How old is old enough? When it comes to their first job, a new Harris Poll says kids are ready to start earning by the time they’re 15 and a half. If your teen is chomping at the bit to bring home their first paycheck this is bittersweet moment in your life. They’re not your baby anymore, but neither are they an experienced adult. They still need a little help with managing their money responsibly, and you can be the one to provide it. Here are some ideas to help your kids establish good money habits that will help them with the rest of their lives.
Tip #1: Talk About How They Can Earn Money
Having a job and earning money is a part of life — but it’s not just for grownups. A recent survey conducted by Citigroup and Seventeen revealed four out of five students have a part-time job, averaging about 19 hours each week during the school year.
A part-time job is a great way for your teen to learn about accountability as they take on tasks and answer to a boss who isn’t you. More importantly, it gives them spending money that they can use as they see fit. This will help take some of the burden off your finances when they can use their paycheck to cover things like snacks, movie tickets, or a new phone.
Most employers hiring teens understand that they won’t have a lot of experience (if any) to fall back on. You can help them brainstorm roles that would best suit their abilities. Fast food and retail are two popular options for teens, but they may also have an opportunity to coach with a local sports team, babysit, or work for the city. Once they have a list of places where they’d like to apply, you can help them by taking them to the mall with a stack of resumes.
Tip #2: Talk About What They Can Do with Their Money
Once they start bringing home a regular paycheck, they have to learn how to manage their money. Learning this is a critical step for your teen’s financial independence.
Despite their belief in the contrary, they don’t know everything there is to know about money management. Even most adults don’t! You need to help them recognize what responsible financial planning involves, so they’re better prepared for the day they leave your home.
At the beginning, the thrill of having their own money can push them into spending it unwisely. They may spend everything they earn on fancy coffees, makeup, video games, and other things on their wish list.
Ultimately, it’s their money to spend or save as they wish, but you should stress the importance of forethought. Talk to them about how a budget balances fun spending with long-term goals. Setting goals can help give purpose to their spending — and their saving. They’ll find it easier to say no to splurges if they know their savings will go towards college, their own car, or a school trip
Tip #3: Share with Them the Tools They Need
A goal is a great first step, but it isn’t always enough. Your teen might need more structure to their spending than just a vague college fund. This is the perfect time to talk about the budget. A household budget is a helpful tool when they want to achieve the goals they’ve set.
Help them track their spending — down to the last penny. Once they’ve categorized every penny spent, they’ll have a better understanding of how they spend their money. This exercise may expose them as a spender. Here, they have a luxury that independent homeowners don’t share. If they spend all their paycheck on unnecessary items, they won’t have any cash leftover for savings. But as they’re parent, you’re still meeting their essential needs by proving shelter, clothes, and food.
In a similar situation, independent adults may not have family who can help them cover these essential costs. When their finances are stretched to the limit and still come up short, these adults need to rely on alternative support systems, like the online loans from MoneyKey. Fast-acting online payday loans are more convenient to access than traditional personal loans from the bank, making them ideal in times of urgency. To find out how else these loans differ from conventional assistance, visit MoneyKey today and discuss these differences with your child. They need to know how their spending habits have an effect now and later in life.
Tip #4: Be Honest with Them
You can use your own household budget as an example. Don’t let financial issues like debt stop you from sharing it; how you spend your money can be a teachable moment. Perhaps in the past year, you spent too much on unnecessary items for the household. These purchases limited what you could save, so when your furnace broke down unexpectedly, you had to rely on a short term loan to pay for its repair.
Explain why your spending habits forced you to get that loan and share why you chose that particular loan over others. You can use this example as a springboard to talk about other kinds of loans that they’ll encounter. Talk to them about APR, compound interest, and other details of the typical loan terms and conditions, so they’re better prepared for when they have to take out a student loan, auto loan, or personal loan for themselves.
Emphasize the importance of paying themselves first. While there’s nothing wrong with buying the latest Pixel or buying a new pair of sneakers, it can be irresponsible if they’ve already committed this money to other responsibilities. At their age, they won’t have bills, but they do have savings. Explain to them that they should contribute to these savings first as soon as they’re paid, so they won’t be tempted to use up all their cash on fun stuff.
The bottom line is that you should give them a bit of guidance while they search out their first job. Though they may not want to hear what you have to say, they’ll come to appreciate your lessons later when they’re an adult on their own.