Prom Night: Your Kids’ $1,000 Lesson On How To Spend Money

Dresses, tux, tickets and that traditional corsage don’t come cheap. The average prom costs over $919 on average.

It’s hard to believe that the price tag for this teen rite of passage is almost a grand.

And here’s the oddest thing about it. The wealthiest families spend the least on prom, coughing up only $818 on average.

The poorest families, those defined as making less than $25,000 a year, spent $1,393 on prom.

Not sure how you feel about it, but I’m a little bit horrified by all this. (Sorry, it must be the financial planner in me!).

Nat Sillin, head of U.S. financial education at Visa, who researched annual prom costs for the company, seems to agree. “It’s still a lot of money for a high school dance,” he confessed. “We were shocked at the number, frankly.”

The Takeaway: One of the best things about having money to spend is that you get to decide how to spend it. What matters to you may not matter to me, but my job, as a financial planner, is to help you define what you want to do with your money, and make smart choices so your dreams can come alive.

That said, if your kids are prom age, I do recommend setting some limits and making a budget. There’s enormous pressure put on parents to just go along with what all the other kids are doing. If you don’t buy into that, you’ll encounter a fair amount of flack (especially in affluent communities like the one we live in), but realize that your job as a parent is to teach your kids to make intelligent money choices, use their financial resources wisely, and understand that – like the Rolling Stones said – they can’t always get what they want. Important life lessons that they’ll thank you for later (well, maybe)… lots of luck, parents!

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ and President of Adam Financial Associates Inc, has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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