For good or bad, peer pressure is part of teenage life.
Kids influence each other greatly as they navigate adolescence, and it can be incredibly tough to forge your path as a teenager. While young people are affected by all kinds of peer pressure, one area of development can lead to serious consequences as an adult: money-related pressure. If kids begin to try to “keep up with the Joneses” at a young age, it can be really difficult to cut out that behavior as an adult. Fortunately, there are ways that we can help our teenage kids deal with these challenges.
Marketers are ruthlessly effective.
At what point does this stop?
Throughout college, into young adulthood, and beyond, many people will continue to spend beyond their means instead of within them. Many experts cite this as the single biggest obstacle to wealth. People may bring in larger and larger paychecks over time, but these spending habits are so ingrained that they cannot accumulate wealth. The goal becomes to live the high life: buying the latest, most expensive things, booking luxury vacations, outdoing your neighbors. Instead of saving and investing money, many do their best to keep up with the Joneses, costing their financial future as a result.
For teenagers, though, this pitfall can be avoided. Parents can teach their kids important lessons about how to overcome peer pressure that they certainly will face, and instill positive spending habits for now and the future. Above all else, we adults can model good money management and spending within our budgets.
The most important lessons, including those about financial responsibility, begin with clear communication with your teen.
It is key to establish that comfort zone with your kids, where they know they can trust you to not judge, as well as to create a mutually-respectful interaction. Explain to teens that advertisers and marketers can be sneaky, and they are directly trying to get you and your friends to buy their products. It is good to have some skepticism when watching a commercial or seeing an ad online. If kids realize that the latest gadget won’t make them cool, that can go a long way into avoiding overspending on expensive products.