What Can Teenagers Do To Jump-Start Their Path To Financial Independence?
Due to the time-value of money and assets seemingly to be inflating at a rapid rate, getting a head-start at a young age can have massive implications on your personal finances down the road. Including inflation, saving $1 when you are 18 years old will be worth almost 15x in 40 years (using historic stock market returns). This means any amount of savings early in life can easily be the difference between retiring early, on time, or not at all. So what can a teenager do to get a jump-start on their path to financial independence? Fortunately, there’s many things! It is important to note, however, that this article focuses on the financial aspects of getting ahead. A balance must be struck between work/studying and leisure and it may not be possible or wise to try and do all the options on this list. That being said, let’s look at some of the options:
Summer School – Most High Schools offer some sort of Summer School program and they can be a good way to get ahead. A summer school program typically involves doing a course or 2 for a month after the school year is done in the morning or afternoon. Even if you only do a course in the morning, you will be done by noon and it won’t be too inconvenient. Taking summer school courses can easily trim off a semester of high school. The best part? You will probably get better marks on the courses as well. Only having 1 or 2 courses to do at a time and only having to remember information for a month can easily lead to better academic performance. Hate school and don’t even want to think about doing it during the summer? Some schools allow you to even take options, so you could just take something like Physical Education and go exercise for a couple hours for school credits.
Part Time Jobs – Part time jobs are obvious, work a little bit and make a bit of money. Trying to get a job assisting a more specialized person can also be very good for a resume or even act as work experience towards a post-secondary certification. On top of the obvious monetary value of part-time jobs, this extra experience can be extremely valuable when hitting the full-time job market with thousands of peers. It can easily be the difference between landing the full-time job you want and rejection.
Good Spending Habits – Being a kid not too long ago it is easy to remember that the money went out a lot easier than it came in. While it important to enjoy life and not constantly worry about money, being conscious of the opportunity cost of money and is important. Remember that every dollar saved could be worth almost 15x as much over a 40 year period, so you don’t need to save much to have make a big impact.
Online Universities – Starting university online is one of the best ways to get ahead. Some High Schools accept online university courses for credit, allowing you to get ahead in both high school and university at the same time. Another great thing? Entrance level university courses are extremely similar to academic grade 12 courses on the same topic. Taking grade 12 chemistry? Entry level chemistry courses will cover very similar topics. This can allow you to breeze through courses fairly fast. Online universities are typically cheaper than a normal university as well. Even if you only plan to do one semester worth of courses online before going to a real university, it can easily save time and money. Just make sure the courses you take are transferrable!
Good Personal Finance Knowledge – Finally, just general knowledge of personal finance is good enough to get a head-start over most people. If I knew what I know now when I was a teenager, I would be miles ahead of where I am now. If learning about finances interests you but you don’t know where to start, check out our free course here.
These options can be used on their own or in combination with one another. It is still important to enjoy your youth though, so don’t over-work yourself and have life pass you by.