Summer jobs for young people are an important first step towards financial literacy and independence

By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium

Brittney Elder, head of corporate responsibility relations for JPMorgan Chase in Seattle, believes that the summer holidays provide parents with a great opportunity to teach their children to be responsible with money.

According to Elder, summer jobs, babysitting gigs, or a parent’s allowance can give kids money to pay for the things they want, but they can also give parents the option to sit down with their kids and talk to them about financial literacy, saving, and the value of money and hard work.

“Kids start learning about money at an early age and it’s a great time to talk about financially healthy habits that can keep them going into adulthood, like saving, budgeting and making the most of it. what they earn,” says Elder.

During an exclusive interview with The Seattle Medium, Elder offered several tips for parents that can help their children lay a solid foundation as they begin their own financial journey.

The first piece of advice identified by Elder is to “let them make their own money.” Experts agree that giving your child the freedom and opportunity to earn money is the first step to financial responsibility. Earning their own money gives them confidence in their abilities, builds their work ethic which can be applied to life, school and career. Elder says it’s an accomplishment that should be celebrated by the family.

“We should really celebrate and focus on the fact that your child has created and found an opportunity to earn money,” says Elder. “I think ultimately it’s the foundation, the beginning of establishing healthy financial habits. It’s the first pillar of how your child learns how to earn money and what it’s about. looks like when your child begins to understand how to become financially responsible.

Elder says the second step in teaching our children the responsibilities of money is to discuss your child’s “wants” versus “needs.” When you take a child, or even a teenager, to a store and they are excited about all the choices and options available to them throughout the store, especially when they have their own money to spend, it can be overwhelming. So it’s important for parents to talk to them about the difference between what you want and what you need, especially when it comes to dividing up, spending, and possibly saving your earnings.

“Now that your child or children are making money, what’s the plan?” asks the eldest. “By starting this conversation, parents can begin to help their children understand the difference between wants and needs.”

“I think for a lot of kids when they start their first summer job they usually want to get out there and start spending money, I know for myself that when I started working in the detail, all I wanted to do was buy clothes and make-up,” recalls Elder with a laugh. “I was lucky to have my parents step in and show me the importance between wants and needs So, when starting these conversations, parents should ask their children to write down a list of the things they want, but keep in mind the things that take priority.

After establishing the baseline of wants versus needs, Elder says the next step is to set savings goals. She says setting such goals is critical to our children’s financial literacy, as it will affect their future in more ways than one. Children should ask themselves the same planning and execution questions that we ask ourselves as adults, like where do you see yourself in a year, five years, and depending on their age, where do they see themselves in ten years.

“I’ve learned that if you set savings goals, it can leave you with this ambiguous space of what you’re working toward?” Elder continued. “Let’s say your child wants to save for their textbooks as college is just around the corner, let’s put a dollar amount to that and make sure they create measurable goals that will motivate them to save for the things they wants but more importantly for the things they need.”

Elder says that once your child understands money and how it can work for them, the next logical step may be to open your child’s first bank account. When it comes to options for your child’s first bank account, Chase First Banking is a great tool that parents can use to give their children the joy of having a bank account and help them develop good financial habits.

“[Chase First Banking] allows young people to access their funds under parental supervision,” says Elder. “I think it’s a great product to introduce your children to the financial system, so they can learn about banking processes, including savings.”

The final aspect of teaching our children financial literacy is to keep talking about money with them.

“When we think about finances, we think about the future of our young people,” adds Elder. “Financial management is really a tool to build a vision and how we can make managing their finances fun and exciting for them. Mastering the fundamentals of financial management is very important in your child’s journey to financial literacy.

Finances for info is presented by JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase pledges $30 billion over the next five years to address some of the key drivers of the racial wealth divide.