Parenting Blog

Dad Advice To His Kid Upon Getting Her First Job

This post is sponsored by Lexington Law Firm

So your kid got their first job, that’s awesome. Congrats to them…now what? Here’s some dad advice from a parent who’s been there on how to help kids balance life, time, and money now that they are working.

Save for seeing Hamilton in July of 2016, she’s never been the type to count down days. On March 2nd of this year though, smack dab on her 14th birthday, the first day she was able to, my first born marched into her 8th grade guidance counselor’s office to get her worker’s permit. She had been biding her time, eager to get a job (or two) and start earning money the old fashion way; meaning, not making slightly unrealistic sums of easy cash helping dad out with his writing and photography hustle.

dad advice to his teen for her first job

I wasn’t quite as keen on her being out in the wide wild world of wetail retail just yet but I quickly came to realize that this kid is my kid. I didn’t want to work for my dad either, even though the money was better than anything I could and would make washing dishing or restocking end caps.

So I put aside my dad fears and encouraged my bright, motivated teenager to spread her independent wings. She applied for a couple of gigs in the neighborhood and before long, she had two jobs — one at a kid’s salon helping with birthday parties, the other at an independently-owned toy store. It was kinda cool to suddenly be a dad who drives his kid to and from work. Was even cooler to suddenly be a dad with a whole new world of wisdom to pass on to his kid. Here’s some of my best parenting advice I gave (and still give) to my 14-year-old daughter after she got her first job.

dad advice to his kid when she got her first job

Dad Advice To His Kid Upon Getting Her First Job

Save More Than You Spend…

Listen, kid, you don’t have rent, a car payment, insurance, or pretty much any bills at all yet so take full advantage of the opportunity to stash away the majority of your paychecks the instant they hit your checking account. This will help you get into your first car or first apartment someday, and maybe take that first big European trip without mom and dad, all without taking on a load of debt. She and I agreed that 75% of each paycheck would be transferred to her savings account. The remainder stays in the spending bucket she’s nicknamed, Checky Checky. (Please don’t tell her that I’m telling you that cutesy nickname!)

…But Spend Some Money Too

What’s the point of all that hard work if you don’t enjoy some of the fruits of your labor, right? I advise her (and sometimes have to twist her frugal arm) to treat herself to that ice cream cone after work once a week, buy the mildly overpriced Cat Noir sweatpants from Hot Topic that she freaked out over when she saw them (seriously, kid, get them now while on sale 20% off!), and I say, “if you want another Pop! figure, just pony up the $8 or whatever and get it.” I tell her all the time to, “be smart about your spending week to week but have fun with the disposable income you have without fretting about it thanks to the knowledge that you are saving a whooping 75% of your pay!”

dad advice: life is short, order the ice cream

…All While Stressing The Importance of Living Within Means Before The Credit Offers Start Arriving

She’s got a job, she’s got bank accounts in her name, and she is rapidly approaching the age of nonstop credit card offers. This is prime time to instill healthy money habits in your child and begin honest conversations about credit. It is absolutely vital that your child be taught and retaught the value of living within her means while at the same time explaining that credit has its uses and benefits (even more so when you fully understand the offers and perks of each credit card — more on this in the coming weeks!) Now that your kid has a job, has money coming in bi-weekly, and is being allowed (even encouraged) to spend some of it, you their parent must complete the puzzle by addressing the basics of credit now!

Give Back As Often As You Can

We should encourage our kids to help others at every turn — it’s how we each as individuals can make the world a tiny bit a better place. My teen has been giving back to the causes she loves since she was a toddler by dropping off a few dollars, blankets, and home-baked treats to the local animal shelter. Most recently, she’s been known to loan money to women’s enterprises in developing countries through Kiva and contribute to teacher’s projects on Donor’s Choose. Now that she earns her own money, I am in her ear giving her more parenting advice, and setting a visible example, to continue being generous to those in need.

Help Pay For Gas (and maybe treat the family to a pizza once in a while)

She’s down to one job now because the saloon went bust, but the toy store is about a gallon of gas away from home in total over the course of 2 roundtrips to drop off and pick up. Because she needs to understand that transportation isn’t free (unless you are riding a bike, but even then there’s the initial cost of the ride and the helmet, maintenance, etc). Whether you are in a car, a bus, train or subway, there is a cost associated with getting to work. I don’t ask her to pay for the whole of it but every two weeks she forks over $10 for the cost of gas…and I’m hoping she will surprise the family one Friday night by offering to buy pizza for us (especially when she ups the price by asking for half pineapple!)

Organize Your Time and Take Time for Yourself

Hey kid, your life is getting excited but it is also getting busier. You have school, friends, family, chores, and now work so it is more important than ever before for you to organize your time. My best dad advice to you is to use that dry erase board hanging in your room to write out your week every Sunday morning and make sure you build in time for yourself — to read, play games on your phone, rewatch favorite episodes of Studio C, paint, draw, bake, play with your sister, and everything else you love in life. Maintaining balance as you stay on top of your growing list of responsibilities is crucial to living a happy, anxiety-free life!

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