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Teen Article: The Value of Earning Your Own Money8/28/2017

Lessons Learned from a First Job

Robert Hanisee

I'm 14 years old, and while most of my friends slept late over the summer, I decided to get my first job. I was tired of asking my parents for money all the time, and I think they were tired of me asking. So I decided I was ready to take the next step towards financial freedom.

It all started with a chance encounter with the manager of a tennis club. I mentioned I was looking for a summer job, and they coincidentally were hiring someone to do maintenance and odd jobs at the tennis facility. Within a few weeks I was hired, and in no time I had earned my first paycheck.

The day I got my first paycheck was the day we decided to open a checking and saving account. After receiving my first debit card, I was overwhelmed with excitement! My parents and I had a conversation about spending money wisely, so I decided to split every penny I earned into two accounts – one labeled “Spend That!” and the other “Save That!” My goal is to buy a car once I have my full driver’s license. After about a month on the job, I already had saved a couple hundred dollars in each account.

I’ve learned some things from this experience. First, you’ll be more motivated to save money for a rainy day when you also have a long-term goal, like the car I want to buy. Second, you’re not going to get that big paycheck without hard hours over a lot of time. Finally, and most important: Money doesn’t go as far as you think it will.

I have worked out a little system in my head: Let’s say you work for three hours, earning about $20. You spot that really cool item for $20, but take a moment to really think about it. Is this item really worth three hours of work? Will I regret purchasing this after a week? How will this impact my “Spend That!” or “Save That!” account?

When you work hard for your own money, you realize that some of the things you might buy with your parents’ money may not make the cut when you think about spending your own money. And, hey, every dollar I add to my “Save That!” account is one step closer to my purple Lamborghini!

By Robert Hanisee, SLFCU Teen Member

Teens Can Get $100

SLFCU members age 13-17 are invited to submit an article on a financial topic to be considered for publication in our Dollars & Sense newsletter and on our website. SLFCU will award teens $100 for published articles. Click here for details and to submit an article. SLFCU will review all submissions and respond within 30 days.

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