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Money Tips for Teens, Parents

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January 23, 2013

A new publication from the FDIC is full of money tips for teens.

The primer, titled "For young adults and teens: Quick tips for managing your money," is 12 pages of information that many teens and their parents will find helpful in terms of paying for college or a car, saving money in the short term and the long term, building and keeping a solid credit record, and avoiding monetary fraud.

The dozen topics covered include the use of smartphones to make and track purchases. Special mention is made of the need for electronic security, through strong passwords and rigorous monitoring of online bank and loan accounts.

One of the greatest challenges facing teens today is the burden of debt, from college loans and auto loans and general credit card purchases. The primer has strategies for managing and reducing debt, including a discussion of the choice between federal and private student loans, and the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. Tips for buying a car include comparisons between a loan and a lease. Suggestions for wise credit card use include minimizing the number of monthly purchases and cards overall, not only to avoid future interest-related credit card debt but also to create a more positive impression in a credit report, which can come in handy when applying for a job or a space in an apartment.

Many of these tips might sound like common sense; but the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation stresses, citing facts and figures of its own, that many teens don't end up making wise choices with their money. The overall message is responsibility: The more teens know about how money systems work, the more wisely they can make use of credit, debt, savings, and other money-related commodities.

Parents are encouraged to read the primer as well, not only to help their children make monetary decisions but also for their own knowledge. The last section is all about saving to help pay for children's college tuition.

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