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Top 5 Financial Tips for Teens

Posted: 04/05/10 02:44 PM ET

Today, I am visiting Washington High School in Phoenix to present "The Fundamentals of Finance" seminar, in partnership with Plastyc, to encourage responsible money management skills. In conjunction with the seminar, we're posting these financial tips for teens:

Earn money

Besides gift-money or money you get from your parents, earn some more from a summer or part-time job that does not interfere with your school work. If you are creative, come up with your own things to sell. I (Amar'e) used to shovel snow in the winters in New York and babysit neighborhood kids to earn some extra dollars.

Save most

You are going to work really hard cleaning up an office, babysitting or helping a family friend to make the money you earn, so save what you can. We know money is tight right now and it may seem like you should spend it while you have it. We suggest saving most of it so that you can have money for something you want in the future. Money used to burn through my hands as a teenager until I (Amar'e) realized that I liked the feeling of having money in my bank account in case I needed it.

Spend some

Buy what you need. Look around for the best deals, look online, decide which options are best for you. As I (Patrice) tell my son, don't buy something just because everyone else has it. Be different and creative when making purchases.

Don't borrow

You may have no choice later, but avoid going into debt for as long as you can. There is no benefit for you in owing your parents or your friends money, unless it's for something important such as college or starting your own business as I (Patrice) did.

Watch out

Most check cashing services charge too much, and bank accounts and cards can be loaded with fees. There are plenty of comparison sites that can tell you what the lowest cost accounts and cards are, without having to read all the fine print. One example we can both recommend is www.bankrate.com.