The Bedrock of a Bright Financial Future: Money Tips for Teens

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ICBA and the nation’s community banks provide tips and advice for parents to talk to their teens about money, savings and financial literacy

Washington, D.C. (August 22, 2014)—As teenagers start heading back to high school and away from their summer jobs, the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and the nation’s more than 6,500 community banks are encouraging teens and their parents to talk about the importance of money management and overall financial literacy.

“The teenage years are an influential period in a young person’s life, particularly a time period when they can learn valuable skill sets for the future,” said John Buhrmaster, president and CEO of 1st National Bank of Scotia, N.Y. “Teaching, educating and training teenagers on proper financial skills is worthwhile to all communities. The nation’s community banks are on-hand to help provide parents and their teenagers with information about money, savings, credit and additional financial skills.”

ICBA and the nation’s community banks suggest the following tips and advice for high school-aged students based on guidance from the National Endowment for Financial Education’s High School Financial Planning Program:

  • Money Management: Establish Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Trackable (SMART) goals to help you manage your money wisely. Whether you are saving for college or building your first emergency fund, decide what your priorities are, make sure they are achievable, create a plan that you can stick with and measure your progress over time.

  • Borrowing: A credit card will probably be your first foray into borrowing money and there are many complexities with these payment instruments to consider. Talk with your parents and your local community banker about the cost of credit, the importance of establishing and maintaining good credit, and best practices like paying your balance off in full each month.

  • Earning Power: This is the perfect time to begin thinking about your life after high school. What are your interests, what careers might you enjoy and what sort of training and education do you need to land a job in your chosen field? The decisions you make now will affect your future earning power.

  • Make Your Money Work for You: Being wealthy isn’t about how much you earn, it’s about how much you keep. You might not have a lot of money to save and/or invest now, but the sooner you start socking it away the less money you will need over time for it to grow into a hefty sum.

  • Care for Your Cash: Develop good habits that will last a lifetime. Pay yourself first, delay gratification, think about wants versus needs, set SMART financial goals and follow through.

  • Protect What You Have: Even if you’ve followed all the steps above and done everything right, remember that if you have not adequately protected yourself that everything you’ve worked for could be wiped out in the blink of an eye.  And, even if you’re not paying for your own insurance today risky behaviors like speeding can affect what you will pay for insurance tomorrow. 

We have seen continued evidence of a gap in how well youth are financially prepared before adulthood. Yet, I am frequently encouraged by the role parents, educators, non-profits and for-profit financial organizations are taking to remedy this challenge,” Ted Beck, president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), said. “We have a societal responsibility to build and improve the financial capability of America’s youth. Providing early and continuous financial education has an impact socially and economically and it will take a group effort for us to be successful.”

Community banks nationwide are on hand to help teenagers and young adults learn more about how to properly manage their credit, create savings accounts and become more financially literate.

During the month of August, ICBA will spotlight community banks that are active and engaged in local youth financial literacy efforts on the association’s Go Local blog and social media channels. ICBA will also release consumer-related press releases to provide financial literacy tools for parents and elementary to college-aged students.

To learn more about ICBA, visit To find a community bank in your area, visit ICBA's community bank locator.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 6,500 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services.

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