Here are four benefits:
1. Learn to manage consistent income
Earning income will help provide your teen more opportunity to learn foundational money skills before entering the world of “adulting”. While your teen shouldn’t be worried about a mortgage just yet, getting a job can help them learn the basics of budgeting, spending wisely and saving.
A great first step to managing income is to open a bank account and have their paycheck directly deposited into it. They’ll have a place they can put their money and avoid the temptation to break into their piggy bank or the feeling of money burning a hole in their pocket.
2. Begin to budget independently
The teenage years are important for learning independent skills while still maintaining the safety net of living with parents. Students with jobs can learn to budget on their own and become more aware of what things cost. Creating and sticking to their own budget will help them cover essentials, like gas, while saving for bigger, more fun expenses like video games or clothes. With limited funds left over, your teen might start to realize how expensive things like eating out can be. Developing budgeting as a habit early in life can help prevent your teen from overspending in adulthood.
3. Start saving for post-grad life
Have you talked to your teen about their plans after high school? If they want to continue going to school, what expenses will they need to pay for? If they want to work or take a gap year, will they need to consider housing or transportation costs? Now is a great time to prepare your teen for future expenses and help them save money by getting a job.
4. Develop workplace skills
Companies large and small value soft skills like communication, problem-solving, time management and attention to detail. A job can help your teen hone these skills at a young age.
They can also learn tangible skills, like filling out W-4 tax forms and submitting information to receive their checks through direct deposit, preparing them even more for adult life.
A word of caution
Teenagers have a lot to juggle. With school, clubs, social activities and homework, too much work can be harmful. It’s important to watch for signs that your teen may need to take a break or reevaluate the decision to work. Keep an eye on if your teen:
- Shows signs of increasing stress levels and begins to slide in their schoolwork
- Increases their hours, which begin replacing other activities of interest
- Focuses too much on making money
- Becomes too tired for extra-curricular activities
- Expresses that their employer wants too much of their time
Jobs don’t have to take away from other priorities. Teens can work over the summer, on weekends, or even just a few hours each week.
Consider the benefits and drawbacks of your teen getting a job and make the decision with your teen based on what is best for them individually.