Helpful Money Responsibility Tips
We know that teenagers are more likely to make smart decisions affecting their finances and future if they understand how to manage and save their money. Saving is not as much fun as spending, but it’s still important to do. Since teens are becoming more responsible for handling money and making simple purchase decisions, like paying for college or buying a car, it’s important they understand how to make good decisions about their money. Teens & Money is designed to assist parents with simple ways to educate their teens on the basics of responsible money management, including budgeting, college costs, buying a car, and more!
As teens define their goals and develop an action plan to reach them, putting that plan into action is what good financial planning is all about. This includes all aspects of your money: spending, credit, savings, and investments. With solid financial planning, your teen can live a better, more secure, life versus someone without good financial planning, living pay period to pay period.
Saving Money Simple Tips
Savings can be known as paying yourself. It is money that you put in a personal savings account for future income, benefits, or profits to meet long-term goals. When you put your money into a savings account you earn interest on the money in your account. The earlier you save, the more interest you will earn.
Here’s an example of how starting to save at an early age really pays off!
- Bob and Jane both save $1,000 per year ($83.33 per month or $19.22 per week) and earn 10% interest per year. Jane starts at age 12 and stops at age 20. Bob starts at age 20 and stops at age 55. At age 55 Jane has invested $8,000 and now has $388,865 while Bob has invested $35,000 and only has $329,039. Bob never caught up!
If your expenses are more than your income develop a plan to reduce your costs: Cut any unnecessary spending, eat out less, cut back on expensive entertainment, carpool, avoid impulse buys, look at your needs versus your wants, use coupons and purchase generic products. What other ideas can you come up with?
College may be the first time you have to take responsibility for managing your money. This includes saving and paying for the things you need and want, creating a budget, and establishing credit. In order to afford college and the opportunities that come with it, some of you may decide to get a job.
- A savings account should be used to deposit money that is not needed for your basic living expenses.
- An easy way to start saving money and earning interest.
- Keeping money in your savings account is safer than carrying it in your wallet.
- Understand the terms of your account, including transaction limits, balance requirements, and fees.
- A checking account should be used for most of your day-to-day expenses and activities.
- Payments and purchases can be made from your account by using debit cards, checks, and online banking.
- Cash may be accessed at ATMs or at merchants that provide cash back on purchase transactions.
- Monthly statements will be sent to you in order to balance your account.
- Understand the terms of your account, including balance requirements, daily debit card limits, and fees.
Preparing For College
- Attending college presents a big challenge. This new environment challenges your teen to handle their own finances. The cost of attending school has a major impact on a teen and his family.
- Private School - $30,000 – 50,000 a year
- State School (non-resident) - $17,000 – 20,000 a year
- State School (resident) $11,000 – 15,000 a year
- *Amounts stated are examples of potential costs not true education costs.
Scholarships are monies awarded to you through an application process provided you meet the designated criteria. These are typically rewarded to the recipients in a single, lump sum payment that doesn’t need to be paid back. Check with your school college preparation department to see what scholarship opportunities are available to you. It’s not too early to begin researching your options during your junior year of high school.
Improve your chances of being awarded scholarships by maintaining good grades, achieving high test scores, participating in athletics, volunteering in your community, aligning with groups who award scholarships based on ethnic background, religion, displaying academic discipline and staying focused on your field of future study.
Grants are financial rewards that do not need to be repaid and typically come from state or federal sources. They are usually based on financial need. Learn more about financial aid to help you pay your college tuition at fafsa.ed.gov, and explore state specific financial aid websites with helpful information.
You or your parents can often obtain financial assistance by borrowing money to assist with paying your college expenses. These loans must be paid back over time with interest. Some educational loans don't require repayment until after you are no longer attending school.
“Work Study” is another way to assist you in paying for your college tuition. There are often certain jobs designated on college campuses solely for work study candidates. Qualifying for work study is based on financial need. If you qualify, this might be an option for you to gain employment. Some schools will also provide work study opportunities for government positions and employment with non-profit organizations. Be sure to inquire with your on-campus career center to see what positions are designated for work study and how you should apply for these.
Credit Cards are convenient, easy to use, and provide the ability to buy now and pay later. But using a personal credit card means you have been loaned money to make your purchase and that money has to be repaid. If used appropriately, credit cards can help you establish good credit, which will provide you access to financial resources for major purchases in the future.
Credit Card Tips
- Be smart and prudently manage your debt.
- Pay your bill on time.
- Read the card agreement carefully.
- Keep track of your purchases and avoid large impulse buys.
- Don’t use a cash advance to pay for normal, daily expenses or to make a payment on another card.
- Never borrow more than 20% of your annual net income.
- Don't let your monthly card payments be more than 10% of your monthly net income.
- Shop around for a card that suits your spending habits.
- If you’re able to pay in full each month, choose a card that offers a rewards program.
- When carrying a balance from month to month, choose a card with a generous ‘grace period’ (the amount of time before your payments are due) or a card with a low interest rate.
- Avoid unnecessary finance charges by paying your bill on time each month.
- By paying the minimum payment due each month, it will take longer to repay the debt and cost you more in interest charges. The amount you pay in interest and fees could exceed your original purchase amount.
- Avoid late payments as they may cause the interest rate to default to a significantly higher rate.
- Continued late payments may be reported to the 3 major credit bureaus as a sign that you have problems managing your finances.