investing in yourself en-US Timeless Money Lessons From Teens <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/timeless-money-lessons-from-teens" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src=" at prom.jpg" alt="teenage girls having fun at low-budget prom" title="teenage girls having fun at low-budget prom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a mom, I want to teach my kids everything they need to know about money and life, preferably before they leave my home (the oldest will be going to college in the fall, and time is running out). As a writer for Wise Bread, I see how I fall short compared to many readers who, based on their comments, have parents who taught them to flawlessly distinguish needs from wants or have ingrained the full value of a dollar in their children by requiring hard work inside and outside of the house on a daily basis.&nbsp;</p> <p>Fortunately, kids and teens can learn from imperfect parents. Plus, they can teach their moms and dads financial lessons the grown-ups had never considered or remind them of timeless financial truths. Here are some things that teens have to say about spending, making, and saving money. (See also: <a href="">10 Tips From a Financially&nbsp;Savvy&nbsp;Teen</a>)</p> <h3>Being Fashionable Means Having Your Own Style</h3> <p>High school student Syretha Shirley of Las Vegas tells me that relying on designer labels and name brands to define your style puts you on the path to being a conformist, which is counterproductive to being truly fashionable. In some cases, insecurity can influence people to copy the cookie-cutter style statements offered by leading brands. Don&rsquo;t count on your shoes (no matter how expensive) to boost your self-image, she says. Have the confidence to express your style through distinct choices. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How to Develop Your Own Style</strong></p> <p>Define your signature style, set a budget, and shop at discount stores like <a href="">Marshalls</a>&nbsp;or <a href="">thrift shops</a>. Pull together disparate items to create your own look. To have fun and build a stylish wardrobe, take shopping trips with a friend and work together to uncover fashionable finds.</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have the time or taste to develop a distinct stand-out style, adopt a simple, tasteful one or a <a href="">classic look</a> that&rsquo;s easy to create and maintain.</p> <h3>Making Money Can Build Your Savings and Your Self-Esteem</h3> <p>Jack James of San Jose, California, a 13-year-old and <a href="">book author</a>, tells me that he was surprised to find that running his own business boosted his self-esteem, which was damaged by bullying at school. During the two years that he was homeschooled to get back on track academically (Jack has dyslexia) and become stronger in his sense of self, <a href="">his mom</a> suggested that he start a business. He resisted at first, but her <a href="">nagging</a> convinced him to consider how he could earn money.</p> <p>A few years ago, he began bringing in garbage, recycling, and yard waste carts in a business that continues today. Many of his neighbors are his customers, giving him the opportunity to develop friendships while also providing a service. He deposits his earnings in a savings account, which has grown to a healthy $1,000.</p> <p>The side benefit from the business is the self confidence that Jack gained from generating income. Unlike bullying peers (and the adults who witness but don&rsquo;t advocate for those who are being bullied), the money doesn&rsquo;t unfairly judge or condemn but has the capacity to reward effort independent of learning abilities and disabilities.</p> <p><strong>How to Earn Some Money</strong></p> <p>Both teens and adults can do lots of things to earn money through&nbsp;<a href="">money-making hobbies</a> and <a href="">side jobs</a>, such as playing an instrument or tutoring.</p> <p>Teens can make a side income doing traditional teenage jobs (like babysitting or cutting grass) and helping adults that are willing to pay them for services (like painting or moving stuff).</p> <p>At any age, finding a way to make money that makes use of your natural talents is ideal not only for earning income but also to prepare you for a career or help you in your present job. My youngest son began <a href="">selling his old stuff online</a> a few years ago and learned how to present merchandise, respond to inquiries, price goods, and fill orders. He is interested in a career in technology and having some of these experiences gives him firsthand knowledge of user interfaces, financial systems (he has his own PayPal account), and more.</p> <h3>Don't Worry, Just Save</h3> <p>Money problems are a source of worry, stress, and suffering. Syretha has watched as family members overspent on their wants, became unable to take care of their needs, and, in some cases, made mistakes in attempting to get money quickly with life-changing consequences.</p> <p><strong>How to Avoid Worry Over Money</strong></p> <p>Realize that you really will need money later, despite how distant those needs seem now. Save to avoid extreme stress and financial crises, which can lead to poor decision making and cause problems that affect long-term career possibilities, personal freedoms, family relationships, and more.</p> <p>Match your lifestyle to your financial wherewithal, and make sure to set aside money for future needs. Don&rsquo;t put purchases for day-to-day needs on your credit card. Use your credit card for true emergencies, not fashion wants or other types of non-essentials.</p> <h3>Put Yourself First</h3> <p>Place your values and goals above social opinion instead of trying to please or impress other people. Trying to be popular can often sidetrack your efforts so that you are unable to spend time investing in yourself and achieving your goals.</p> <p>Investing in herself is a priority for Syretha. Much of her time is spent improving herself, her financial position, and her community. Currently, in addition to high school and side jobs (babysitting and braiding hair), she is being mentored, writing a book of poetry, participating in a teen empowerment group focusing on personal development and community service for young women, and attending a Boys &amp; Girls Club where she took a <a href="">Money Matters</a> course on financial literacy.</p> <p>When <a href="">Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America</a> partnered with the <a href="">Charles Schwab Foundation</a> to sponsor the <a href="">Money Matters&nbsp;Music Mogul contest</a>, both her mentor and mom encouraged her to enter. She wrote an original song that won first place and was made into a music video by hip-hop producer Kevin &quot;Khao&quot; Cates.&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="">Watch video</a></p> <p>Putting yourself first doesn&rsquo;t mean not caring about others but having the freedom to focus on what is important to you. For example, one of the reasons that Syretha is so happy to win the contest is the opportunity to spread the word about being money smart to other teens.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How to Put Yourself First</strong></p> <p>Use money and time in ways that are fulfilling in the present and helpful for the future. What specific actions you take may differ from your friends but might include:</p> <ol> <li>Earning a college degree</li> <li>Learning something new or bettering current skills</li> <li>Writing a book or authoring a blog</li> </ol> <p>These are all ways to use your talents and money for long-term benefit, rather using money to satisfy immediate and short-lived desires.</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t Confuse Stuff and Status With What&rsquo;s Important</h3> <p>Recently, my oldest son taught me a lesson about money and values. Like many parents, I have always thought that teaching kids to be unmaterialistic is best accomplished by sending them on service projects or mission trips in which they serve impoverished families. The reasoning is that teens will realize how rich they are in comparison to less fortunate others. Then they will be grateful and frugal. For example, my teenage sons have spent at least one week performing home repairs for near-penniless people referred by the Department of Social Services.&nbsp;</p> <p>But seeing the poor live with little doesn't necessarily translate into feeling rich with less stuff.</p> <p>My epiphany came during spring break, after my oldest returned from a community-wide, church-sponsored event called the 30-hour famine. He seemed elated, having enjoyed hanging out with friends, meeting new people, and teaming with a few other kids to win the organizer's version of the &quot;Amazing Race.&quot; Listening to his experiences made me realize that being happy with less is not the goal of financial wisdom (though this ability is helpful); instead, it's valuing what's really important, like friendships, community camaraderie, and yourself, independent of the stuff you've accumulated and the status that stuff may confer.</p> <p><strong>How to Know What's Important</strong></p> <p>Spend time on the activities you enjoy, the things that will make you a better person, and the people you like to be around. Use your priorities to motivate you to do more with fewer resources, not to be stingy but to express your style like Syretha says.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">What Can You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career Building Lifestyle fashion investing in yourself teenagers Mon, 14 May 2012 10:36:07 +0000 Julie Rains 928112 at Great Ways to Invest in Yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Two men watching the market" title="Two men watching the market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="133" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people are scared of investing because it involves risk. No matter how sure you are about a stock, mutual fund, or business opportunity, there&rsquo;s always the chance that you could lose all your money.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s scary.</p> <p>So what if I told you there&rsquo;s a way to invest with absolutely no risk? I can&rsquo;t promise an exact return on the investment, but I guarantee it will always be positive.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s called investing in yourself.</p> <p>I know it sounds cheesy, but when was the last time you learned something new made you a better employee or job candidate? Instead of trying to get rich by putting huge piles of your hard-earned money into a stock you think is going to go up, why not invest time and money into improving your skills and boosting your earning power? (See also: <a href="">Best Investment: Yourself</a>)</p> <p>More skills can lead to a higher pay, more job opportunities, and added job security. Bonus &mdash; more skills also make you <a target="_blank" href="">more interesting</a>.</p> <p>That sounds great, but how do you invest in yourself without going back to school and paying thousands of dollars for a degree?</p> <p>Here are some ways you can invest in yourself to boost your skills.</p> <h2>Read a Book</h2> <p>Books are my favorite way of learning new things. Everything I learned about investing and personal finance I learned from reading books. I read everything I could get my hands on and became knowledgeable enough that I started my own site, <a target="_blank" href="">The Writer&rsquo;s Coin</a>. I recommend <a target="_blank" href=""><em>I Will Teach You to Be Rich</em></a> by Ramit Sethi to start.</p> <h2>Start a Blog/Site</h2> <p>When I started my site I did it because I felt I had something to say about personal finance. I had no idea it was going to teach me about networking, social media, SEO, entrepreneurship, CSS, and PHP, or that it would start to make real money for me. Bonus &mdash; blogging regularly will make you a better writer, and that&rsquo;s an essential skill in the world today. Go to <a target="_blank" href=""></a> and start your own blog today &mdash; it&rsquo;s free!</p> <h2>Subscribe to a New Site</h2> <p>Learn <a target="_blank" href="">what an RSS fee is</a>. Then start adding new sites to your reader, and you&rsquo;ll stay up to date on whatever topic you&rsquo;re curious about. This is how I injected myself into the personal finance blogosphere.</p> <h2>Take a Course</h2> <p>There's a course for anything you can imagine out there. Whether it&rsquo;s a local class to learn how to cook or an online course about computer programming, if you can think it, I guarantee someone out there is teaching it. You&rsquo;ll meet new people, learn new skills, and broaden your horizons. Thanks to the Internet you can learn pretty much anything you can think of. <a href="">iTunes U</a> has tons of cool courses for free!</p> <h2>Teach Something</h2> <p>The best way to become an expert on something is to have deep knowledge of it and then try to teach it to others. It <a href="">works your brain</a> in a totally different (and good) way. Plus you&rsquo;ll meet some interesting people. Pick a sport/instrument/topic you know a lot about and teach your niece/nephew/child a basic concept about it &mdash; you gotta start somewhere!</p> <h2>Learn a Language</h2> <p>This is easier said than done, but if your job requires a lot of travel or will be investing in another country soon, then another language might be essential. Tip &mdash;<strong> </strong><a target="_blank" href="">Duolingo</a> is gonna be awesome.</p> <h2>Freelance</h2> <p>Freelancing is a great way to get a taste of another job without leaving your current one. It&rsquo;ll also teach you about handling clients, running a business, and marketing.<strong> </strong><a href="">Check out Craigslist</a> or ask your friends if they need help with something.</p> <h3>Be Smart About the Skills You Learn</h3> <p>Don't expect your boss to give you a raise simply because you can say &quot;hello&quot; in French. Be smart about which skills you tackle and how they fit into your career plan. If your company just signed a major client from France, then go ahead. If you're doing it because you like Paris, it probably won't have an effect on your value to the company.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">9 Fun Activities to Help You Tighten Up Your Work Skills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">People Who Love Expanding Their Minds Do These 13 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Learn From Your Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Personal Development investing in yourself learning skills Tue, 31 Jan 2012 11:00:16 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 880960 at