Help teens balance responsibilities at school and work
Your teen's first job can be an excellent opportunity to save for college and learn the value of money. As a parent, you can help your child have a great experience by providing expert coaching tips. Here's what to discuss.
- Reinforce that school is priority No. 1. You and your teen should agree on how many hours a week to devote to a job. Doing well in high school leads to a good college education, and that college degree will enable your child to pursue a great career.
- Teach them to manage responsibilities. A teenager's first job offers them the chance to learn the importance of being punctual, working hard, respecting coworkers, and contributing as part of a team to a larger undertaking. Remind them that an eager and energetic attitude is important at any job.
- Nudge them toward the career of their dreams. Encourage your child to apply for a job in an area that interests them as a career. Running errands or answering phones in a doctor's office can be an opportunity for an aspiring medical student to learn by listening and watching. The experience can also enhance a college application and provide them with good references for future jobs.
- Prepare your teen for the job interview. Teens should research the organization ahead of time, know why they want to work there, and be able to explain how their personal skills and experience with volunteering and extra-curricular activities makes them a good candidate.
Here are five potential interview questions you can practice with your teenager:
1. What interests you about this position?
2. Are you a team player?
3. Why should we hire you?
4. What school activities do you participate in?
5. Describe what customer service means to you.
Teen Job Tip
Younger teens can earn extra money by offering their services to neighbors. Try babysitting, dog walking, yard maintenance, cleaning garages and attics, car detailing, catering, painting, building websites, or computer tutoring.
- Establish a budget. The purpose of your teen's first job is not just to gain experience and earn money; it's just as important to learn how to handle that income. New clothes, video games, and tech gadgets are popular, but these purchases should be managed. The Bank of America Ultimate Money Skills website has tools that can help you and your teen to discuss saving, spending and budgeting.
- Set savings expectations. Parents should encourage teens to save a portion of their earnings for college. Do your research, and have an open conversation about current college expenses, including tuition, books and supplies. Use these figures to determine an amount that your teen should save each month towards these costs. If the employer offers direct deposit, encourage your teen to have paychecks deposited into a checking account. Also discuss setting up monthly or quarterly automatic transfers into a student savings account.
When it's time to start college, your teen will be grateful for the savings, as well as all the lessons they've learned while holding down a job.
What's next? Teaching your kids about money