As I’ve discussed before, it’s never too late to take control of your own finances. That being said, it’s also never too early to start working towards financial independence. Your teenage years are a great time to start building up a savings account that you can grow into a nest egg over the years because you have limited financial responsibility, so therefore will be able to save a larger percentage of what you make than you will when you have rent and bills to pay. Even the smallest contributions can help. If you’re unsure where to start, here are some simple ways that you can start planning ahead for your future.
Look for part-time employment
Obviously school and your education should come first in your teenage years, but if it’s feasible for your schedule, look for ways you can start bringing in additional income. It probably doesn’t sound fun, giving up your weekends for a job, but sacrificing some of your time to start expanding your savings is a smart move for later in life. Starting to save while you’re young can also get you in the habit of putting money aside, something that will be a tremendous asset when you’re working full-time.
Saving a little now can equal a lot later on
Whether you’re working a part-time job after school or your spending money comes from things like birthdays and allowances, putting some of that money away each week can really add up over the long run. Although it’s more than likely that you have things you’d rather be spending your money on now, even taking half or a quarter of that money and putting it away (though more is certainly better) can go a long way over time. It’s fun to do enjoyable things when you have money to spend, but it’s also important to help build a future for yourself.
Familiarize yourself with how debt and interest work
One incredibly important thing you can do to prepare yourself for financing as an adult is understanding how debt works and how interest accrues over time. Once you turn 18, you’ll be eligible to apply for credit cards and personal loans. Before you go borrowing more money than you own, make sure you understand the terms of any credit agreement you enter into, otherwise you could end up in financial ruin before you even graduate college. Interest can quickly add up, so missing even one payment can be harmful to your credit score. Educate yourself prior to any commitment.