Your Teen’s First Job
“Hey mom! Can I get a job this summer?” While this was music to my ears, I quickly realized my daughter is spreading her wings, looking for more independence but there were several things I needed to do to help her prepare. Here are some things to consider:
Help your child prepare a resume that references experiences, accomplishments and skills. Even if they do not use this for their first job, it helps them recognize the value of their contributions and engagement, as well as acknowledge their strengths. Check with their school to find resources to help.
It is important to prepare your child for various questions they may be asked during an interview, how to handle questions they may not expect as well as teach them how to present themselves confidently. Help them understand how to dress appropriately for an interview and the importance of sending a thank you note after the interview to express appreciation for the opportunity.
Talk to your child about what professional behavior and communication really means. You may want to involve some of your family and friends and create role playing situations so your child can practice their communication skills and learn how to leave a positive impression. Providing them with some constructive critique can help them grow and develop resilience they will need in the workplace.
What are their dreams and what do they want to do in the future? Will the job they are looking at help them meet that goal? Even if they do not get the position they want, help them see the valuable skills they can learn in another position, and how they can apply those skills in the future. This will help them stay motivated to develop a strong work ethic and not give up if they do not get the job they want right away.
Help them develop good financial habits by assisting them in making a financial plan for their upcoming paychecks. This includes setting up a budget and tracking system so they can see where their money is going. Consider opening a high school checking account as well as one or two savings accounts. Help them identify short-term savings goals versus long-term savings goals, and a plan on how much will be put away for each one. You may also want to consider opening a Roth IRA for your child to start compounding interest early in their life.
While one of your child’s goals may be to save for college, you will need to consider how their part-time income and savings may affect obtaining financial aid in the future.
This is a good opportunity to teach your child about the taxes taken out of their paychecks and what they are for. You will need to consider how these taxes will be handled and what the current income limits are for paying tax. If your child only has earned income and their employer deducted income taxes, a return will need to be filed.
Your teenager’s first job is an exciting milestone in their life, and with the right planning, you can help set them up to be financially responsible and successful in the future. Your financial planner is available to answer questions you may have as you assist your teenager with their first job!
Written By Lana Alvarez