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Financial Tips for Teens

Teens -  Money and Finance Questions on StageofLife.comMoney Articles and Financial Q & A for High School Students

Do you have a part-time job?  Are you saving for a car or college?  As a teen what is your relationship with money? 

Stage of Life has financial tips and exclusive money saving articles tailored to teens in high school.  Do you have a financial question that pertains to your life as a teenager or high school student?  Submit your question directly to us, and we'll ask either Lauren (our resident Stage of Life Financial Literacy guru) or one of our financial experts to respond with their thoughts. 

High School Students - Ask StageofLife.com your Money Question We'll then post your financial question and the feedback here on the Stage of Life Financial Tips page for Teens.  In the meantime, scroll down and review other questions about money that will teens increase their financial literacy...

Money Articles and Financial Q & A for Teens

Back to School Savings?

Question:  What tips do you have for Back to School savings?

Stage of Life Answer:   Our Financial Literacy partner, Lauren Podolsky, addressed this member question in a feature article called, "Top Five Back to School Money Saving Tips for Parents and Students."  

Click the View Website button below to read the article...

Top 5 Backy to School Money Saving Tips
Top 10 Financial Tips for Life

Question:  Since this is a website about life, what are your Top 10 financial recommendations...for life?

Stage of Life Answer:   Wow...that's a big question.  In fact, as we poised this question to our team, we realized we would need more space than what's commonly carved out for the Q & A responses on this page. 

So we dedicated an entire page to answering your question.  To see our Top 10 Money Tips, click the View Website button below...

Top 10 Money Tips for Life
Buying a Car - New or Used?

Question:  I need to buy a car, should I buy used or new?

Stage of Life Answer:   Ahhh...the eternal car question.  New or Used?  I know people who have ONLY bought new cars over the course of their entire lives, and those who have ONLY bought used. 

My take?

Buying a car is not an investment and is actually considered a depreciating asset, meaning it will it will never be worth more than what you paid for it.  A new car depreciates the minute you drive it from the showroom floor.  In the first year of ownership, a new car can lose up to 20 percent of its value, and by the fifth year, your car will depreciated by over 65 percent.

Purchasing a late-model pre-owned car makes more financial sense than buying a car that will lose 20 percent of its value in 20 minutes.

Now, if you love that new car smell, then my advice won't sway you too much...will it?  :)

Have fun with your "new" car!

Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

Top 5 Interview Tips

Question:  I have a job interview coming up, what do you suggest I do to prepare?

Stage of Life Answer:  First of all, congratulations!  The interview is the next step in landing that job you want but it can also be the dealbreaker if you are not properly prepared.  Here are my top tips for preparing for an interview...

1. Research:  The very best thing you can do before going into a job interview is research the company you have applied with.  It’s a pretty safe bet that the potential employer will ask you what you know about their organization and if all you can give them is a blank stare, it’s not likely they will believe you are interested in their company. Take a few minutes to search the company online. Do they have a website?  What products and services do they offer?  What is their mission statement?  Jot down a few key factors and memorize them so that way you are prepared with a little knowledge about the place before you show that you want to work there. 

2.  Be on Time:  Being on time is a non-negotiable component for your interview so make sure you know where you are going.  You can not afford to get lost or stuck in traffic the morning of, so the day before, do a drive by to see how long it will take you and what the traffic is like that time of day.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

3.  Print out extra copies of your resume

4.  Dress to impress.  You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Look your best.

5.  And finally, be confident.

These are all things that the employer will probably look for (among others).  Good luck!

Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

Resume Help

Question:  Where can I find help in building a resume?

Stage of Life Answer:   A resume is one of the most important documents that you will ever create, so if you’re planning on starting a career or maybe changing your job, it’s a good idea to start one if you haven’t already. There are a ton of great sites out there that provide helpful tips and outlines in putting together your resume. GotResumeBuilder.com provides professional templates and helps you organize your content.  You can also keep the information saved so that when you want to make changes, you can easily log into your account and update as needed.

Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

Investing 101

Question:  I want to start investing my money, but I don’t know where to begin.

Stage of Life Answer:   Most people think of investing as something that only people with loads of extra cash can do.  The truth is, anyone can start investing and the earlier the better.  The sooner you can start to stow away any extra income, the more you will earn 30 years down the road and with the beauty of compound interest, those small investments will really add up!

The best thing to do is to start familiarizing yourself with stocks, bonds, mutual funds and investment strategies.  Figure out what each of these mean and what would be the best option for you personally.  I would recommend, regardless of your age, that you reach out to an investment counselor or financial adviser.  Talk with your financial institution (bank or credit union), they can refer you to someone that can walk you through the process. 

If you are working, find out if your company contributes to a 401K plan and how you can take advantage of it.  Most importantly, every good plan starts with a goal so determine where you want to be financially in 5, 10, or even 20 years and a solid investment plan will help you get there.


Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

Planning for Life

Question:  What is the best way to budget for my future?

Answer:  Just like there is no way to predict our future successes or failures, there really isn’t an exact approach to fully predict your financial future. No matter how much money you think you will be making, life has a way to throwing a few curve balls at us, and as you get older, those curve balls seems to become more costly. 

The best thing you can do is to start saving. 

Open up a high yield savings account and start depositing small amounts into it on a routine.  For example, make a promise to yourself that you will put $25 a month into your savings account and leave it there!  If you can do more, do more. 

Overtime, your money will grow and you will have built a solid safety net of funds to fall back on. Let’s face it, we are all going to encounter significant financial needs in our lives at some point whether that be buying a car, getting married, going to grad school or buying a house. It’s important to plan for big expenses even if we really aren’t sure what those expenses will be.

Resource: 
Print out the free Stage of Life budget worksheet.


Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

Bank or Credit Union?

Question:  What is the difference between a bank and a credit union?

Answer:  In the big picture, the overall difference is that a bank is for-profit and a credit union is non-for profit.  What that means is that banks are in the business to make a profit from your money while credit unions are not.  Banks are owned by stockholders and investors.  When you make a deposit into your account, you are essentially loaning your money to the bank for them to lend it out to other customers and investors.  A credit union on the other hand, uses your money to pay back its members, or owners, in terms of lower fees and higher interest rates. 
There are certain limitations with being a credit union member where generally, there are not with a bank. It’s important to do your research with whichever financial institution you decide to bank with so keep that in mind when shopping around.


Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

Checking vs. Savings

Question:  What is the difference between a savings account and a checking account?

Stage of Life Answer:  A savings account is a bank account designed with the intent of helping you to save money.  Most of the time, they come with limits, balance requirements, and/or withdraw fees but this will all differ based on the institution. 

A checking account is a service provided by a financial institution that allows account holders to deposit and withdraw money from a federally protected account. This account allows the use of a debit card and/or checks and there are generally no restrictions on the number of deposits or withdrawals made.


Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

Pay Yourself First

Question:  My budget is tight, but I've heard about the paying yourself first concept.   Should I pay off my expenses first each month or set aside some money in savings first and then pay expenses?

Stage of Life Answer:  Set aside money in savings first.  This is called “Paying Yourself First” which is a concept that I wish more people could get the hang of.  It’s simple really.  Every time you earn income, take a percentage of that and place it aside into a savings account or other means of savings.  The remaining income is used to pay for your expenses.  It’s good to develop this routine without even thinking about it and a great way to do this would be to set up a direct deposit account.  When your paycheck is deposited electronically, a set amount (that you choose) will automatically be placed into a separate account that you have designated as savings.  Why do we do this?  One word, emergencies! They will happen and the only way to prepare for them is to save.

Now, if you find yourself with not enough money to pay your expenses at the end of each month, you need to look at your expenses and trim your budget by cutting out necessary expenses.


Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

Understanding your money - budgeting

Question:  What is a budget?

Answer:  A budget is a financial blueprint of all of your expenses for a fixed period of time. A budget lists all of your future income and expenses and keeps track of the money coming in and the money going out.  The goal of your budget each month should be to balance or even better, to have a surplus of income. A budget will give you a better understanding of your finances and will help you plan for future expenses.  I recommend a budget to any person that is earning and spending money. If you don’t know where your money is going, you’re likely to get yourself into some serious financial trouble down the road.

Resource: 
Print out the free Stage of Life budget worksheet.


Ask Your Question:  Do you have a money or finance question about your life?

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