This post was created in partnership with American Express.
Our son just turned 15. Our family life changes all the time as our son is growing up, and financial responsibility is something we have talked about for many years, and now we have a great chance to teach him how to handle money (and the lack thereof if he is not careful!) by getting him his first credit card.
American Express created the perfect opportunity to start our teen’s education in financial health by letting us add him as an Additional Card Member. As the primary card holder, it was very easy to add an Additional Card Member, on my account, with a minimum age requirement of 13.
Top Five Reasons To Add Your Teen as An American Express Additional Card Member:
1. Teach them financial responsibility by adding them as an Additional Card Member. Hopefully it will only take one month to understand that equals $50 a week, not $100 a week, with nothing left over for the second half of the month. Budgeting is a tool for all ages!
2. Parents can monitor expenditures. This is our teen’s first opportunity to have a credit card, learning his spending habits with the card can help us to guide him towards fiscal responsibility.
3. Less reason for kids to carry and handle cash. I find it is too easy to spend cash, and if you lose cash you cannot replace it, but you can always replace a lost Additional Card. Since all Additional Card Members from American Express have a different number than the parents card, only one family member’s card needs to be replaced.
4. Opportunity to learn about financial freedom. Your teen can choose to go to a movie with his friends without checking in with dad, and without asking for additional money on a weekend.
5. Family gets additional points which helps to get them closer to achieving rewards! We used our points towards an awesome family vacation last summer!
No one taught me financial responsibility. When I went off to college and had the ability to open credit card accounts, I was not financially responsible and acted as if the cards were savings accounts to spend, ignoring the interest fees that piled up for years. My son may not learn anything I teach him, but at least I now have a great tool to guide him.
There have been a lot of changes in our son’s life this past year. He is now in high school and can go out into the streets of NYC to buy his own lunch for the first time. He travels all over the city on the weekends with his friends and rarely has enough money to treat himself to a hamburger or a movie. We are all ready for that to change.
I have been giving him $5 a day for lunch. That is $100 a month. An additional $100, which we have discussed is a $25-week allowance (in exchange for some household chores), brought us up to the $200 we give him every month. We will see how week one goes; will he spend all $200 right away and have to eat in the school cafeteria for the next three weeks? He may learn some tough lessons quickly!
I don’t want my son to have cash. That is too easy to spend. I also did not want to teach these lessons to Paul with a debit card because it links to my bank account, and then he might use that to get cash.
It can be awkward when your teen is the only one who never has money to join his friends for a movie without checking in with his parents. As an Additional Card Member, Paul has more freedom to make these choices while hanging around with friends. And while I would rather he never go anywhere without us, I do know he has to practice being independent (with my tutelage).
I am happy that we can teach our teen how to use money wisely: knowing how to budget is an important skill for everyone. I am also grateful that he now has a credit card for emergencies that helps me stay saner when he is out during the day, all day, all over New York City! Learn more about how to add your teen to your account as an Additional Card Member here: https://amex.co/2OfZETw