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Teaching financial responsibility to teenagers

Written by
Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp

Today’s teenagers face financial decisions their parents couldn’t have imagined at their age, says Karen Anderson, chair of California Jump$tart. “Unfortunately, our kids are given very little information about how to make informed personal finance decisions.” To help remedy that problem, the California Jump$tart Coalition, a financial literacy organization, will present a Financial Fitness Fair on Oct. 3 for teenagers to help them understand how money works and how to make smart financial decisions. The event will be from 9 a.m. until
3 p.m. at Junior Achievement’s BizTown on Mission Gorge Place in San Diego. Parents and their teenage children are invited to attend.
“The most important thing to teach kids is that money is a scarce resource and it comes with a duty to make choices,” says Stephen Ramirez, a San Diego CPA. “The time-honored practice of giving a regular allowance to a child is worthwhile as long as the allowance is small and regular and there are certain things (candy, video game rentals) that a child must use his own money to pay for. This forces a kid to make decisions about what he will not spend money on so that he can buy the things he values most.”
Josh Shipp, a motivational speaker, will give the keynote presentation at the Financial Fitness Fair. Shipp, who is in his early 20s, has written books, toured with Bill Cosby and hosted a reality TV show. For the past eight years he has been touring the world as a motivational spaker.
The Financial Fitness Fair will help teens understand how credit cards work, how to invest in the current climate, what to consider when buying that first car, how to manage student loans, how to budget money and control spending, among other lessons. “This is an opportunity to help reinforce and expand upon many things that parents are trying to teach their kids about money,” says Anderson.
Ramirez, whose office is at 8888 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., has established his own guidelines in his household. “With my own kids,” he says, “I have made a point of not paying them to do any particular household or yard chores. They understand that chores are family obligations that each of us must do without pay. What they receive in allowance is justified not by what they do around the house but by the fact that every kid needs some spending money. It isn’t much money so it doesn’t go very far. They know what scarcity is.”
The Financial Fitness Fair is sponsored by Chase, with contributions from Junior Achievement of San Diego and others. The cost to register is $10 per person up to a family maximum of $20. A morning snack and lunch will be provided and are included in the registration fee. For more information and to register, visit z

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