What summer jobs have you done? Why did you choose those jobs? I have worked many summer jobs over the years to save and pay off debt. This type of seasonal work is important to our economy, and it has important personal financial effects on youth and their families.
July is the summertime peak for youth employment and these opportunities help them to gain experience, build confidence, and earn money. These types of rewards have long-term effects on their overall financial well-being. So, how do you (e.g. parents, caregivers, or grandparents) help youth who are earning their own money develop healthy financial behaviors?
- It is important to start by exploring who you are with money and examine the best approaches you have taken to manage your income and expenses. Even though you may have had challenges in our pasts and current blind spots with money management, working with your youth to help them organize their finances (no matter how small) is important. For example, creating a list of needs vs. wants is an important step in that direction.
- If you struggle with saving and overall financial management, you also can start by making changes together. For instance, if you have direct deposit set up for your personal accounts, but you do not arrange automatic savings; those are two things to start the conversation with your teens. Depending on developmental age, talk with them about some of the barriers you have experienced and the multiple benefits of saving (e.g. unexpected expenses and fulfilling goals).
- Explore ways to help them save for the future and not just the present (e.g. buying the latest smartphone or tablet). If your family budget allows you to do so, you can create fun saving games with your youth. This could be a part of your overall saving goals for them. Have them save while you are setting money aside for them. Researchers found that youth with accounts that include school saving, and youth with parents who save for them are more likely to graduate college. Even a small amount of saving is associated with positive educational outcomes.
- Think about more strategies that you can use to teach them about money and effective ways to save. Help them establish regular savings accounts and learn about the interest rates associated with this type of account.
- When youth have a plan, they are more likely to move toward their saving goal.
- When youth set up direct deposit (if available through an employer) and save automatically to an account, they are developing positive savings behaviors.
Summer employment has a number of benefits for youth. It also provides opportunities for families to reestablish saving goals and to help build lifelong positive money behavior in youth.