Would your teens rather listen to you about budgeting, or Justin Bieber?
One of the difficulties that comes with celebrity culture is that, so often, our kids want to be like the rich and famous people they see on TV. So far, I’ve been fairly lucky because I’ve been raising my son to be a geek. At this juncture, he’s most concerned that he end up like Obi-Wan Kenobi as he appears in the?Clone Wars?series, or that he grow up to be like Spock.
I can deal with those role models. After all, my role model growing up was Batman.
However, I know that many like Justin Bieber. He’s huge. And he’s out there providing a little bit of budgeting advice for teens (and tweens and pre-teens and whatever).
Looking at the video, it doesn’t look so bad at all. He expresses the importance of saving up for what you want, and for budgeting. And he implies that he, rich though he is, budgets as well.
If you can’t get your teen to listen to you about budgeting, perhaps your kid will listen to Justin Bieber. “Hey look,” you can say, “Justin Bieber budgets. He knows the importance of saving up and spending wisely.”
Where things get a little suspect, though, is where he mentions the SpendSmart prepaid debit card.
SpendSmart Debit Card from Justin Bieber
The pop sensation, like so many celebrities in the past couple of years, is endorsing a prepaid debit card.
So, while Bieber’s advice is fairly sound — only spend the money you do have — the prepaid debit card is not so fabulous. As you might expect, there are fees. The fees aren’t egregious (they’re in line with other prepaid debit cards), but they are still there.
Unfortunately, this turn of events indicates that, while many celebrities talk the talk, and some may even walk the walk,?when it comes to financial responsibility, the reality is that these guys are often being paid to promote something. And that something might not actually be the best option for your finances.
This is the case with the SpendSmart card that Bieber is promoting. While you might not mind your teen learning that budgets are important?from Justin Bieber, you probably don’t want them clamoring for this prepaid debit card. Unless you want to use it as an example of how to shop around for the best deals with your money. Then you could have?them pay the fees, and see how it impacts their account. And then talk about what they should do to move their money to a better account.
In many states, it’s possible to open a joint checking account with your teen. Find out what the requirements are. And, even if you can’t open a joint checking account, there are prepaid debit cards out there that don’t charge all the same fees. Research your options before you jump on the Justin Bieber SpendSmart bandwagon.
He might be right about the importance of making good money decisions, but this prepaid debit card isn’t the best deal out there.
What do you think? Who would you let your kids learn about money from?