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Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2008

Use teen’s summer job to teach savings lessons

June 5, 2008

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If your teenager hasn't already secured a summer job, he or she may find the employment possibilities limited this season.

The market for summer jobs nationwide is going to be dismal, according to a study released by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

But joblessness among teens could have one bright side: Although teens may learn some valuable workplace skills on the job, they also often pick up some bad money habits.

If teens do find a job, parents need to use this early work experience to teach them about money management or the extra cash might be spent recklessly. Far too often summer paychecks allow teens to indulge in wanton consumerism. They get their paycheck and it is all play money to them.

If your teen is working, how much of the paycheck is earmarked for college savings, for example?

Whether you find your teen is ready to work or is able to get a summer job, follow these tips to help him or her better manage the income:

¢ Consider setting up a joint bank account, or at least be sure you get a duplicate copy of your teen's bank account statements. And review spending habits with your child when the statements arrive.

¢ Make the teen do a budget, and review it.

¢ Establish ground rules for how earnings will be used. For example, if your child is planning to attend college, make sure he or she is saving a significant percentage of their pay toward education expenses.

¢ Talk to your child about how he or she is spending money not earmarked for savings.

Here is where you can allow freedom to spend but discuss how to make smart shopping choices.

¢ Don't allow your employed teen to get a credit card (or use yours). There's plenty of time for a young person to learn to use credit. Instead, let them figure out how to get what they want using cash.

You may get some pushback from some of these rules, but you're the parent. Don't miss an opportunity to show your teen the right way to manage money from summer earnings.

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