I, like many other high schoolers and people in the United States, make minimum wage. It’s not a bad thing, I don’t find it degrading, and for what I do, it’s not a bad rate. Other people don’t seem to feel this way though, and some people just can’t seem to get minimum wage to work for them.
Honestly, I can say, I don’t have any debt yet. My goal is to never have a problem with debt. Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? No. So far, I’ve practiced good money management. At first, I just made sure I never spent more than I earned, and I made sure to put some of each check in savings. Now though, I’ve set up a budget. I keep track of my income and expenses on Quicken. I don’t know if there are better options out there, but this works for me, because it was free. It came with my laptop.
Some of my friends though, don’t do things the way I do. One friend of mine isn’t even paying anything related to his car yet (gas, insurance, etc.), but he recently complained to me about “having to pay 25 bucks for overdrafting” his checking account. For a few months, he made a lot more than I did, then he switched jobs and now makes the same as I do. It just doesn’t make sense to me how someone can be that careless with their money (no offense to anyone, sorry if I offend you). Seriously though, it’s hard at times not to buy new things, but he didn’t need the necklace, shoes, or anything else he bought then.
I guess one reason he spends his money this way is that he’s just like the regular high school student. He doesn’t look at the big picture and do things now about his future, he just expects it to happen the way he wants it to. The problem is made worse because he doesn’t even know what he wants his future to be.
I’m not 100% sure how I want my future to turn out, but is anyone really? The rough idea is there, and I know I need to start now to get there. Things won’t always go perfect, and some people like my friend can’t really be helped until it gets unbearably bad, but to anyone else my age who ends up reading this, start towards your future now.
Another reason to start as early as you can is the miracle of compound interest. The earlier you start the more it is on your side. Check out this post
at GenXFinance and this post
at AllFinancialMatters to see just how powerful it is (there are many more out there, these are just two that came to mind).