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The Money Messenger, Issue #003 -- Summer Teen Jobs and Savings
April 16, 2008

Welcome to The Money Messenger!

April is National Financial Literacy Month in the United States. It is a great time to think about where you and your family are in your own financial education and encourage others to do the same. With all the media talk about recessions and inflation, things can seem downright scary. Don't let that get in your way!

Financial literacy is about you and your family and what you need to know to be successful in your personal financial life. Take the time to understand some basics - and don't worry about the hype. A basic financial education can provide a greater sense of security than almost anything you will find in the financial media.

Teen Summer Jobs: Get Started Now!
Even as the winter days seem to be stretching into mid-April, it is still time to start thinking about - and planning for! - those teen summer jobs. And, actually, now may be the best time of all.

Think about being in a hiring manager's shoes as they are trying to staff up for the coming months. They have to get through applications, interviews and training in preparation for those seasonal jobs they have to fill. And all of that takes time.

And to make sure they are ready for their opening day, managers need to start hiring for teen summer jobs now. Here are just a couple of examples:

  • I have seen ads in our local newspaper for the past several weeks for gardening centers that are hiring. And these aren't just the permanent places like Home Depot or your favorite landscape spot. A few of these have been temporary spots being set up by the permanent businesses to try to reach new customers. So - they need a whole new crew to get this new location up and running.
  • My own kids are on their own countdown to when the amusement park opens for weekends - which is at least a month in advance of the full-time summer season. Sure - the water park which is attached doesn't open until summer is in full swing, but the coasters are already being primed on the other side.

So - what jobs can you think of that are gearing up for their primetime? Check out their websites or give them a call to see if they are accepting applications. Be sure you can meet their requirements including any transportation needs then move forward in finding your own teen summer job!

For more ideas and tips on summer jobs, visit our Teen Summer Job page.

Savings, Schmavings...How to get started on the path of financial well-being
Kids get the idea of spending money. It's easy: they see Mom and Dad do it all the time plus there is always something that they just need to have!

But what about teaching kids about savings? It doesn't seem to come as naturally to them as spending (unless you have a born saver like my daughter). And frankly, it just isn't nearly as fun to teach. What is a parent to do?

Start slowly. Get a fun bank - piggy or otherwise. One of my favorites is having a child paint their own ceramic bank. We have local paint and glaze stores with banks ready to all the paints and stencils to go with it. Then they fire and glaze the masterpiece for you to pick up later. If your child is old enough to finger paint, they can do this (with varying degrees of help from Mom or Dad!).

Encourage your child to put some part of their money into their personal bank. Don't worry about getting to the "real" bank just yet. Kids need to be able to see, feel and count their money at the outset. It is theirs after all - and there is a sense of pride that goes with that.

Start talking about going to the bank and how money gets there - and comes back to you - each time you visit the bank. Help your child understand that a bank is not the place that just gives you money when you need it. This will help them make the connection that you need to put money in to get money out. Leave out the part about step at a time on our road to money education!

When your child seems to understand how "your" bank is different from "their" bank, consider opening a savings account for them. You will likely have your name on it as well since your child is a minor, but the bank is usually good about helping with all those details.

One key here is not to rush it. If your little Warren Buffet has all kinds of money that just isn't safe in the house, then you may want to move along faster. But, generally, there is no need to rush this part of the process. It is much more important that they grasp how to save rather than where to save. There's plenty of time for that later!

Fun money fact
What is money made of?
Coins are usually made of copper and another element, such as zinc or nickel. Currency paper is composed of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton. Red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout the paper. Before World War I these fibers were made of silk. (Money fact courtesy of

Latest on the site
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Coming soon...the next issue of The Money Messenger
Next month's issue will include new articles on:
  • staying on track with your savings program
  • budgeting even when you don't want to
  • more fun money facts, and
  • the latest site updates

Plus, look for a new feature: "Ask the Editor!" I will taking your questions and answering them. Submit them here.

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