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Financial Software for Teenagers? I Say Yes!

Considering I am a daily money manager, it won’t surprise you that teaching my daughter money skills is a high priority on my parenting to-do list. From an early age, my husband and I gave Gabrielle a weekly allowance. The purpose of the allowance, in addition to giving her pocket money, was to provide an opportunity for her to make money mistakes when the consequences were minor and to learn from those mistakes.

Eventually she started earning money from babysitting, pet sitting, odd jobs, and, this year, tutoring. There were also gifts from grandparents at birthdays and holidays. Eventually it was time to get the money out of Gabrielle’s bedroom and into a bank. I helped her open checking and savings accounts. She learned how to write checks, keep track of her debit purchases, view her transactions on line, and transfer money between her accounts.

Gabrielle also developed her own accounting method. I can’t tell you what it was exactly, but I do know it involved a vast spreadsheet and lots of time recording all of her transactions. As her homework load, social life, and number of paying gigs all increased, she complained about not having time to attend to her money. I suggested she try a financial software program which could potentially save her time. As Gabrielle will be heading off to college – and into greater independence – in another year, now seemed like a good time to show her a money tool she can use for life.

I purchased Quicken Starter Edition for her and spent a Sunday afternoon teaching her the program. This was actually fun. Having grown up with computers, Gabrielle was a quick study. She swiftly grasped categories and subcategories, transfers between accounts, and customizing each register. She loves downloading transactions from the bank and the quickness of data entry. And, she is having fun exploring the variety of reports and learning how to customize them.

Watching Gabrielle explore Quicken, I thought every teenager could benefit from learning a financial software program. Even when a teenager isn’t interested in tracking her spending, she most likely is quite computer literate. (Who taught you how to use your smart phone?) The programs and apps available now make recording transactions and paying attention to spending a snap. If a teen has some income and a bank account, now is a great opportunity to teach him a valuable skill.

In addition to Quicken, apps to consider include Mint, YNAB, Personal Capital, Mvelopes, and others. All can be used on a smart phone or tablet. Wherever the teen is, so is a picture of her available cash and recent spending.

Many of these programs include investment tracking. While most teens may not need this function at this point in their lives, the key features these apps offer are cash flow management and budgeting.

I recommend letting your teen choose which program to use. And let him make it his, separate from Mom and Dad.

Here are some articles that review the many personal software apps available:

The Best Personal Finance Software by Reviews.com.

The Best Personal Finance Software of 2017 by Top Ten Reviews.

The Best Personal Finance Services of 2017 by PC Magazine.

Top 5 Best Personal Finance Software Apps for Mac, Android, iPhone, Online, and Desktop by AdvisoryHQ.

Best Personal Finance Software by The Simple Dollar.

This blog is published to provide you with general information only, and is not intended to provide specific or comprehensive advice.  Money Care, LLC encourages individuals to seek advice from competent professionals when appropriate.