Author Topic: What a teenager should do with his money?  (Read 7878 times)

Eddy

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What a teenager should do with his money?
« on: April 15, 2014, 08:48:11 AM »
Hello, my name is Eddy and I started reading the Mustache some weeks ago. I must say, this changed my perspective on so many ways, that I'm truly grateful both to Mr. Money Mustache and his readers (you offer great insights and examples!)

Now, I'm a 18 years old teenager. I just began working in a Burger King and I think it would be a great experience as my first job. I'll go to a cheap college, and financial aid will pay for it (I'm going to study Nursing). So I don't need to work for college. The thing is, what I should do with the money? Being honest, partly I want to work for the experience, because I think it would make me a more mature and independent person. My parents already want me to buy a car, but I don't like that idea because I don't need it, and I don't want to pay things like insurance. Nor I don't need/want new clothes or new gadgets, because I am already Mustachianized. The another thing is that, I value money as time invested, and I want my time well invested and not spend on fast food, or movies, or clothes. Especially because if I work while being in college at least some time, I will spend time a lot of time working that would have been spent on learning.

The thing is, of course, I could work and begin investing what I earn. But is it worthy at 8 dollars an hour while being in college? Of course, later I will escalate and will get better paid, because I won't stay at the same job for four years, and probably I will find another source of money. But is it worth the time spent? Or perhaps, I could just work fpr 1 year, and pay for the other 3 years, and wait until I am able to become a nurse?

Thank you very much!

Spork

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 08:51:54 AM »

*IF* you really don't have needs for a car, there is certainly no reason to get one...  And *if* you really don't have a place for your money, I would strongly suggest you put it somewhere like a Roth IRA.

If you really started seriously squirreling money into a Roth at 18... you would have some serious money some day.  The power of compounding over time is something most of us don't learn at 18.  Most of us are late 20s or 30s before we start seeing that light.

jpo

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2014, 09:09:30 AM »
Travel fund, while you're young and unattached.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 09:11:44 AM »
Roth IRA. I got mine when I was 17! You can use it to buy a house later if you want to and you can actually access the principle for other purposes if you need to. Or do think about traveling as PP suggested.

nereo

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2014, 09:47:09 AM »
I also strongly support the IRA. 
If I had to point to the single financial thing I did right, it was funding my IRA when I was a teenager.  The sheer importance that time can have on returns is astounding. If you do nothing else except fund your IRA every year, you can retire before 90% of your peers.

EDIT: Just don't make my mistake and go with a managed fund with 2% fees.  Choose a low cost index fund and 'fuhgeddaboudit".  You'll be a millionaire in your 50s with no extra effort.  Save even more in your 20s and you can retire in your 30s.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 09:53:21 AM by nereo »

samburger

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 10:35:58 AM »
Roth IRA and travel! Investing money ASAP is the smartest thing you can do, and traveling while you can is the second smartest thing you can do.

When I was a teen, I sunk all my money into traveling and I don't regret a thing. I spent 2 months road tripping and camping around the US one summer, and I can't tell you how much fun it was.

Think of your teen years as a pre-tirement. Have fun, explore, and enjoy your freedom before you're locked down by a job.


AJ

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2014, 10:41:48 AM »
Whaaaaat?!? You are my hero for figuring this stuff out so young. I know exactly zero 18 year olds who are "with it" enough to want to start investing the money from their very first job. Awesome!

Don't buy a car because other people tell you to get one. Everyone will tell you that you need one, because they can't understand being car-free, but if you are doing fine without one then don't. I don't know loads about Nursing, but if you are on-call you will probably need a car then. Until such a time, enjoy the financial freedom that car-less-ness offers :)

As to whether it is worth it to invest while going to college, I would say yes for a few reasons:

1) you are very right about getting experience in the workplace. Not only will it grow you as a person, it will grow your resume and references. Insofar as it doesn't negatively impact your studies, it will behoove you to progress in your career now (even if that is just moving up the Burger King ladder). It looks good to show that you are able to take on increasing responsibilities.

2) Small amounts invested now will be big amounts later. Compounding FTW!

3) If you are interested in investing beyond simply dumping money in a S&P index, then there is much to learn. Better to start now and learn with small amounts than to wait and learn on big amounts. If you make a foolish investment now and lose $1k you will learn a lesson that might have cost you $10k if made later in life.

galliver

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2014, 11:15:30 AM »
Two things...
1) You sound like a smart teen. Get out of BK. Keep your resume circulating and look for jobs where you'll have a chance to learn more substantial skills than operating a fryer and cash register. You'll probably have more fun, too. My choices were tutoring and summer camp counselor because that's where my talents lie. You might be able to find something in healthcare--my friend was a part-time receptionist at a dentist's office, my bf's sister (senior in college, also looking at nursing) has a "patient-watching" position at a hospital, and my mom did some non-medical home care of elderly persons for a while. Basically, there are "unskilled" jobs in the medical/care industry where you might be able to rub elbows with medical professionals and pick up some higher-level career skills by association. Bet you could find something if you looked!

2) I hope by "don't need a car" you mean you can get around by public transit and/or bike, not that you're relying on rides from friends and parents (I don't think "I don't need a car because I can get rides" really counts...) I say this as someone who really hasn't needed a car since I got my driver license and work authorization at 19 and has not had a car ever, so I'm not saying it's impossible. Just pointing out your frugality shouldn't be at the cost of someone else's inconvenience (because then it's cheapness). :)

phred

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 11:39:07 AM »
Like many questions in life, it all depends.  What kind of college - commuter or live in dorm?  First year students living away from home are generally not allowed cars on campus.  Independent off-campus parking/storage will cost, and car may be broken into.  So, don't buy a car you're just going to have for a year or less.  You may also need ready cash to pay for housing, meal-plan and even just to go out with friends once in a while
  Keep the BK job until college starts.  Otherwise, your length of service will look short; potential employers will then wonder if you can stick with it or have problems dealing with people.
  Financial aid doesn't always cover 100%.  Sometimes it doesn't even include textbooks, training kits and student nurse uniforms.  Also, you may need some cash up front for summer housing during a summer nurse internship; there is rarely financial aid for that.  So, don't be in such a hurry to ditch the cash.
  Investing is admirable.  At your stage, I would put some time and money in learning how/what to invest in.  So many people recommend index funds that index funds are starting to take on the characteristics of a bubble.
 Lastly, leave out some cash for a summer of hiking in the French Alps/wherever.  Between now and undergrad graduation is the free-est time of your life.  Don't waste it worrying about how fast your IRA is growing.

nereo

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 11:51:36 AM »
...  So many people recommend index funds that index funds are starting to take on the characteristics of a bubble.
 
Huhhhhhhh?????  I was nodding i agreement with your post until I got to that sentence.  How can investing in index funds (particuarly total market funds or other broad-market funds) be akin to a bubble?  I'm asking because I'd really like to know your reasoning there. 
If you are saying the market in general is overvalued, that is a debatable point.  But owning an index fund is owning tiny slivers of hundreds (or thousands) of companies. It's no concentrating money into any sector.  It's dispersing money across the entire, publically traded business economy.

EricL

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 11:52:20 AM »
Damn.  I thought by the title it was a parent asking the question.  I WAS going to say a teen should blow his money on cars, gadgets and chics.  Then the parent can say, when the kid hits his '20's and has to deal with a real world job and either no school or expensive school "that's what FIRE is like."  That would provide a lot of motivation. 

But since you're already tracking with the Mustache program (and a good MANY years prior to when I did) and know what you want and don't want (like nursing and a car) my hat is off to you! 

ketchup

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2014, 12:07:25 PM »
Don't get a car until (if) you need one.  They are money pits.  Even cheap cars are expensive.  Expensive cars are really expensive.  If your parents insist on you getting a car, buy a $250 scrapheap and park it in their driveway.  Cheaper than owning and operating a vehicle.

You'll probably still be on the hook for some college costs, as some have said here (books, etc.) so be ready for that.

Simply having your mindset in the right place this young will reap gigantic dividends.  I'm 23 and was always a "saver" but realized a few years ago that I was constantly saving-to-spend, not truly saving.  Changing that has been huge.

Living at home (assuming a stable environment, etc) for as long as possible is a great way to save money.  That's how I was able to buy a small cheap house at 20.  My savings rate was north of 90% when living at home.

Spork

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2014, 01:10:06 PM »
Like many questions in life, it all depends.  What kind of college - commuter or live in dorm?  First year students living away from home are generally not allowed cars on campus.  Independent off-campus parking/storage will cost, and car may be broken into. 

Pretty sure that's going to vary wildly -- not that it's really pertinent to this discussion.   I can assure you in my area of the country this is not the case.

galliver

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2014, 01:38:22 PM »
Two things...
1) You sound like a smart teen. Get out of BK. Keep your resume circulating and look for jobs where you'll have a chance to learn more substantial skills than operating a fryer and cash register. You'll probably have more fun, too.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  I agree that Eddy is indeed wise for his age just for being here!  If he wants to keep his resume circulating, that's fine, but I say keep the BK job until something better comes along because every job teaches you something.  As I teen I worked our local DQ and in addition to working the grill, fryer, and cash register, I learned how to multi-task and deal with crabby people.  Good skills to have.  Use these as building blocks to your character.

To clarify: I didn't mean quit and then look for something better. I just meant that I feel like a lot of young people don't look outside the food service/retail areas for entry-level (min wage) jobs, whereas there are plenty of other options for a punctual, respectful, literate, and eager-to-learn young adult. I think they might be more fun, interesting, educational, and look better on a resume. (I mean, I would be more likely to ask someone about working on an organic farm than in BK, for example. Granted lots of those are volunteer-operated, but that's the general idea.)

Argyle

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2014, 02:07:51 PM »
The single best decision I ever made in my life is that when someone gave me a (very small, graduation present) windfall when I was 18, I invested it.  It's so easy to blow through money at any age, but especially when you're a teenager and you don't have all the usual expenses (rent/mortgage, insurance, meals, etc. etc. etc.) to remind you how fast money can be used up by everyday life.  Sock that money away in an IRA now and forget about it and down the road you will be sitting pretty while everyone else is up to their eyeballs in debt and working like maniacs.  The miracle of compounding works fabulously when you start this early.  That money is still earning me money and it has multiplied to about 40x its original value.

The biggest financial mistake of my life is when I started a job at age 24 and my mother said, "Now's the time to put some of that money in your retirement account."  I said, "Why would I be thinking about retirement?  That's unthinkably far away!"  So I squandered the money like every other idiot.  If I had socked that money away, retirement would have been a lot closer.  So make my early good choice, not my early bad choice!  Good for you for taking control of your life!

mxt0133

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2014, 02:12:55 PM »
First I would like to say that it is very impressive to have your mentality at such a young age, it will serve you well in life to be conscious of your values and to sometimes question what others tell you if it doesn't feel right.

Most here have already made great recommendations on what to do with your money.  What I would like to add is you try and get experience in the field that you choose to study.  As an example, like you I worked in retail, BlockBuster, before and during college.  When my brother was in college, nursing program as well, around his third year into it he had to do some lab work, cadavers I think, and he found out that he did not like dealing with the human body.  So he switch to another degree just to complete his BA, he is now a network architect.  That got me thinking that I should have an idea on what I will be doing after college and get an internship.  I got a job as an intern my sophomore year and it really gave me a great head start in my career.  I got a better idea of what skills are required and experience in the soft skills that college does not prepare you for.  I was able to target my efforts on what classes I should be taking and if there were required determine if I should try and get an A or just get a passing grade.  It also paid way more than any retail job, even as a manager, allowing me to travel during my college years.

Also as others have suggested pursue your interests, whatever they maybe, travel, art, music, ect.  They do not have to be expensive and you have the luxury of time to pursue them without the responsibilities of rent, mortgage, family, ect.

Good luck and keep us posted.

StarryC

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2014, 02:18:46 PM »
If you want to be a nurse, you might consider looking for work as a home health aid/ nursing assistant/ hospital orderly.  It would be relevant to your career plan, probably pay slightly (very slightly) more, and might help you be sure nursing is right for you.   Nothing wrong with Burger King, but since I bet you already KNOW you don't want to be a BK manager, it might be go to be sure you KNOW you want to be a nurse before investing the time into it. 

1) Save an emergency fund.  Seriously, this will prevent a lot of suffering over the next 10 years.  I would say that about $3,000-$5,000 would be good.  Boring 1% interest account for this.

2) Save for things you probably will need to buy in the next 3 years.  A computer for school that is reliable? A cell phone of some sort? Security, first and last on an apartment?  3 years of transit passes?  3 years of bike repairs?  Books?  Travel?  Even if you know you will get 100% of tuition paid by scholarships/grants, there will probably be other expenses you need to pay while in school.  If you don't want to work while in school, try to have a lot of this saved.
 
3) Retirement, via the Roth IRA.

Why this order?  Just getting done with school without ANY debt will put you miles ahead.  Compounding is important, of course, but not at the cost of 17% interest on credit card debt. 

horsepoor

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2014, 02:44:30 PM »
Two things...
1) You sound like a smart teen. Get out of BK. Keep your resume circulating and look for jobs where you'll have a chance to learn more substantial skills than operating a fryer and cash register. You'll probably have more fun, too.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  I agree that Eddy is indeed wise for his age just for being here!  If he wants to keep his resume circulating, that's fine, but I say keep the BK job until something better comes along because every job teaches you something.  As I teen I worked our local DQ and in addition to working the grill, fryer, and cash register, I learned how to multi-task and deal with crabby people.  Good skills to have.  Use these as building blocks to your character.

To clarify: I didn't mean quit and then look for something better. I just meant that I feel like a lot of young people don't look outside the food service/retail areas for entry-level (min wage) jobs, whereas there are plenty of other options for a punctual, respectful, literate, and eager-to-learn young adult. I think they might be more fun, interesting, educational, and look better on a resume. (I mean, I would be more likely to ask someone about working on an organic farm than in BK, for example. Granted lots of those are volunteer-operated, but that's the general idea.)

Agreed - look for something that will be at least tangentially related to your future career.  If you don't need the money, that can free you up to try unpaid or low-paid internships, so you could get some experience at a doctor's office, or processing samples in a lab or something.  These jobs usually pay marginally better than burger flipper, too.  You might also be able to find good-paying summer work, if you'll be on a traditional school schedule.  I was able to work at an aluminum plant one summer during college, and it would have pretty much paid for my school if I'd been able to do that every summer.  Just keep your eye out for opportunities, and ask around, too.

phred

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2014, 02:57:11 PM »
Like many questions in life, it all depends.  What kind of college - commuter or live in dorm?  First year students living away from home are generally not allowed cars on campus.  Independent off-campus parking/storage will cost, and car may be broken into. 

Pretty sure that's going to vary wildly -- not that it's really pertinent to this discussion.   I can assure you in my area of the country this is not the case.
Actually quite pertinent as he wants to go to college, and his parents want him to buy a car.  This from U-M (not my alma mater):"Parking for students at the University of Michigan is extremely limited, and the University recommends that students leave their cars at home. With the easy availability of free buses on campus and in the city of Ann Arbor, most students find that bringing cars to campus is not usually necessary, and often not worth the expense and the effort.

Freshmen and sophomores are not eligible to apply for any parking permits offered through U-M Parking & Transportation Services. Juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for permits, but the demand exceeds the supply. In addition, most permits do not allow for “storage” parking (defined as leaving your vehicle continuously parked in a lot or structure for periods greater than 24 hours).

Due to the limited parking situation, students living in residence halls are strongly encouraged not to bring cars to campus. There is no permit parking adjacent to most of the residence halls. University Housing does offer a limited number of spaces to residents of Bursley, Baits, and Fletcher residence halls through a lottery held during move-in. However, the demand for these spaces exceeds the supply. Students should contact the hall directly for details about the lottery."

Non-university or private parking seems to be $155 a month and up.  So, it depends

Spork

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2014, 06:28:34 PM »
Like many questions in life, it all depends.  What kind of college - commuter or live in dorm?  First year students living away from home are generally not allowed cars on campus.  Independent off-campus parking/storage will cost, and car may be broken into. 

Pretty sure that's going to vary wildly -- not that it's really pertinent to this discussion.   I can assure you in my area of the country this is not the case.
Actually quite pertinent as he wants to go to college, and his parents want him to buy a car.  This from U-M (not my alma mater):"Parking for students at the University of Michigan is extremely limited, and the University recommends that students leave their cars at home. With the easy availability of free buses on campus and in the city of Ann Arbor, most students find that bringing cars to campus is not usually necessary, and often not worth the expense and the effort.

Freshmen and sophomores are not eligible to apply for any parking permits offered through U-M Parking & Transportation Services. Juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for permits, but the demand exceeds the supply. In addition, most permits do not allow for “storage” parking (defined as leaving your vehicle continuously parked in a lot or structure for periods greater than 24 hours).

Due to the limited parking situation, students living in residence halls are strongly encouraged not to bring cars to campus. There is no permit parking adjacent to most of the residence halls. University Housing does offer a limited number of spaces to residents of Bursley, Baits, and Fletcher residence halls through a lottery held during move-in. However, the demand for these spaces exceeds the supply. Students should contact the hall directly for details about the lottery."

Non-university or private parking seems to be $155 a month and up.  So, it depends

My point was: around these parts that restriction does not even exist.  Not even a little.  I think for a while I had 2 parking permits.... not that this was a good thing....   All I meant was that "generally not allowed" is going to vary wildly.

phred

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2014, 07:49:05 PM »
Correct, but what university will he be going to?  Their student handbook trumps our opinions.  OP needs to consult it before making a car decision.

Joel

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2014, 09:42:58 AM »
Get involved with school. Make friends. Join organizations. Be involved with school. Network with recruiters. Look for internships. BK is a good starting point for now, but you should be able to find a better job within a year. There is no shortage of internship opportunities for students, and that's how you are going to get a job after you graduate college is having a résumé that shows you can handle more than just school.

As far as what to invest in. You are young, live at your parents, and have minimal experience paying for everything life throws at you. It would probably be worthwhile to save a small chunk of money so you have some freedom if you end up needing a car, or wanting to move out, or wanting to go on a road trip. Maybe invest a percentage of every dollar received, but at 18, you can think you have life figured out, but you will be surprised how much you will change over the next 4-5 years, and there's a lot of things that having some cash available to you would be great for.

Personally I always try to have 10-15k cash available. And I started working at 16, while going to college. I worked 40s. Being able to show I was an excellent student plus I managed working while in school and was involved with multiple clubs is what got me my career after I graduated. Another good idea is to start and keep a budget. I started using ynab at 18 and it was incredibly helpful. My goal was to max out my IRA every year, and by my last year of college I was finally able to do that.

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2014, 09:56:35 AM »
A few thoughts:

- Do not lock yourself into a car unless you want a car. Getting used to not having one now might give you some good perspective. I always thought having a car is just what everyone did... little did I know.
- No doubt BK will be an eye-opening experience for someone who hasn't had a job before, but don't waste your time there for more than a few months. Learn a little about what it's like to have a job, then move on to a real one. Being frugal is only part of the equation to reaching FI. You need to generate revenue and you can do  much better than BK.
- Find a job or paid internship in a field you are either interested in or that will give you meaningful skills, or, find a job at your new school that allows you to study at the same time. I know a lot of people who checked ID's at the gym from behind a desk and did their homework as they did this. It also keeps you in the community.

Good Luck!

El Limon

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2014, 10:30:08 AM »
Save money, stay out of consumer debt, and invest in yourself. I would not even be looking at the market at your age unless you've been given an inheritance. The first step to building wealth is to first acquire human capital--knowledge and skills that can be sold in the free market. The more human capital you have, the higher price you can demand for your services. In your case, that means earning a five-star nursing degree and aiming high in the field. That will cost money and time, but it will payoff bigtime, and then you can worry about what to do with your financial capital.           

MrsPete

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2014, 10:12:17 AM »
Hello, my name is Eddy and I started reading the Mustache some weeks ago. I must say, this changed my perspective on so many ways, that I'm truly grateful both to Mr. Money Mustache and his readers (you offer great insights and examples!)

Now, I'm a 18 years old teenager. I just began working in a Burger King and I think it would be a great experience as my first job. I'll go to a cheap college, and financial aid will pay for it (I'm going to study Nursing). So I don't need to work for college. The thing is, what I should do with the money? Being honest, partly I want to work for the experience, because I think it would make me a more mature and independent person. My parents already want me to buy a car, but I don't like that idea because I don't need it, and I don't want to pay things like insurance. Nor I don't need/want new clothes or new gadgets, because I am already Mustachianized. The another thing is that, I value money as time invested, and I want my time well invested and not spend on fast food, or movies, or clothes. Especially because if I work while being in college at least some time, I will spend time a lot of time working that would have been spent on learning.

The thing is, of course, I could work and begin investing what I earn. But is it worthy at 8 dollars an hour while being in college? Of course, later I will escalate and will get better paid, because I won't stay at the same job for four years, and probably I will find another source of money. But is it worth the time spent? Or perhaps, I could just work fpr 1 year, and pay for the other 3 years, and wait until I am able to become a nurse?

Thank you very much!
My answer won't be just like everyone else's:

1.  Always be clear on your goals.  I suspect your #1 goal at this point is to attend college and earn a nursing degree.  Your financial goals should be designed to promote this #1 goal.  Investing is wonderful -- but at 18 years old, investing is #2 to earning the degree.  The degree will allow you to earn more money for the rest of your life -- and that you'll invest.  When you wonder what to do, always go back to the question, "What is my #1 goal at this point?" 

2.  I'm not sure how firm your plans are.  You say you're 18 -- if you're just finishing your junior year, you're right on track.  On the other hand, if you're just finishing your senior year and don't have that "cheap college" nailed down yet, you're behind.  Also, you say you're going to go to school on financial aid -- do you KNOW THIS, or just hope it's true?  Almost no one gets "everything" paid through financial aid; even if you are awarded a financial aid package that covers your tuition, you'll still have books, transportation and incidentals to cover.  You don't mention dorms, so I'm assuming you're planning to continue to live at home during college?  These things are essential questions. 

3.  The car.  You're right that during your freshman and sophomore year of college, you won't really need a car.  You'll be taking Chem, Bio, etc. -- all on campus classes.  A car during those first two years of college is a big expense . . . for a tiny pay-off.  However, I'll echo what another poster said:  If you "don't need a car" because you're counting on your parents or other people for rides, that's not a long-term solution.  If you're expecting your parents to drive you to college every day for four years, you will definitely need to reconsider. 

4.  All that will change when you're a junior -- it is EXPENSIVE to be a junior nursing major.  I suggest that if you want to invest your current earnings, you consider something like a one-year CD.  Do not tie up anything in a long-term IRA -- you're going to need that money when you're a junior, and your financial aid will not increase to cover the things I'm about to discuss: 

The first big expense you're going to hit is a mandatory summer school between sophomore and junior year.  All nursing majors are required to take this class.  The purpose of the class is to take you through the CNA 2 class and get you certified.  They want you to have this before you begin your Nursing Clincials in the fall.  So that's a semester of tuition, books and possibly housing that isn't covered by financial aid . . . and at the end of that class, you have to pay to take the state test to become a CNA 2.  That test is over $100.

When you're a junior -senior nursing major, a car will become a need.  Trust me on this:  My daughter is about to finish her sophomore year as a nursing major, so I know.  For the last 5 semesters of her college years (summer school + 4), she will be doing Nursing Clinicals.  This is standard practice everywhere.  Her school advisors will assign her WHERE she is to go; she will have NO SAY in the location or the time, and she'll end up going to ALL the locations at some point in her 5 semesters.  She's been lucky:  For her first experience in summer school, she's in the group who'll be doing Clinicals right there in their college town -- she can ride the bus.  But in the fall she knows she'll be assigned to a different hospital that's just over an hour away (and she has to go three times a week).  Next spring she might be back in her college town, or she could be somewhere far again.  You can see that a car will be a necessity when she's a junior.   Her good friends all ended up in different assignments for summer school and fall semester.  This may not remain true for the later semesters, and I do expect that she'll get to know the people who are in her group, and I expect they'll share rides once fall begins -- but it's just not reasonable to expect to "bum rides" for 5 semesters.  I agree with the poster who says, "Don't lock yourself into a car now" -- but the time will come that it'll become a necessity, and you'll be better off if you're aware of that and prepared financially. 

Also, when my daughter begins Nursing Clinicals, she'll need to wear school-colored "scrubs".  We've already bought her simple black scrub pants at a discount place we know ($8 per pair -- great price!) but she'll be forced to buy her scrub tops from the campus bookstore -- they must be embroidered with her school logo and her name.  I don't know yet what they're going to cost, but I expect them to be pricey.  The good news is that she'll use them constantly for her 5 semesters:  Roughly 3 times a week x three 14 week semesters x 4 + one 8 week summer school.  I already told her that whatever they cost, I'll buy her five so that we won't have to go back and replace them later.   They may be rags by the time she graduates.  Good shoes are also an absolute necessity (and her high school nursing teachers were a little fussy about exactly what was acceptable); she'll be on her feet working constantly -- the shoes are a necessity for her comfort and for protection against body fluids. 

Once you begin Nursing Clinicals, you may not be able to work as many hours as you are now.  Some semesters you'll be spending more hours on the road than you'll like, and you'll have significant work outside of Clinicals.  Those last semesters are going to be tough.   If you have some money put aside, you'll be able to drop back on your hours . . . and still eat. 

The last big hit to junior nursing majors is the books.  My college roommates were nursing majors, and I remember that they each paid $900 for their books their first junior semester.  (I was horrified, knowing that I simply wouldn't have been able to do it -- and this was in the 80s.)  The good news is that they needed very few books for their remaining semesters.  Regardless, books that semester are something about which nursing majors warn one another.  Expect a HUGE bill. 

When you're talking to the nursing professors and older students, ask them about the things I've said.  You may find variations in my details, but you'll find that nursing (while a great choice for a career -- a growing profession, needed everywhere in the world, pays fairly) is an expensive college degree to earn. 

Other people on this thread are saying, "Invest!  Invest!"  However, having a daughter who's involved in the program in which you plan to enroll, I cannot jump on that bandwagon.  Instead, I say, "Save!  Save!"  Continue working, hold onto that money, perhaps put it away in a short-term CD . . . but you're going to need it for your last two years of college. 

5.  I'll reiterate something someone else said:  Avoid debt.  It's almost assumed that you'll take on debt in college.  When you fill out the FAFSA form, you WILL be offered loans.  And you have to make a point to turn them down at every step.  You don't have to seek them out -- they will be offered to you!  Avoid debt.  Live cheaply while you're in college.  It's so much better in the long run:  When you graduate, your future will belong completely to you. 

6.  Look for ways to save money in college.  You can find plenty of ways to live cheaply, to buy books for better prices, and to find cheap fun.  One thing that surprised us:  My daughter's college automatically adds $800 of insurance to every student's bill every semester.  If you have your own health insurance, you just have to go online and let them know the details, and they drop it . . . but you have to do it every single semester.

7.  Make a four-year plan and take great, great care in choosing your classes.  If you just choose this or that -- things that sound fun, you're probably not going to graduate in four years, and that's expensive!  Read your handbook and find out what general degree requirements fulfill this or that requirement.  Listen to what your advisor says, but also research on your own.  And keep in mind that GRADES MATTER.  At the end of your sophomore year, you're going to have to apply to get into the nursing program, and only about 1/3 of the students at my daughter's college were admitted into nursing.  That is, only about 1/3 of them even get the chance to do the Nursing Clinicals that I discussed above.

8.  Your job.  I'm not sure why you think Burger King will be a "great experience" for a first job -- unless you're anticipating being able to look back to say, "Wow, I've come a long way!"  It's hard work, and you'll never make much more than minimum wage.  If you are still in high school, I suggest you look into whether your high school offers a vocational class that allows you to become a CNA while you're still in high school.  My daughter did this, and she works on campus at the college health center.  She makes more than minimum wage, her boss understands that she's a student and works around her schedule, and one day it'll look better on a resume than food service.  Another option for a person who has a CNA is Home Health. 

Good luck to you!   

Eddy

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2014, 09:33:20 PM »
Wow, thank you every one for your advices! I'm really impressed about how supportive you are! Thank you very much!

First, I will stay with my parents while I am in college so I won't pay rent, and I won't live so far from my college (5 miles), at least for the first two years. Then, perhaps I might need a car because public transport here in Miami is expensive and because I'm living with my parents, I can't move. Financial aid offered me a loan with a really low interest, but it is not necessary because I'll also receive a grant that will pay for the first two years of my college (and I can apply for it every year, of course!) As Mrs. Pete said (and thank you for your long response, I appreciate your advice!) I will need money in my Junior year, but as I will take general courses in my freshman and sophomore year, it is still far from now. I don't worry about books, and I don't know why everyone say that they are expensive when you can buy them used at less than $10 if they are past editions.

I would like to start my life after college with the right foot, and well, that's why I'm writing here. I need to repeat it, thank you for your responses!

This Friday I will receive my first paycheck (yay!) and I will spend part of the money on some dumbbells, and I will save the rest for a trip to Venezuela in December (I forgot to say, I'm Venezuelan and have been living in the U.S. for a year. I will save money yearly to go there, even though right now there are a lot of struggles there. But for personal reasons, I must go there) Also I'll save money for things that I might need in the next years, so durable things. No food, no clothes. At the same time, I'll try to save for the future. If a car becomes a necessity in the future, my parents would help me get one, but as for now, it is not necessary.

About my new job, I don't expect to stay there forever. I hope to get a job somehow in the health care field, and I'll try to get CNA training this fall (sadly I can't do that before), or anything of the sort.

Thank you for your posts! If you have any additional comments, I'll appreciate your response!

galliver

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2014, 10:01:16 PM »
I don't worry about books, and I don't know why everyone say that they are expensive when you can buy them used at less than $10 if they are past editions.

Ask the professor before going ahead with this plan. Content can change significantly between some editions; and some colleges require you to have online codes for homework sites through the publisher and stuff like that. Profs are typically understanding and will tell you how critical it is to have the most recent book.

Visiting the home country is very important! Good call.

Good luck! :)

MrsPete

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Re: What a teenager should do with his money?
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2014, 09:36:51 AM »
I'll also receive a grant that will pay for the first two years of my college (and I can apply for it every year, of course!)
That's great!  Do note that you probably have to maintain a certain GPA to renew the grant.  Even if that's not true, you're going to have to apply to officially enter the nursing program in the second semester of your sophomore year, so grades are of paramount importance. 

The obvious question:  This is a two-year grant, so how will you pay tuition in your last five semesters?  Your grant will expire just as your expenses increase.  You have ample time to prepare yourself. 
As Mrs. Pete said (and thank you for your long response, I appreciate your advice!) I will need money in my Junior year, but as I will take general courses in my freshman and sophomore year, it is still far from now. I don't worry about books, and I don't know why everyone say that they are expensive when you can buy them used at less than $10 if they are past editions.
Glad to be helpful -- this is a subject about which I know. 

Finding books for $10 isn't as easy as you think -- you'll luck into them occasionally, but it's not like they're so plentiful that you'll trip over them walking into the book store.  Past editions aren't always acceptable, especially now that book publishers are including a portion of the material on disks . . . disks with codes that can only be used once.  My daughter's Chemistry book was $360, and it was brand new.  Brand new meaning just published, not available anywhere in used form.  Also you'll need to buy a lab manual for each of your science classes, and I don't know why they charge so much for them!  They tend to be 100 pages or so and run $30; since they're consumable and you write in them (and turn them in to your professor), you're not going to get those used.  Realistically, you're going to score the occasional great price, and you're going to resell the books . . . but you're also going to pay big for other classes.  If you've got money saved and you do luck into cheap books, you'll be fine -- you just save your money -- but don't assume you're going to take 5 classes and end up paying $50 for books.