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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Summer Jobs - What are Your Plans?

Classes -- done! Finals – done!  After too many hours studying, sleeping in and hanging with friends sounds grand. But, you need the money so off to work you go.

This summer a smaller percent of youth will work since World War II. Only 25-27% of teens will find a job, predicts Andrew Sum of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. As a comparison, in 2006 the teen summer employment rate was 37%, reports the Huffington Post. The unemployment rate is high for those adults 20-24 years old too – 14.7% in May according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Lots of young people looking for summer (or full-time) work!

Do summer jobs have value to young people beyond the money they earn? Looking back I think having a summer job taught me valuable lessons:

  • Work was more fun and easier to do if I had a decent amount of sleep the night before;
  • Taking college classes seemed more worthwhile after a boring summer job of selling souvenirs and bikinis to beach tourists; and
  • Money can accumulate if you work enough hours and put a high percentage into savings.

What do you remember about your first summer job? Did you learn any life lessons?

I worked in the summer to help pay my expenses in college. Working meant that I would have the money I needed for personal expenses, books, and even a good percent of tuition the next school year. (Of course, college tuition was a lot less then!)

If you're beginning a summer job ask, "Why am I working?" "How do I plan to use this money?"

Set goals. Do you want a certain amount in savings when your summer job is finished? Do you plan to make a large purchase? What percent of your earnings are you planning to spend on summer entertainment? Will some of your earnings help pay for family expenses?

Write down your plans. If you decide now what you plan to do, at the end of the summer you are much more likely to be satisfied with how you managed your summer earnings. You don't want September to roll around and find yourself asking, "Where did all my money go?"

How do you feel about summer jobs? Do you have advice for others? Click on the comment link below and let me know. And, good luck staying awake as you start work on Monday – that was always my challenge!

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I learned a lot and our summer jobs were always so much fun! Everyone worked. Now summers are getting shorter because school is starting earlier and ending later. I wonder how this is going to affect summer jobs for students. David Stanton
by David Stanton on Thursday 9/6/2012

Interesting thought! Research does show that less and less teenagers are working during the summers, for probably a variety of reasons. Not only does this mean that teenagers don't earn money but it also means that they don't have the opportunity to gain the job experience.
by Kathy Sweedler on Friday 9/7/2012