Teenagers and money: A good idea?

November 13, 2018

If you take a look at kids today, you will notice how sacred money is to them. They treasure all of the coins they find and think $5 is the greatest amount of money in the world.

The wonder children have for money increases when they grow up and are exposed to greater amounts. They start noticing the different ways of paying for products. Their parents use credit cards to get gas and groceries; their grandparents pay for their lunch with cash; and they start to earn their own paychecks once they get a part-time job. While these kids are saving and spending more and more money every year, they usually aren’t taught how to manage their finances in a smart way.

For example, when I was a freshman, I didn’t understand the difference between a debit card and a credit card. But I’ve come a long way since then because of the classes I’ve taken in school.

As a freshman, I took “Into to Business” and started understanding the different ways of paying for stuff that you want. I also gained experience with making a budget and sticking to it through real-life problems in my workbook.

Now, during senior year, I’m currently taking Accounting 1 and Real World — both classes that are expanding my knowledge of keeping track of my finances.

Accounting is showing me how different types of business (corporations and sole proprietorships) manage their money by keeping different ledgers, journals and balance sheets.

Real World is a special class that Pierce High offers that is required to graduate. There are three sections taught about family, finances and household fixes to prepare you for being an adult. In the class, we watch Dave Ramsey videos and do practice problems. Some of the lessons I’ve learned that I will put to use is to start investing early and ensure you are making your money work for you.

School teaches you many lessons about money, but most teenagers’ experience comes from real life. Teenagers learn their lessons about money by realizing their own mistakes and seeing the troubles their friends might have.

Some teenagers never check their account balances or keep track of receipts to know how much money is on their card. After getting an expensive overdrawn fee from the bank, teens know they need to watch their account much closer.

If you ask most teenagers if they use a budget, they will probably say no. Budgets seem like something only adults with steady jobs need. Budgets can help people of all ages and incomes to make every dollar count. After hanging out with friends, buying food, and going shopping over the weekend there’s often not much money left in teen’s accounts.

After this behavior develops into a bad spending habit, many teens learn their lessons and resolve to limit themselves next time they spend money.

During the journey from childhood to adulthood, some teenagers learn how to be responsible with money. But others learn these valuable lessons later in life, often too late. Then these people are stuck with unpayable debt and have to resort to filing for bankruptcy or living much lower on the financial spectrum than they want. If everyone had the opportunities to learn how to be smart with money, the high amount of debt in our country would be lower.

I know that all of the lessons I’ve learned about money will help me later in life. I know from my Real World class that I shouldn’t get a credit card during college. It would be too tempting to use a card to purchase things I don’t need and I’d end up with a lot of debt. I plan on making a budget because I want to save enough money so I won’t have to survive on ramen noodles during college.

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