to you?  Did you achieve that goal?  For example, if you set a goal to be able to run five miles every day, but you dislike running, it is unlikely you will reach that goal.  In that case, you should find an exercise or activity that you value and is enjoyable.  The same is true with money.  While it is important to be responsible with money, the goals you set and the plans you make should be based on your values so that you can be successful. 

Understanding your attitudes and habits about money will help you to make plans to use it in a way that is realistic, is in alignment with your values, meets your needs, and allows some wants. 

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