Imagine having your dream job. You have worked really hard to get to where you are today. Countless nights without sleep, endless homework, rude professors, you have gone through so much to graduate college and earn your degree. You have been working for the past 35 years and decide that you deserve to rest. Only then do you realize how financially unprepared you are for retirement. The thought of retiring had never crossed your mind as a youth and now you are facing the consequences of a postponed retirement. As teens, we’re often unaware of stressful and migraine-inducing topics such as savings accounts, credit scores, or the scary monster that is retirement. Most teens don’t understand what these finances consist of or even are and rarely do parents have conversations with their children concerning money.
However, only when we are faced with debts, low credit scores, or expensive retirement plans as adults/seniors do we realize that starting early is crucial. The key to fixing the problems that our old, wrinkled selves would toil over is by preventing them from even occurring. That is, beginning a successful financial career today as a teen. Three easy and simple ways that we could start saving and preparing for the future is by learning to decipher between needs and wants, begin setting aside money for ourselves, and opening a credit card account. Not only do you become a better saver with these three guidelines, but they can also aid you in facilitating your transition into retirement.
The first step in becoming a good saver is learning to choose between what you need and what you don’t need. This can be very difficult, especially during this media age where individuals, mostly teens, are targeted by ads and celebrities on what’s cool and what’s not which leads to buying things you don’t need or even like/want. So the first thing to do is to begin determining what you need. For example, as a student, I need school supplies such as notebooks and pencils. Also obvious necessities such as food, water, clothing etc. However, the lines begin to blur a little between need and want when it comes to things such as technology. Sure, phones and laptops have become a necessity for students and workers in the 21st century but items such as the new! Phone 6+ are clearly more a want than a need. So learning to say no when visiting your local mall or shopping center could make a big change in your wallet.
The second major step in learning to become a great teen saver is by beginning to set aside money for yourself. When teens receive their first paycheck they often don’t know what to do with their new money. Most will waste it on junk food (I should know from experience), and only a handful will actually put their money into a savings account. Opening up a savings account is a smart idea when saving for college and things like that but most young adults find it rather painful to give up all their hard earned money. So setting aside a little money, it doesn’t have to be much it all adds up eventually, and using the rest for NECESSITIES ONLY is a better option for individuals who don’t know how to go around without at least a little money jingling in their pockets.
The last and I believe most crucial step to securing your future is opening a credit card account. Opening a credit card account may seem a bit too much for some parents. Credit cards aren’t for everyone. According to College Parents of America, a 2009 study of college students and credit cards, approximately 60% of college students stated they were surprised by the amount of their credit card debt and about 40% of college students reported charging items knowing that they couldn’t afford to pay for them. On the other hand, young adults who are mature and responsible could greatly benefit from obtaining a credit card. With this new tool, young individuals learn to not overspend and impulse buy knowing that they’ll have to pay an incredible amount of money at the end of the month. That’s why most parents don’t buy credit cards for their teens knowing that they will use it excessively and will be drowning in debt in no time. Yet, paying your credit balances and monthly payments on time develops into an awesome credit score at a young age which benefits you when you’re 20 and looking to buy a car or even obtaining a home mortgage.
These 3 awesome tips can also come in handy as you prepare for retirement and just like saving, you can never start too early. Continuing to be a good saver and buying only what you need can help you for retirement so you can buy and do the things you WANT and DESERVE. In other words, try to save as much as you can now as a young adult and later be able to travel the world when you decide to stop working and retire. Setting aside $5 or $10 a day or every other day comes a long way (that rhymed!). As I’ve said before, it all adds up eventually and will help you in the future. And of course, last but not least, keeping a good credit score helps you throughout your life and continues to do so during retirement. Many individuals going into retirement believe that keeping a good credit score is no longer necessary since they already own their home or aren’t looking to buy any cars. These people are mistaken, however, because most of them aren’t planning on sitting idle at home all day. Most will want to start small businesses, travel, and move closer to their families which will involve credit. You can also benefit from maintaining a good credit score with reduced travel costs, lower insurance rates, and much more.
In conclusion, following these principles as a teen, adult, and senior will help you be successful in your financial life. Many people dream of traveling the world, moving to London, or opening a bakery in Paris after retiring. These dreams can become reality with the three tips I have mentioned and of course putting in the old elbow grease. To most students, thinking about things such as retirement or being good savers seems so far off in the future that they don’t feel obligated to start. Also, school, school, and school, and you can’t forget about school can also be reasons why teens don’t begin their financial careers. That’s why this writing challenge can help students open their eyes and begin thinking beyond high school or college, to really begin thinking about their future.