How an after School Job Helps your Teen Learn Money Management

Let’s face it. It sounds almost horrible to state the reality of our world today. Money seems to either directly or indirectly influence our lives on a daily basis more than perhaps any other entity within our lives. While we would love to pat ourselves on the back and delude ourselves into thinking that our morals, values, ethics, and spirituality are the solitary guiding forces in our lives, the truth of the matter is that it is perhaps our financial situations that weigh most heavily on day to day functioning.

Just pause for a moment and consider the infamously climbing divorce rates in America. It seems that no sooner do couples get married these days, they wind up separating. One of the number one reasons why so many relationships in our societies and communities fail, is none other than finances. It is quite sad that so many adults in our world today have not been taught money management at a young age so that they can more prosperously and wisely make preparations for a secure, stable, and successful future.

Throughout history, finances have sought to control the lives of individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities. They typically determine where we live, what we can do, and what we can experience. They can reflect upon our level of education, our means of transportation, and our health care. Frequently they determine our living conditions, our friends, our activities, and our interests. In other less complex words, without wise money management, investments, and savings techniques, an individual is virtually left with a severely reduced chance for a successful future, stable relationships, and security within a family setting.

Unfortunately, none of us suddenly wakes up one morning innately instilled and infused with the knowledge of how to manage money. It would be simply fantastic if life worked that way, but as luck would have it, money management is one of those concepts that is learned through acquired knowledge, practice, and patience. It therefore becomes almost paramount that children begin to learn about money at a young age. When children are instilled with common knowledge about money when they are younger, they are more likely to be successful in their teenage years when it comes time for them to begin to handle their own money responsibly.

And just how to teenagers continue to learn about money management? Wouldn’t it be absolutely darling to think that as teenagers our adolescents would heed to our warnings and advice and take them to heart? Unfortunately, along with puberty, however, comes the discovery of being stubborn. As a result, the very last people in the universe teens wish to take advice from is none other than good old mom and dad. They are far too cool, far too wise, and certainly far too knowledgeable to learn from their beat parents. You and I both know that parents know little to nothing. Therefore, it is usually wisest to guide teenagers to learn about money making, saving, management, and planning outside of the home, rather than in it! Not only does this make home life far more tolerable for parents, but it also allows teenagers the freedom to spread their wings and acquire knowledge from their external worlds in a fashion that is far more “dope” than within the realms of “home sweet home”. So correct me if I am incorrect in thinking that it seems quite beneficial for everyone in a household involved, if teenagers are permitted to, and encouraged to, get a job outside of the home to most adequately and appropriate learn about money and its many dynamics.

After school jobs benefit teenagers in countless ways. Firstly, they are required to advocate for themselves and their needs in order to withhold and secure a steady job. Lesson one in becoming an adult will be to sell yourself to an employer. Its never too early for teens to start becoming comfortable with interviewing and presenting themselves in a positive manner to members of their community. Secondly, teens who have after school jobs must maintain time management skills in order to successfully accomplish educational requirements and job requirements. Again, a little bit of early time management training never hurt even the best of us. Thirdly, if a teenager has to work hard to earn money, they are more likely to value money because they understand how hard it is to obtain. Most teens who begin working part time jobs during the school year are initially shocked to find out how much harder it is to earn money than to spend it! Prior to working this notion was truly quite foreign to them but now that they are able to participate in earning money, it becomes more meaningful. More often than not, they think more carefully about spending their hard earned dime and are less likely to splurge on trivial belongings. Rather, they tend to recognize the value of saving money for things that they really either need or want, causing them to practice that infamous virtue known as patience! Members of the adolescent communities who obtain after school jobs also become more exposed to the dynamics of working parents, families, and adults who, for instance, shop in stores and are paying customers. Continued contact with fellow community members (who are not mom and dad, especially) only further continues to support the notion of financial planning and awareness for teens. Teens who obtain jobs also tend to be more at ease in terms of dealing with money. They are more organized and better prepared to manage their own finances when they have had previous experience managing someone else’s. You know the good old saying, “practice makes perfect”? It certainly applies to teenagers and finances.

Although America is currently in what is considered by most, to be a severe economic slump, there are still groups and subgroups that continue to spend money and keep those famous large stores and billionaire owners in business. No, it is not the moms and dad’s who are trying to work two jobs, pay for educations, and somehow pay for diapers and grocery bills each week. No, its not the elderly who are living off of their retirement and enjoying the luxuries of working so hard for fifty years. Its the teenagers. It is the teenagers who continuously have money in our society. In all honesty, they come up with enough loot that they could probably basically keep the world turning if the rest of us died out. It is the teens who keep the clothing industry booming even-though clothing is marked up by more than an estimated two hundred percent what it costs to manufacture. It is the teens that have money to put towards nearly one hundred dollar video games, designer purses, and clothing for their miniature poodles. Teenagers are the ones who sport around town in their convertible cars, eat out at restaurants, and enjoy manicures and pedicures as a way of obtaining the ultimate relaxation. Where, one may wonder, do teens get all of this money? The answer? Mom and Dad give it to them! In other words, we live in a society where parents work hard for their money, plan to devote a certain amount to bills, a certain amount to the mortgage, a certain amount towards household maintenance and cars, and a certain amount towards generalized spending. Who does that generalized spending money benefit? You got it! Sixteen year old Johnny and fourteen year old Suzy are the recipients of Mom and Dad’s hard earned buck so that they can to go the movies, indulge in ice cream, put gas in their car, and rock the latest fashions with their friends.

Don’t sweat! Parents who are fed up with having a little Johnny and Suzy in their house do have options. While little Johnny and Suzy’s may look really fantab in their plush and dynamic clothing, they are exact examples of what is wrong with teens today. For this reason, parents need to take action. They must remain vigilant over their teens and ensure that they are learning good money management skills both inside and outside of the home. The following steps are quite simple ways that parents can take a proactive role in ensuring that their teen becomes not only familiar with the value of money, but also how to save it, how to create savings plans, and how to plan for the future.

1. The first and most important thing for teens to do is create a resume and get a job
which will provide them with a stable salary outside of the home. Parents should
encourage their teens to find jobs that interest them. The more interesting they find
their jobs, the more likely they are to stick with it, appreciate the money they earn,
and learn about not only the facts of life, but about business dynamics as well.
2. Next, parents should arrange five jars within the home setting. The jars should be
clear and should have a single piece of masking tape placed around them. They must be
placed in a setting that belongs to your teenager, such as a bedroom or even a private
homework office.
3. Parents should now sit down with their teen and write on the masking tape on each jar.
4. The first jar should be labeled “Me”. This jar will hold money made by your teenager
that is for him or her to spend on things they want to do or things they want to buy.
(Incidentally, this jar is usually the least favorite of parents, and the most popular
with the teenagers themselves!)
5. The second jar should be labeled “Bank Account/ Savings”. The money your teen places
in this jar will strictly be put away towards their future and will not be spent on
anything immediately. By putting this money in a bank account, teens should understand
that they will make more money because of interest. Assertive parents may take this
opportunity to help their teen pick out a suitable bank or bank account and expand
this whole money management learning system even farther.
6. The third jar should be labeled, “Community”. This jar will hold money that a teenager
has made that will be donated to a charity or noble cause of their choice. Perhaps
through their work experience, a particular teen has met a customer with Cancer and
wants to donate it towards Cancer Research. Perhaps they have a friend with Leukemia
and they would like to support that cause with their hard earned money. Parents should
not only assist teens in arriving at a cause to which they would contribute, but they
should also help the teenager at hand determine why it is important to give back to
one’s community.
7. The fourth jar is for everyone’s least favorite topic of conversation. Yes, this jar
should be clearly labeled, “taxes”. You and I have to pay taxes on our salaries and so
too should teenagers. Parents may take this opportunity to welcome their son or daughter
into the great big warm and welcoming arms of Uncle Sam and give them a few pointers
on just how exactly our government works.
9. The fifth jar should be labeled, “education”. In this jar, teens may set aside money
so that they may continue their education or learning. If a particular teenager does not
wish to embark upon a traditional college education, that is fine. They can certainly
still save money for a trade school, cooking class, arts and crafts program, or self
defense course that they will take down the road. Here, parents are encouraged to
help their teen create and formulate goals for furthering their knowledge and broadening
their horizons down the road. While teens do not have to have their lives completely
planned or mapped out at this point in their lives, it is never too hard to be
thinking ahead!
10. Now, parents should instruct their teenager to, using a calculator, divide each pay
check into five different parts and place the different amounts in each jar. Parents
should consider themselves pre-warned. It is at this point in time that teens rapidly
will begin to complain about how fast their money is going between all five of those
jars! Parents are encouraged to discuss how they feel the same way with their own
paychecks and relate to their child. It is now that a point of commonality can be
reached calmly and effectively between the two parties.

It is paramount to consider that the younger a person is, the more flexible and open their minds will inevitably be. It is a basic law of our basic human nature. The older we become,
the more fixated, stubborn, and rigid we get. It sounds bad, and it probably is. For this reason, it is most beneficial for teenagers to begin learning about money management during their younger years. Not only will they generate some semblance of savings for their future, but they will come to learn about money. They will come to gain an appreciation for it, and respect it for what it is worth. Teens who obtain jobs outside of the home benefit from learning a certain trade, gaining contacts and connections within the community, and learning to communicate effectively with others. They become able to take directions from an employer, complete tasks upon command, and maintain organizational skills. Furthermore, when parents become involved in helping teens manage what they make at their outside jobs, on the home-front, a united force exists between the family and the work force. Now, a teenager is learning the value of money both inside the home and outside of it. Stability and consistency is then obtained within the adolescent, as they seek to understand the views and experiences of not only people with whom they connect with on the job, but also Mom and Dad too! It is at this point in time, that teens are clearly most armed to make wise choices, set reasonable goals for themselves, gain an increased level of self-confidence, and enjoy the benefits of making money for both the present and the future!