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FDIC Consumer News

Spring 2015

For Grades 9-12: It’s Like ... How to Speak to High School Kids About Money. Totally!

Here are key tips to help your high school students begin to connect the facts of personal financial education with real-life opportunities ... and then to begin implementing them.

Get to know what taxes are: If you haven't already, review a pay stub together and explain that the taxes are used to pay for services that include roads, parks and libraries.

Help them think about career goals: Discuss career interests and dream jobs … and what you both can do (beginning now) to help make them a reality. Consider talking about the jobs that members of the family, friends or mentors have held. If your employer offers a "take your child to work" day, it can be a great opportunity to describe what you and others do for a living.

For those younger than 18 who want to get a job, check what's permissible under your state laws. To find out, start at the U.S. Department of Labor's Web site.

"You can also plant seeds for entrepreneurial ambitions by talking about how successful businesses often originated with an idea that started small; this can inspire perseverance and ambition," noted Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC's Outreach and Program Development Section.

Explain that buying a car is a big commitment: If your teen wants to own a vehicle, help him or her determine whether it is a need (such as for going to school or work) or a want (maybe simply for convenience or because peers have one). Explain the financial responsibilities, such as insurance premiums, maintenance and repairs, and fuel costs. This can be a good time to decide on who will pay these expenses. If you will be sharing the responsibility, make sure you both agree how he or she will do so.

Reinforce the idea that money in a federally insured financial institution is safe: Remind your teenager that a checking, savings or other deposit account at a financial institution will carry protections related to theft and fraud, and that federal deposit insurance will prevent loss from a bank failure. If he or she doesn't already have a deposit account, consider opening one. Learn more about the FDIC and federal deposit insurance, including how to verify that one of your banks is FDIC-insured, by going to our home page.

Examine the benefits and risks of non-deposit investments: Explain how investments such as stocks and bonds have the potential for higher returns over many years, but they also can lose money. If you have an investment account for or with your child, consider reviewing your brokerage statements together. Also talk about what can make a particular investment, such as a favorite company's stock, worth buying.

To learn more, including ideas for teaching key concepts about investing, start at the Web site of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Stress the importance of keeping personal information secure: If your teen uses social media, discuss why sharing too much personal information can expose him or her to identity theft. For more information, read our tips for young adults in the Fall 2012 FDIC Consumer News.