Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lessons on the job, part 1

Editor's note: This week on Twitter (we're @family_finances), we're giving out tips on summer jobs, money and teens. Several members of our staff and friends will be contributing their thoughts on what they learned during their first job as a teenager. The first to contribute is Jason T. White, ph.D., who is our director of investments. His story is below. If you'd like to contribute, we'd be happy to review your contribution and post it if you learned some things that we think would be helpful to our readers.

By Jason T. White, Ph.D.

I learned a lot about the importance of money on my first job. It seems to be a normal progression for parents to pull back a little on junior's financial support once he or she gets a job. Deals like "I'll pay for the car, but you pay for the insurance" are a typical as a rite of passage.

I had not taken (or been given) much in the way of money responsibilities as a teen. I didn't have a car, a job or a girlfriend (see the big "L" tatooed on my forehead?) My first job taught helped me equate work effort with financial reward. I didn't make much at Worlds of Fun amusement park in Kansas City during the early Reagan years ($3.35/hour). A full-time week in the summer might have netted me more than a hundred dollars!

In those early years, I wasn't a very disciplined saver. I used the "Bank of Mom" for my TARP support whenever my cashflow ran short, and there really wasn't an expectation that it be paid back. I wish I had my 20's to do over again as a saver - I can imagine he nest egg I could have amassed during the last 20 years.

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