Summer Jobs and the $1.1 Million Connection
Summers Jobs and the $1.1 Million Connection
1.1 million dollars and a summer job connection? Yes, it’s true! According to the Schwab Center for Financial Research, a couple retiring at age 65, who want an annual income of $44,000 (for 30 years), will need a whopping $1.1 million dollars in their investment account.(1) Now that’s a reason for teens to get a summer job!
Unfortunately, teens being teens, the age of 65 is far too OLD to be relevant, and thus “retirement?” – well there’s plenty of time to worry about that – LATER. Nonetheless, helping teens understand the basics of money management, now – budgeting and the notion of saving, regardless of how small the paycheck – will help teens avoid the pitfalls of credit card debt, college loan debt or a crazy car or home loan that offers zero money down, low interest for 2 years with an adjustable that skyrockets to stratospheric monthly payments and ultimately repossession by the lender.
According to Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Schwab’s chief strategist of consumer education and president of Charles Schwab Foundation, parents are almost twice as likely to teach their children how to do the laundry than how to balance a checkbook.(2) There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is parents’ perception that teens just aren’t interested in learning about money management and it’s components – saving, investing and budgeting. Not to worry. They are. Schwab’s 2007 “Teens & Money” survey found that 60% of American teens identified learning about money management a top priority.(3) [Click here for survey highlights.] Additionally, Schwab-Pomerantz stated in her interview with Greg Morcroft of MarketWatch that focusing on four key areas will go a long way to securing a teen’s financial future; lessons she was taught by her father, Charles Schwab:
1) “saving for a lifetime” – “paying yourself first” 10 % of whatever your income source (allowance, earnings, gifts) so that it becomes automatic,
2) a strong work ethic, starting at a young age to work for pay (paper routes, pet sitting, babysitting],
3) learning how to budget, and
4) learning how to use a credit card.(4)
Whether a parent or a teacher, helping students embrace money management ideals by giving them the tools to do it themselves is an invaluable life lesson. We often worry that not “helping” our teens financially keep up with their peers (like paying their gas or car insurance or cell phone bills or clothing extras) will somehow damage them. But, when we think about it, adults who’ve tried to “keep up with the Jones’s” have found themselves financially crippled. So perhaps the lesson is some kind of compromise (think allowance?). Charles Schwab’s Teens & Money 2007 Survey Findings provides a wealth of information and teaching tips for these kinds of discussions.
In keeping with this idea, here is a new twist on “how to budget” – a twist that can motivate a teen to want to get a summer job. Start with something her or she desperately wants as the “purchase goal.”
1. Determine how much the purchase goal will cost. If it’s an I-pod, that’s pretty straight-forward. If it’s a used car, have them do some online research to determine the price they’re willing to pay. Kelly Blue Book is a good start. There will also be ongoing car ownership costs, such as gas and insurance, but for now, the objective is to help them see how much they’ll have to earn in order to pay for it. Using a “Savings For a Goal Calculator,” such as this one by Bankrate.com, will help a student see how much and for how long they’ll need to save in order to reach their purchase goal.
2. To help them build a budget, now, so that they might actually achieve their purchase goal, use a budget calculator like BECUs, Budget Calculator for High School Students. This calculator includes the typical teen expenses, instead of the more adult-like expenses of the typical budget calculator, such as rent, rental insurance, childcare and the like.
A second lesson may be a comparison of credit card interest rates vs savings interest rates – just how much you have to save of your hard earned summer job paycheck in order to payoff one months’ worth of credit card debt. Taking teens through a comparison of the two interest rates (savings interest of 5% vs a credit card interest charge of 19%) will help them see that charging beyond their ability to pay off their credit card debt monthly causes them to eat up any savings interest income they may have earned. [For your general information about the pros and cons of teen credit cards, read Liz Pullman Weston’s article, “Teach Your Teen How to Handle Credit Cards .”]
To help teens with the How To’s of finding a job, Career Kids offers a number of great products. For example, see our Get a Job: A Video Guide for Teens available on DVD or VHS. Please contact us if you would like help in finding a specific topic or format.
And, while they are thinking about it, encourage teens to check out these websites for job ideas:
SnagAJob: “the nation’s largest part-time and full-time hourly job site,” http://www.snagajob.com/.
GROOVEJOB.COM, www.groovejob.com. Type in your zip code (or the zip code of the area where you want to work) and find part time, student, teen and hourly jobs galore.
Cool Works®, http://www.coolworks.com/, posts seasonal jobs and careers “in some of the greatest places on Earth.” You can find summer or winter jobs at National Parks or in various summer camps or at ski resorts, ranches, theme parks, or tour companies.
Even though it may seem a stretch – summer jobs and the $1.1 million connection – take it from America’s teens:
- 93% believe that living within your means and having good money habits are important to being successful in life,
- 90% agree and like the feeling of earning and managing their own money, and
- 76% define success as not relying on others for money.(5)
(1) “Schwab ‘Parents & Money’ Survey Offers Prescription for Raising Financially Healthy Kids,” MarketWatch: March 26, 2008, http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/schwab-parents--money-survey/story.aspx?guid=%7B0743E9EA-BC8C-4574-AB87-3ABD7713D23E%7D
(2) Gregory Morcroft interview with Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, “Ten Mistakes Parents Make Teaching Kids About Money,” MarketWatch: March 26, 2008, http://video.marketwatch.com/m/19460973/top_mistakes_parents_make_teaching.htm?col=en-all-pod_mkw-ep&match=QUERY,KEYWORD=4
(3)“Schwab ‘Parents & Money’ Survey Offers Prescription for Raising Financially Healthy Kids,” MarketWatch: March 26, 2008, http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/schwab-parents--money-survey/story.aspx?guid=%7B0743E9EA-BC8C-4574-AB87-3ABD7713D23E%7D
(4) Gregory Morcroft interview with Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, “Ten Mistakes Parents Make Teaching Kids About Money,” MarketWatch: March 26, 2008, http://video.marketwatch.com/m/19460973/top_mistakes_parents_make_teaching.htm?col=en-all-pod_mkw-ep&match=QUERY,KEYWORD=4
(5) Excerpts from “Charles Schwab Teens & Money 2007 Survey Findings,” http://www.aboutschwab.com/teensurvey2007.pdf