The Job Market for Young Adults: Working for Fun and Profit
Piggybank on It
Earning a paycheck is the quickest way to teach a child the value of a dollar. When she has to work for it, she's less apt to take the money for granted. A $15 CD has more meaning when a child realizes that she has had to work three hours to pay for it.
Financial Building Blocks
The federal minimum wage rate started in 1938 at 25¢ an hour. It's currently $5.15 an hour for most workers, but there's a subminimum wage of $4.25 an hour for workers under 20 years of age during their first 90 consecutive days of employment. Some states, however, have higher minimum hourly rates. There's talk in Congress of increasing the rate in the future (the last increase was in 1997).
One of the biggest benefits your child can have from working is the chance to earn his own money. This money can be used to gain a measure of independence for your child: He can support an active social life, buy a car, or go to college.
Working may become necessary as your child gets older and his tastes become more expensive or you decide that you are no longer going to pay for certain things. If your child wants these items, he'll have to earn his own money.
Working can be the start of a meaningful financial education. It can give your child enough money to allow him to start a checking account and a savings program. It can also give your child a true understanding of what jobs really pay—something that the majority of kids seem to lack. According to a survey on teens and money by Weekend USA, 42 percent of teenagers expect to earn $75,000 a year by the time they're 30. The average 30-year-old today earns about $27,000.
For general information about the federal minimum wage and labor laws, go to the Department of Labor's Web site at www.dol.gov. You can also call DOL's Teen Safety Hotline at 800-959-3652.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Money-Smart Kids © 1999 by Barbara Weltman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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