I am glad to report there were many big lessons and “Awe-Ha” learning moments in 2018.
This may be the biggest:
We think teens who work part time may be more financially literate than kids who do not work.
Two things brought this lesson into focus. One, a recent opinion piece by Sandra Wenceslao in the UCLA Daily Bruin. Two, reflection on the 50 or so interviews we have conducted with industry leaders on kids and money over the last 18 months.
In her piece, Wenceslao opines financial literacy education at orientation would help alleviate future stress for college students who are not prepared to manage their finances. In our interviews, a few common themes emerged. One, many interviewees worked as kids.
Work is informative. It educates. It empowers. It shapes behavior. It is catalyst for thought. It gets you to ask questions about how to use your money and time. That comes across crystal clear in the interviews. Check it out for yourself. Below, find a sampling of excerpts from our interviews and what industry leaders had to share about working as kids.
What do you think? Would working part time as a time improve a child’s financially literacy and have them better prepared to manage their own finances? What have you observed and experienced? What research have you seen on the subject? What was one of your big lessons in 2018?
Send us your thoughts. If you give us permission, we will share them and credit you.
Excerpts From Kids and Money Interviews
Megan Leonhnardt. CNBC Reporter
My first job was working at Subway. It lasted maybe two weeks before my parents made me quit because the manager wanted me (just 16 at the time) to work a closing shift by myself and my parents weren’t comfortable with that. But my favorite was the year I spent working at a children’s resale shop. The experience taught me more than just how retail functions, but about the half-life of our stuff. I’m a huge believer of donating your used items, not just because it makes sense, but because you never know what will bring someone else real joy (probably at a fraction of the price you paid).
Jeffrey Hayzlett, Author, The Hero Factor; Primetime TV and Podcast Host; Chairman C-Suite Holdings
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up. My dad was in the Air Force, so we moved around a lot. I’ve lived in trailer parks. Early on, I discovered I was really good at sales, so I got a job selling subscriptions, baseball tickets, or whatever would get me some money. My very first job was delivering flyers.
Kristy Wallace, CEO, Ellevate Network
I loved working during the summers. I was an assistant at my dad’s dental office during the day and a waitress at night. I worked seven days a week because I enjoyed what I was doing and appreciated the fact that I could still hang out with friends after work or spend time on the beach between shifts.
Greg McKeown, Author, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
One of the big lessons was recognizing earning money is often thought about in units, like dollars or pounds per hour. But that is not the best way to make money. It is a safe way but limiting. This became very clear a few years later when I took a job delivering newspapers. I did this in addition to running my car washing business.
Gerri Walsh, Sr. VP, FINRA Investor Education; President, FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The daughter of Irish immigrants, I grew up in a working-class family and learned from an early age that money does not grow on trees and that wants differ dramatically from needs. In part because I never had a regular allowance, I started socking away spare change as a toddler and began looking for ways to earn my own money at age nine.
My first job involved covering a portion of a sibling’s paper route for a cut of her collections. That’s when I developed a habit of accompanying my parents to our local bank on Saturdays, where I would deposit a portion of each week’s pay into a passbook savings account. I enjoyed watching the interest compound.
Tom Corley, Author, Rich Habits
The first time I learned the lesson not to save from my father was when I was 13 years old and about to graduate grammar school. I had spent about a year saving my earnings from mowing lawns and shoveling snow. I had about $200. I intended on using the money to throw a graduation party for myself. I had even made phone calls to my friends inviting them to the party. Then, as the party date approached, I asked my Mom if it was ok to throw a graduation party. My Mom said no, because we didn’t have any money and could not afford it. I smiled and proudly told my Mom that I had saved $200 over the past year. That night, my father visited me in my room and very painfully asked for the money. He needed to pay a few bills and that was more important than a graduation party.
Michelle Staubach Grimes, Children’ Author and Publisher of Where is Pidge; President, Pidge Media
The most important money habit I learned as a child was how to manage a checking account and balance it to the penny. My parents took me to the bank when I was about fourteen or fifteen and helped me open a checking account in my name. I was given an allowance and had various paying jobs in the summers. I placed my allowance and job money in my checking account. I had to use my checking account money for anything personal such as makeup, going to the movies, eating out, etc. It clearly taught me the value of money.
Fred Claire, Lecturer, California Institute of Technology; Founder, Scoutables; Former General Manger, Los Angeles Dodgers
The most important money habit I learned early in my life was the pure joy of having a job and earning my own money. Even as a youngster, I saw that earning money created opportunities to have a certain amount of freedom for things I wanted to do without asking for help from my parents.
I was blessed to grow up in a very small town (Jamestown, Ohio). With that came opportunities for making my own money in a safe environment. One of my first jobs was a paper route for the newspaper in nearby Xenia, Ohio. Doing the route and collecting the monthly fee put me in a position to enter customers’ homes. Some of these people were far less fortunate than my family. This interaction with people was a learning experience.
Sharon Lechter, Business Strategiest; Author Three Feet from Gold and Rich Dad Poor Dad
My parents set up a savings account for me and would take me to the bank regularly to deposit 50 percent of all my gifts and/or paychecks when I started working a part-time job. I would see how the money would grow over time if I left it alone…I had a plan for my future. I saved over 50 percent of my earnings through high school and college, so that when I graduated from college, I had accumulated over $22,000 to help me start my professional life in Atlanta.
Timothy Law Snyder. President Loyola Marymount University
When I was young, I had a paper route, delivering papers in a nearby neighborhood via bicycle. It was tough work. I’d pick up a heavy load of papers a couple of miles away, put them into baskets on my bike, and ride back and deliver them. In those days, you had to go door-to-door each month to “collect.” It was on you. You paid for the papers you delivered, so you had to collect from everybody to make your expected earnings.
During the Christmas season, my better customers gave me a tip — usually $5 to $20. The $20 “big one” was always my goal. One day, a customer named Mr. Goldberg gave me an envelope. It contained a lovely note, speaking to how reliable I was, how nice I was, and so on. Also inside? A beautiful, uncirculated $2 bill. I was a coin collector and had never seen a $2 bill. I still have it!
Mr. Goldberg’s kindness, thoughtfulness, and cleverness taught me that money is a form of compensation, but that many other forms of compensation — even recognition — were just as important.
That helped me understand that what shows up on a spreadsheet — the money — is always only part of the picture. People’s time, values, and hearts are always in the mix; and they are just as important, even in the most executive business transactions.