Lets start with some basic steps that you can accomplish BEFORE turning 18. These activities will help you have a better sense of the business of money, and the business of life.
- Open a checking and savings account.
- File a tax return
- Make a budget
- Set up an automatic monthly transfer
- Open an IRA or Roth IRA Account
- Process an educational planning worksheet
- Set a savings goal
- Open a credit card
- Learn about stocks
- Learn about bonds
Open a checking and savings account
Your whole life you will be making transactions, you might as well get a feel for how it works at a young age. Under the age of 18 it will need to be joint with a parent, and depending on the program your parent may have some controls. Just remember, the money you put in checking you expect to spend, the money you put in your savings account you want to try and SAVE.
File a tax return
Paying taxes is not fun. You earn money, but then you have to give some away. Well the good news is that if you are a child or teenager, there is little chance that you will owe any taxes. But going through the exercise of filling out a “a tax return” will help you understand the concept better, and benefit you later in life. It’s easy and it’s fun! Well okay, it’s not all that fun but it is easy!
Make a budget
This is a very simple exercise to figure out how much you will make and how much you will spend. Writing it down will force you to think about what you are spending on, and whether you need it or just want it. As you get older your budget can become more complicated, and it’s a good idea to understand the basic concept.
Set up automatic monthly transfer
This just means that every month something is going to happen automatically and without you needing to do anything. For example if your allowance allows you to put $20 a week into your checking account, and you set up an automatic transfer of $30 a month into your savings account, at the end of a year you will have $360 in your savings account!
Open an IRA or Roth-IRA Account
While an IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account, we prefer to think of them as Financial Freedom accounts. A sizable balance in your own IRA account can give you the peace of mind you need to dream big and accomplish everything you set out to do. It has some cool advantages that regular accounts don’t have. Your parent can help you get started and you can have fun watching it grow together.
Process an education planning worksheet
There are plenty of well paid careers that will not require a college degree, but we want you to be able to decide on college without the fear of not being able to afford it. It you want to go – let’s go! But let’s plan for it so you aren’t weighed down by debt in your young life. We will help you figure out roughly what it might cost, and how you can best prepare for when the day arrives.
Set a savings goal
Throughout your whole life you will be planning, setting goals, and saving to achieve them. Lets make it fun, and set some goals while you are still very young. Think about something you want in the future – this can be as simple as a new Xbox game or bicycle. Figure out how much you need to save and how often, then make yourself do it! It can be hard, but don’t get discouraged. After you hit your first goal make the next one even harder!!
Open a credit card
Discuss this with your parent of course, but there are all kinds of ways for you to have a card that allows you limited spending. We want you to avoid the problems that many older people create by abusing credit cards, and a good way to avoid that is to learn the basics at a young age. This is one you probably don’t want to pursue unless you are 16 or older.
Learn about stocks
You are going to be successful. Some day that means you will probably invest in stocks. We want you to learn early what it means to buy and own stocks, and also the risk. We make it easy to learn and there is no minimum age requirement!
Learn about bonds
Bonds are not as much fun as stocks. But guess what? They are even more important for you to learn about than stocks. We want you to learn enough to be able to invest wisely later in life – and also to avoid mistakes than can hurt your savings. We’ll help!