High school is an interesting time in your financial life. You may have started to earn some money, but you still rely on your parents for almost all of your needs.
Even though you don’t support yourself, money is still an important topic to learn about. To help you out, I’ve listed my top five financial tips for high schoolers below. I hope they help you.
1) Start Making Money Early
It’s never too early to start earning money. For those that are old enough, I would highly consider getting a part time job. You probably won’t make much more than minimum wage, but the experience you gain from working a job at a young age will add a lot of value to your life. It’ll also help you learn how to respect the money you’ve worked hard for because making money isn’t always easy.
If you aren’t old enough to get a job in your state, consider starting a small business in your neighborhood. I personally had started a pet sitting business when I was in elementary school and had a lawn care business when I was in junior high school.
Yes, my parents helped me out in both cases with either supervision or equipment, but I was out there trying to earn money and saving it for my future. You can do the same!
2) Start Saving Today
Once you start earning money, one of the first things you should do is learn how to save money. Saving money is a skill that you’ll need for your entire life, so you might as well learn it early.
It’s easy to want to spend every dollar on things you want right now, but as you grow older you’ll begin to have more and more responsibilities. Unfortunately, they’re not all fun, but some are!
Start saving for some of your longer term goals like attending college or buying your first car. These will both costs thousands of dollars and take a while to save up for, but they’re both well worth waiting for. Learning how to save early on in life is a habit you’ll be thankful you learned.
3) Consider Investing For Retirement If You Have Earned Income
Retirement probably isn’t even a concept that has entered your thoughts yet, but it is never too early to start investing for retirement. If you’re eligible to open a tax advantaged retirement account, like a Roth IRA, I suggest you open one up and start investing even a small amount of money. This is another skill you’ll be thankful you learned early in life.
The best reason to get started investing for your retirement early is the power of compound interest. If you start saving as a high schooler, you’ll have at least a five to ten year head start on the compounding race.
4) Research How Much It Costs To Go To College
As a high schooler, the potential of going off to college is right around the corner. College is a huge financial commitment, even though you may not realize it quite yet.
To get an idea of how enormous of a financial commitment it can be, I suggest you research how much it will cost you to attend some of the colleges you’re either considering or colleges that are local to you. Pick a community college, a couple public universities and a private university. Get your parents to help you figure out how much it would cost to get a degree at these institutions including things like room and board, tuition, books and other living expenses.
If you weren’t saving for college before, this exercise should get your savings kicked into high gear.
5) Take A Personal Finance Class Or Educate Yourself
If you have a personal finance class available to you at your school, take it. If you don’t, go online and search for a personal finance blog or free online course that you enjoy reading.
Try to learn as much as you can about personal finance and try to avoid some of the biggest mistakes people make with their money early on in life. If you can stay out of credit card debt, you’ll already be way ahead of most of your peers after you graduate from high school.
These five tips are just a few things you can be doing in high school to get your personal finances off to a great start. There is a wealth of information available in libraries and on the internet, so make sure to check them out if you’re looking for more great tips.