The Force Awakens: Your Teen is Going to the Mall

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The Force Awakens: Your Teen is Going to the Mall

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It’s one of those things you’ve been dreading all of your adult life.

You’ve scrimped and saved, made deals with devils, and reached out to friends far and wide for help: Your teenager is going to the mall without you.

But instead of viewing Johnny’s or Jane’s first solo expedition into the world of boutique electronic stores and eyebrow-piercing salons as a bad thing, realize that there is also reason to be optimistic.

According to Piper Jaffray, an investment bank that researches the spending habits of young people, teens are using their buying power wisely; they are researching products online and visiting brick and mortar stores in person to get a sense of the product before they order it.

Another trend Piper Jaffray uncovered is a rise in spending on higher quality food, which is encouraged by eateries offering free wifi. We’ve all seen teens camped out at Starbucks, typing away mercilessly while charging their devices and using wifi to send tweets and vines to their friends sitting right next to them. Some other things the researchers found include:

  • The average teen spends $104 per week.
  • Teens are conscious of price and seek out good deals.
  • Teens have made movie theaters the new “anchor stores” in American malls.
  • Girls shop “recreationally” while boys tend to find what they want quickly and be done.

That being said, it’s probably a good idea to establish some best practices for your little consumers, like:

  • having them open bank accounts;
  • requiring them to get jobs;
  • establishing a budget for their mall habit;
  • encouraging them to spend with cash; or, alternatively,
  • tracking their spending by making them authorized users of your debit or credit card (with limits!).

Young people today get a bad rap. I have found that they are generally not the irresponsible spending monsters that the media makes them out to be. With a little guidance and firm limits, I predict that today’s teenagers will turn out to be fine, fiscally responsible adults—perhaps with better spending habits than us!

Have you talked to your teen about consumerism?

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