Why Teens Should Get Off the Cell and Get a Job

Mar 1, 2016 by

Then, once they’ve got paying work, here’s what they must know

by Deirdre Reilly

One of the most important milestones in a teenager’s life is getting that first paying job.

Whether it’s babysitting, burger-flipping, or helping in Mom or Dad’s office over the summer, the experience teaches a young person to negotiate hours, work effectively with others and understand a paycheck and taxes. But how does it all start?

LifeZette, which has teamed up with the pros at Dave Ramsey to address your most pressing money issues and concerns, spoke with financial expert Rachel Cruze about a teenager’s first job — and how parents can help guide the experience.

Cruze is the co-author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book, “Smart Money, Smart Kids,” with her dad, Dave Ramsey.

Question: What is the best way to help teens understand taxes — and how much of the paycheck goes to taxes?

Answer: Forewarn your teen — and let that heartbreak settle in early. I think it’s very beneficial to sit down with your kids and go over the deductions in the paycheck, line by line.

Go over gross pay versus net pay — net, of course, being what they will receive in pay after taxes. Some adults don’t even understand taxes, so you will be providing a big service to your teen. Go through Medicare deductions and that fellow named FICA, too.

Instead of just saying, “Well, the government takes your money,” explain that their work has helped better the country through the taxes they are paying — roads and bridges are maintained and teachers are paid, for example. The teen is now investing in the country.

Question: How do we teach kids to balance work, school and free time?

Answer: Parents are a huge factor in finding this balance. What are they modeling in their own adult lives? You want a balanced teen who becomes a balanced adult. We all know instances of some very bright and good people who have lost it all — family, social life, sanity — because they were workaholics. The lure of money, when you are first earning it, can be strong. But if we work 24/7, then work naturally is the only focus in life.

A goal is good. Obsessive behavior of any kind is not. Money helps us to take care of our basic needs and to help others, and to have a savings account, but there is so much more to life. It’s a lesson many adults could learn.

Question: How do we help teens navigate that first job — dealing with a boss, negotiating time off, and things of this nautre?

Answer: That first job teaches so many things. You are leaving the cocoon of family and school, and venturing into a new landscape at least partially filled with strangers. This is a time when you may learn that hard reality: Not everyone is nice. You may have that “jerk” of a boss, but he may also teach you a lot, so teens should be open to that.

Earlier is better when it comes to negotiating anything at work. Give the boss time to consider the schedule and work out a requested day off. It’s never a good idea to put off a request —although teens are famous for doing so — and then pop up with, “Oh, by the way, I need tomorrow off.” Planning ahead shows respect for your boss, your co-workers and your job.

If there are conflicts with a coworker, try to work it out — and then go to the manager. Not everyone is going to be fantastic to work with, but teens need to push through that, if possible. It is an important skill for future leaders. Teens should expect a work environment that maybe is not perfect, but is reasonable.

Question: How do we advise kids to leave a job correctly, one they might need for a reference?

Answer: How you leave a job is actually very important. Don’t “ditch and bail.” Always give notice. This is 100 percent respectful to the employer that gave you a chance, and gives her time to re-work her schedule. Also, never post anything negative on social media! This can follow you, and be seen by other potential employers as well. As teens are maturing, it’s important to encourage self-control and taking appropriate actions.

A teen’s first job is setting a pattern for what type of employee he or she will be in the future. If we concentrate on guiding our teens to show respect, work hard, earn money and save some of it, we are helping them to develop really good patterns that will last a lifetime.

Source: Why Teens Should Get Off the Cell and Get a Job | LifeZette

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