As traditional summer jobs fade away, teens have other opportunities to earn
For generations when school let out for summer vacation teens left the classroom and headed for local restaurants, gas stations, swimming pools and grocery stores to earn spending money at a summer job. But, the percentage of kids working over the summer has dropped. Pew Research Center reports that in 2014 less than one-third of teens had a job. While some of the decline has been attributed to more teens participating in unpaid volunteer work to fulfill a graduation requirement or boost a college application, others simply cannot find work. That does not mean parents have to let their kids spend the summer lounging or staring at a screen playing video games and browsing social media. Instead, they can start them on the path of becoming investing tycoons.
Gregg Murset, CEO of BusyKid, recommends that parents start planning with their kids about what types of jobs they are qualified to perform about two months before school break. He also says that reaching an agreement about how money earned over the summer will be used needs to be made upfront. Parents interested in helping their kids take the first steps toward financial independence can try the following this summer.
- Eliminate the potential for excuses. If your child tells you no one is hiring tell him or her to start their own business by offering to do odd jobs for neighbors. Have kids check the neighborhood for houses that look like they need yard work done, the fence painted, families with kids who might need a sitter or could use an extra hand with household chores.
- Get creative with chore charts. Chores don’t have to apply just to your own home. Reach out to friends and family with a list of chores and rates. Kids will be kept busy earning money for their work and friends and family will be able to save on hiring professional housekeepers or landscapers to do tasks your kids are old enough to manage. Use an online chore chart to track and schedule what jobs need to be done for who and when.
- Evaluate your own household costs. Many households could cut their spending over the summer by putting professional services on hold and farming tasks out to the kids instead. Draw up a contract for your kids to manage lawn care, clean the house, maintain the backyard pool and wash the family cars. Paying them a few dollars for chores could save a few hundred over the short summer break.
- Organize a community garage sale. Have teens reach out to neighbors and friends to find out if they have items they want to get rid off. Host the sale at your home and have kids pick up items from the neighbors. The kids take responsibility for organizing what items belong to each person and marketing the sale. In exchange for running the operation have neighbors agree to sales prices for their items upfront and ask if they will agree to a 10% fee for including their items in the sale.
- Keep an eye on earnings. Instead of allowing your kids to spend their summer earnings in the blink of an eye agree upfront that some of the money will be earmarked for spending while other portions are saved or invested. Use a service like StockPile, which allows you to invest as little as $1 in stocks, to help kids get started in the market and hopefully grow their earnings.
About Gregg Murset
The co-founder & CEO of BusyKid, Gregg is best known as a groundbreaking inventor of My Job Chart which grew to nearly 1 million members in four years. My Job Chart was the first electronic chore/allowance platform to take advantage of our modern digital society. A father of six, Gregg is a certified financial planner and consultant who also became a leading advocate for sound parenting, child accountability, and financial literacy. In 2014, he was named Chairman of 2014 “Smart Money Week” for the state of Arizona, as well as the National Financial Educators Council Financial Education Instructor of the Year. A firm believer in improved financial education in schools, Gregg has conducted hundreds of media interviews around the U.S. in hopes of much-needed change. Promoting these changes, Gregg took his family on a pair of RV trips in 2014 and traveled nearly 10,000 miles in just 31 days. When the trips were complete, the family had stopped in 22 different cities in 27 states and performed normal household chores for families in need and organizations requesting volunteers. Gregg is considered a pillar of his Arizona community and is regularly attending his kids sporting events or taking them on weekend camping trips.