Encouraging your teen to secure their first job is significant. It's an opportunity for them to contribute to expenses, gain independence, and acquire real-world experience. This initial job can shape their development and possibly guide their career path. As a parent, you can support them in this endeavor by offering guidance and resources.
As your teen prepares for their first job, they should consider several factors. They need to think about how to find the right job, manage their earnings, and learn to save. In the following, we guide these aspects to help your teen successfully navigate their entry into the workforce. While you can assist them in this process, the responsibility of job searching and financial management ultimately lies with them.
Finding the Right Fit
First, your teen must apply for and secure a job that aligns well with their abilities and interests. Not everyone is a match for every position, even at the entry level. Although finding a job that challenges your teen may seem beneficial, keep in mind that starting any job is a new and unfamiliar experience for them, naturally pushing them beyond their usual routines and environments.
Therefore, help them choose a job that matches their interests and strengths. If they're a people person, a server or cashier may be a good choice for them. However, stocking shelves at a grocery store could be great if they're shy and introverted. Or if they're athletic and love the outdoors, working as a lifeguard could suit them perfectly.
Whatever the job is, play to their strengths. While they don't have to love their first job, they shouldn't hate it either. Some level of positive engagement will set them up so they don't detest the idea of getting a career later in life.
Handling the First Paycheck
Do you remember the first time you received a paycheck and opened it eagerly to find that it was much less than you expected? You may have wondered what FICA is and what the deductions are on your paycheck. With this in mind, it may help to explain how paycheck deductions and taxes work so your teen can better understand how finances work.
Even with deductions, that first paycheck is probably the most money your teen has seen unless they're an avid saver. As those paychecks roll in, they may be over-eager to spend and buy things they never considered. It helps to know beforehand what kind of person your teenager is. Are they a big spender or a cautious saver?
If you want your teen to contribute to household bills, have a frank discussion with them. If not, you may want them to save towards their college fund. Whatever the case, they must learn how to budget and save.
Learning to Budget and Save
Even if you don't anticipate your teenager contributing financially to the family or their future, they must learn budgeting and saving skills. Actively teaching your teen these skills early on will equip them for financial success in later life.
However, teaching some teens this is challenging, so it'll take some work.
The first step is to help them open a bank account so they can set up direct deposit so paychecks go straight into their account. Then, you'll want to go over a budgeting plan with them. A common one is:
- 20% for debt repayments and savings
- 50% for things they need
- 30% for things they want
However, if your teen isn't paying any bills or owing any debts, they may want to adjust their plan. For example, suggesting they save 50% of their paycheck will help condition them to save in the future while guaranteeing a cushion for college and beyond. In addition, even with savings deductions, they'll still have a solid amount of spending money.
A first job is a big deal. With it comes your teen's first taste of financial independence. Ensure you're taking time to prepare them for their first job and paycheck so you can help set them up for success later in life. While convincing your teen to save can seem daunting, doing so is vital for their future.