Adolescent Banking Tips
February 5, 2018
The banking practices of a six-year old are quite simple. Finding quarters on the sidewalk equals hoarding quarters in a pillow case, an old tuna jar, or the bathroom drawer. The banking practices of a fifty-year old, though considerably more complex, are almost as well defined. For the astute researcher, there is a myriad of information about IRAs, 401(k)s, retirement plans, social security planning, home equity, low-risk investment, etc. However, adolescents traverse a tricky field; they don’t have $10,000 to invest in blue-chip equities, but they have considerably more than eleven nickels they pocketed from their older sister. With enough information, however, an adolescent is more than capable of creating an action-oriented financial plan that does more than keep the nickels and dimes safe – it becomes an introduction to the more complex but ultimately more rewarding world of adult finance.
Don’t Be a Lazy Bum.
A balance should be struck between sweat-shop labor and habitual laziness, where inactivity is tempered only by slurping soda or switching channels. Adolescence is simply the best opportunity for maturing children to learn responsibility, finances and time management. After adolescence, a job becomes a necessarily lifeline. It’s no longer of question of funds for parties, movies, or treats – it’s a choice between housing and homelessness. This pressure is not present for an adolescent. Life lessons can be learned without the drains of financial needs. Most importantly, part-time employment teaches responsibility and personal management, as well as imparting self-esteem. Young adults learn to contribute to society, while making personal gains.
Which jobs are best for teenagers? Be creative – sadly, many teenage jobs require no intellect, no enthusiasm and no talent. However, there are several welcome opportunities encouraging independence and entrepreneurship. For girls, try baby-sitting. For guys, try lawn-care and home maintenance. Fan the creative flame – if the teenager is an artist or a performer, transform that artistic energy into a cash-making enterprise. Don’t be a lazy bum – engage, learn, and grow.
My Sock Is Too Small
It’s a happy day when the hard-gained sums of cash and dollar bills overflow the sock bank. This is the great transition from childhood to adolescence; now, what to do with all that money? Banks are the saviors of overfilled socks, coin jars, and other assorted storage containers. This is for two reasons: first, they provide monetary security. With very exceptions, banks are the safest places to keep your money. With the ever-flowing international river of credit, assorted contracts, and incredible quantity of money floating around, the days of banks suddenly “going under” are long-gone. With that said, some banks are better than others. Choose institutions that have been around for a while and also review customer satisfaction. In addition, banks will generally specialize in certain areas – cash loans, equities, real estate investment, etc. Find a bank that specializes in a reliable field. Most importantly, choose one with lots of money. Then select the best type of account. For individuals with less than ten thousand dollars, the practical options are limited. First, there is a basic savings account. This, in terms of investment, is nearly worthless. Rarely even matching inflation rates, savings accounts will rarely breach 2% annual interest. They are a proper choice for a mere introduction to the banking system, but look for ways to improve your money management. Second, check out CDs (Certificate of Deposits). Although not the choice if you plan on withdrawing funds often (a pre-mature withdrawal typically entails loss of all interest gained over a specified period), they can be a great way to turn compound interest to your advantage. For many teens, who want easy access to cash but also want to be able to make money through interest, consider a dynamic duo: a savings account (or a checking account) and a three to six month CD. Third, for more aspiring (a.k.a. richer) adolescents, consider instituting an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) or even an investment portfolio – although, if you’re under eighteen, parents will set to set up an overseer account. There are several programs set designed to specifically address equity or bond investment for teens with low amounts of cash but high amounts of curiosity.
Save Smart, Live Happy
Living frugally does not mean going with wants or desires. In fact, in the long run, saving smart allows you to purchase what you really want. A Snickers bar may look quite delectable at ten o’clock at night, but a bass guitar looks fantastic for years. Financial management doesn’t simply mean how to earn money; it also entails how to save and spend money. For many teens, especially pre-teens and young adolescents, these lessons may be new and unfamiliar. Parental supervision in these instances is not inappropriate interference but necessary direction.
So what are the key methods of saving smart and living happy? Take time and consider every purchase. A good rule of thumb is don’t buy what you hadn’t planned to buy. When evaluating a purchase, consider its long-term importance and enjoyment. A $10 football can give much more enjoyment than $10 worth of donuts and bagels. Prioritize: what is needed, what is wanted, and what is really wanted? And don’t be stingy – treat yourself occasionally to an exciting movie, tasty pizza, or eye-turning pair of jeans. The secret to financial happiness is simple: save lots, prioritize, spend little.
Adolescent banking and finance doesn’t have to be confusing. When pursued in a proper manner, it is well worth the time and effort. The teenage years are a phenomenal opportunity to develop character, financial management, and a sizeable personal piggy bank. It is time to put those quarters – and the sock – to some good use.