NEW YORK (4/16/08)--It’s likely there won’t be nearly as many “help wanted” signs, and that’s bad news for teens looking for part-time work this summer (MSNBC.com
March 24). The recent economic downturn is the culprit. In a survey of 1,100 companies released in late March by SnagAJob.com
, a job site for hourly positions, nearly half of hiring managers said they don’t have plans to hire seasonal workers this year. And teens are in for a particularly tough time given the increasing number of older workers and immigrants applying for jobs in the retail and food services industries. Good advice for teens who want to gain experience in a specific field: Don’t wait until the last minute to send out applications. For teens who are
successful in landing a job, Lin Standke, manager of youth programs at the Credit Union National Association advises parents to take advantage of the teachable moment and instill valuable lessons that help establish a good money management foundation:
* Learn the value of a dollar. Once a teen earns a paycheck, she’s less likely to take money for granted. Those $100 sneakers take on new meaning when she realizes she has to work 17 hours--at minimum wage--to pay for it. Show her those “wants” come with a higher price tag. * Take on responsibility. Learning to handle a job--as well as a paycheck--leads to increased self-confidence. * Decide who pays for what. Discuss what the teen is expected to pay for out of earnings, and what you--the parent--will pay for. For example, if you pay for car insurance, you might require your teen to pay for gasoline. * Develop a work ethic. The earlier a child starts to gain experience and get to the job on time as scheduled, the more natural it becomes, instilling a good work ethic for life. * Live within one’s means. Learning to spend less than you earn--as well as the value of saving a portion of each paycheck--are two of the best money-management lessons for any child or young adult.
Helping teens become financially literate is critical in any economic environment, but it’s particularly important given last week’s disappointing financial literacy survey results released by the Federal Reserve. High school seniors scored a failing grade in the survey, correctly answering only 48.3% of questions about personal finance and economics. These results show that the nation’s teens need to beef up their money skills sooner, rather than later, so they can compete in today’s tough economic climate.