Maggie Lin, a 17-year-old high school student from Baruch College Campus High School, has worked every summer since she was 14. In addition to the money that she makes in her summer jobs, her mom also gives her a weekly allowance whenever she runs out. In an attempt to save, she keeps her money in a box at home. However, the money she saves wonâÂÂt last for longâÂÂshe plans to spend it on Black Friday shopping.
Many teens do not understand the importance of money management or the importance of saving their money, several admitted during interviews. Many also said they think there are differences in spending habits between young people who work and those who receive allowances from parents.
âÂÂI am definitely tempted to spend the money with me. Whatever I have, I spend it. I spend on clothes and shoes,âÂÂ Lin says.
âÂÂMy mom gives me a few guides as to what to spend, what not to spend and to buy things that I need and not things that I want,âÂÂ Lin says. âÂÂShe always tells me that I have too much clothes but I never listen to her. She doesnâÂÂt have control over the money I worked for.âÂÂ
Teens who only receive allowance say they rely on their parents to help them when they run out of money. They do not need to consider the possibility of going entirely broke because their parents would always give them more money, or buy them the things that they want.
âÂÂMy mom buys all my clothes and makeup and everything. And when I go shopping, she just gives me extra money,âÂÂ says Hui Yi Liang, a high school student at Baruch College Campus High School.
âÂÂMy parents usually get me what I want because I do well in school and IâÂÂm not a âÂÂbadâÂÂ kid,âÂÂ says Kristin Liang, also a student from Baruch College Campus High School. âÂÂI usually buy it regardless of the price, but I would be more likely to buy if it was on sale.âÂÂ
However, not all teens who receive allowance spend mindlessly.
âÂÂI look at the prices [and] discounts to show that I am smart enough to manage my money,âÂÂ says Xiao Ming Chen, a 17-year-old who only receives allowance from her parents.
âÂÂThe only person who works is my dad, so both my mom and I try to save money for our own use and not to spend all of it,âÂÂ says Kathy Chiam, a 17- year- old student at Baruch College Campus High school. âÂÂI always ask myself, do I really need to buy it? I always try to save some money when I go shopping. But if itâÂÂs something I really want, I would only buy that and nothing else and go window shopping.âÂÂ
According to a survey conducted by Charles Schwab, an investment bank, 86 percent of teens say they would rather learn about money management in a class before making mistakes in the real world, and 75 percent say that learning about money management, including budgeting, saving, and investing is one of their top priorities.
According to Mandy Lau, a Personal Finance teacher in Baruch College Campus High School, having emergency funds would be extremely helpful when going through a job loss or health issues in life.
âÂÂI think teaching personal finance to high school students is so important because it teaches individuals at a young age how to be responsible with their money in order to avoid dire financial situations in the future,âÂÂ she said.
Most teens have the intent to save for the future, but some, like 16-year-old Vivian Chow, just canâÂÂt resist spending when they see something that they like.
âÂÂIf itâÂÂs something I really, really want, IâÂÂll just suck it up and buy it,âÂÂ she said.