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Should Your Teenager Work?

Dec 4, 2006

I responded to a mother on MyLot (something nice about getting paid for providing advice) asking the question of whether or not she should let her 14 year old son take a job.  The son was asking to work and her boyfriend was for it, but she was concerned about the impact on his education.

I grew up working and here was my reply:

I'm from the US and have been working since I was 10. Did it detract from school? Not until I turned 16 and had a car which made it easier to earn more and spend more. That said, I was also very good in school and grew up in a family business where the whole family worked all the time (even though after I turned 16 my jobs were outside the family business).

I went from high school into the military (accepted to many colleges but no money for it) and later went to college after the military. I went on to get a double major in accounting and finance and later a Master's in Laws. I'm 34 and have been working for 24 years now.

That experience even in my teens was very important for creating
my work ethic today. It doesn't work for everyone however. You must consider your son and talk to him about his strengths and weaknesses and determine if he is capable of going to college -some kids are not. Starting work now might be the best thing he ever did.

If he wants to go to college, I'd suggest taking at least 50% of his earnings and putting it into a college fund that can not be spent until he completes his Sophomore year of college. many kids drink
their way out of college in the first semester so don't send him off to school with a bankroll eating a hole in his pocket.

On a separate note, there are some great ways to earn money online. Tell him to skip the part time job and tell him to learn how to start his own business on the net
. He can then make just as much money as he would with a part time job and learn some technology skills that will take him a long way in life.

He need not have any web
skills now. They can be learned rapidly and he is young enough that he can reinforce the skills with free classes and clubs at schools. I have a much younger cousin that did this and by 16 was designing his high school's web page. By 18 he was working part time earning $40k per year and his company paid his tuition to go to college.

Your son my learn something flipping burgers at McDonalds, but he might learn much more if he learns how to run his own business successfully!

WooHoo ed by Unknown at 1:18 PM  

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