By Taylor Kovar
Hi Taylor - I’m trying to convince my two boys - 14 and 16 years old - that time is money. Whenever I say that, we get into frustrating, teenage arguments over semantics and they go back to playing video games. How do I fix this problem while they’re still young? - Deanne
Hey Deanne - Getting teenage boys to care about money is one of life’s great challenges (sorry, Mom and Dad!). It’s going to be an uphill battle, but you should think of ways to show them instead of telling them. One of the ways to do this is to actually make their time more valuable, through an allowance or another sort of rewards system.
No one is going to believe that their time has monetary value until you prove that to be true. This is a little easier with adults, as an hourly wage is proof that an eight-hour workday equals X number of dollars. With a teenager who might not be working yet, or who just works seasonal jobs and doesn’t have to stay motivated year round, you have to draw the line between time and money for them.
If you already offer an allowance, make sure your boys are earning it. Instead of paying for chores that are poorly done, pay for a task that’s accomplished well. They’ll want to finish the job as quickly as possible, so you have to set the standard for good work. As they find ways to get chores done right and fast, they’ll start to discover the importance of efficiency, which is at the core of valuing one’s time.
Beyond bribing, makie them care about long-term goals. Any time they talk about wanting a fancy car or a new gaming console, break down how many hours it would take to earn the money needed to buy that item. Give examples of how the money could be earned, through a regular job or by collecting and recylcing cans and bottles. When they connect the dots between working, earning and buying cool stuff, they’ll start to see how using time wisely can result in getting what they want.
The biggest hurdle is often teaching responsibility. When we’re teenagers, we don’t want to take responsibility for much. Once we start to see that taking ownership of our time can produce good results, our habits change. Without becoming too much of an authoritarian, find ways to show your kids that taking smart action will produce the best outcome.
I’m not surprised the boys push back on a figurative statement like “time is money.” If you can find a way to show how quality use of time leads to increased earnings, you’ll probably start to make a little more headway. Good luck, Deanne!
Taylor J Kovar, CEO