A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak about money to the teenaged girls in our church congregation. Thanks to all of you and your many good comments on this blog since January, I felt like I knew what kind of information would be most interesting and helpful to these girls who are just on the cusp of adulthood.
Here's what we discussed:
1. Getting a job and saving 50% of what you earn while in your teens. I also shared with them examples of impressive teenagers I've known through the years and the amounts of money they've been able to save in their bank accounts by the time they graduated from high school.
2. The cost of tuition at local and out-of-state colleges and universities. We even took a look at the cost of elite schools like Harvard and Stanford, just so they would know.
3. Typical salaries of standard jobs: surgeon, fire fighter, grocery store clerk, pilot, flight attendant, lawyer, school teacher. . . and what the monthly take-home pay (after federal taxes) would be for each of these jobs. So. . .is a college education really worth the time and money invested for your particular profession?
4. How much adult life costs: housing, groceries, transportation, utilities and insurance. True to one of my previous examples of teaching children about money, I brought in $3,000 (which is a typical take home salary if you make $50,000/year -- the average salary in Las Vegas) in cash -- in $10 bills. Together we paid the bills of a typical family in southern Nevada. Much to their surprise, we ran out of money, long before we ran out of bills. This was very eye-opening to this lovely group of girls.
5. How compound interest works. We walked through how compound interest works in your favor if you're saving money or investing, but how it works against you if you're paying off a loan or a credit card bill. We also discussed how the length of the loan (or investment) and the interest rate influence your payment (or return) and the total you will pay (or earn) over the lifetime of the loan (or investment).
It was a fun night, and I felt like the girls were right with me. But I'd love to know what YOU would have said to them? What do you wish someone had told you at their age?