First Paycheck Equals First Bills
• The first paycheck received by a high schooler is the day they realize that they do not have to rely on their parents to provide for them.
Of course, that is not the case, but the feeling is still there. As teenagers, earning money and being able to use that money to purchase anything is an amazing experience.
Whether it be buying food anytime or just being able to use the vending machine at school with self-earned dollars helps teenagers realize that working, while it might be tedious, has many benefits. However, along with the freedom and independence comes responsibilities.
“When I first got paid, I was overjoyed,” Kumon employee Anne Lee said. “The elation I felt dimmed when my parents expected me to pay for my own lunches and be able to manage my money well.
I never learned how to keep track of where all my money goes, but work has made me realize that to be successful and not blow all my money at one time, I need to keep myself in check and think of the consequences,” Lee said.
Teenagers, while they may be smart in their classes, have not been taught how to maintain their money and spend it wisely.
Many people are exposed to the concept of having their own money from an early age, receiving allowances weekly or monthly from their parents. They are able to spend that money on anything they would like, as they would from receiving a paycheck.
However, a paycheck has a much greater symbolic connotation to it. This is money that was earned through hard work, long hours and commitment. When the paycheck is given, the feeling is not the same as receiving an allowance from parents.
“My allowance is $15 a week, and I use that money to pay for my food and any other things that I need,” Ari Cho said.
“I do not currently have a job, but I want one just to be able to provide for myself and ensure that I will not need to depend solely on my parent’s money every week.”
While being able to handle the financial aspects of receiving a paycheck is a huge deal, teenagers are also able to bask in the glory of being able to purchase things from their own money.
Having a stable job is an opportunity for teenagers to get a glimpse of what their future would be like: working for most of the day to provide for their family as well as themselves.
“Once I learn how to handle my money and know how to save it up, I know I will be more prepared for my future,” Lee said.
“While I might be working at a job that pays minimum wage right now, I can experience just the fact that I have a job. I am proud of my work and accomplishments, and I love where I work.”