4 Steps to Achieving Financial Freedom for Teen Entrepreneurs

November 16, 2023

The path to financial freedom must start early. At SECU, we believe in equipping the next generation with the tools they need to manage their money wisely. That’s why we’re now offering a new opportunity for teenagers from 13 to 17 to take their first steps towards smart money management.

Open your first checking account by making an appointment with the Virtual Financial Center (VFC) or a local SECU branch. Be sure to bring a parent or guardian over the age of 18 to serve as a joint owner on the account.

In this blog, we share SECU’s advice for teenagers as they take their first steps towards financial freedom. Read on for guidance on what to do with your money, managing part-time jobs and side hustles to improve your finances and achieve your career goals.

Key takeaways:

  • Learn the basic skills you need to become a small business owner trying a side hustle. Check out our side hustle ideas for teens and students below!
  • Approach your first steps into the workforce with an open mind. Even if your part-time job feels disconnected from your long-term goals, you’re building valuable skills.
  • Partner with SECU to create a top-notch budget that aligns with your objectives. This will help you maximize your first paycheck and all future ones.
  • Savings is 🔑: It’s what will bring your entrepreneurial dreams to life – and keep you on the path to financial freedom.

1. Start with a side hustle

Having a side hustle is an important step in managing your finances. If you’re a young entrepreneur, you can make money by selling old things online or working part-time on weekends.

Side hustles motivate you to earn money and grow your skills. You’ll learn everything from professional communication skills to simple money management.

Best side hustles for teens:

  • Leverage your hobbies and skills: Do you enjoy creating art or making crafts? Consider selling your creations online using Facebook Marketplace or at local events.
  • Become your neighborhood’s go-to caretaker: If you have experience taking care of pets or younger siblings, you can become the trusted sitter. This will allow you to offer services such as babysitting, pet sitting, or walking dogs. Offer your services to other local families to earn some extra cash.
  • Master the art of the online side hustle: From online survey-taking to virtual assistant jobs, there are countless ways to make money online. Just remember to be safe and protect your private information.

2. Get comfortable in the working world

Whatever your first experience in the working world may be, getting your foot in the door can be intimidating. Approach your side hustle, part-time job, or farmers market venture with a positive attitude and your eye on the long-term goal, and it will be a valuable experience.

Here are a few tips on building your professional skills. These tips come directly from people who have been through it before – working part-time, full-time, and even a few side gigs of our own:

  • If possible, select a job that aligns with your long-term business or financial objectives. Want to run your own boutique in Downtown Annapolis someday? Working part-time in a local store can teach you essential customer service skills.
  • Build relationships with educators, senior employees, local businesses, or friends and family who have knowledge about the industries you’re interested in pursuing. Ask your teachers about opportunities to learn more about business planning for startups. They might just connect you to classes at a business incubator in Baltimore.
  • Most importantly, have an open mind about your work experience. Your long-term career goals may have nothing to do with your part-time gig, but there are countless skills you’ll learn that will serve you in the future.

3. Use your first payment for a job as a springboard to financial freedom

Receiving your first payment for hard work is an exhilarating feeling. In the excitement, you’ll probably be torn on what exactly to do with your money. Then, once you start thinking about all the things you want to do with it, you’ll ultimately realize you wish there was more money! We’ve all been there. Use that as motivation to work hard and develop your professional skills.

So what should you do with your first few bucks? Whether you walk dogs or babysit, it’s likely that your first payment will be in cash. Instead of carrying it on you – where it’s more likely to be lost or stolen – deposit it into a SECU checking account. Deposits into your account not only safeguard your money but also allow you to earn interest and access rewards on debit payments.

SECU members can deposit cash at one of our 50,000+ free ATMs. Find a SECU ATM near you to deposit your money.

Set up direct deposit for your first official paycheck. Just like with cash, direct deposit reduces your risk of losing or misplacing your paycheck. Direct deposit also offers faster access to your funds. Your checking account offers a one-stop shop for all your financial management needs, including the ability to build a budget using SECU’s online budgeting tool.

Maximize your long-term savings with compound interest: You can essentially grow both your savings – and the interest you earn from it – just by starting young. This helps your money grow faster.

Craft a budget to achieve your financial goals. Budgeting can be a confusing process, and many adults don’t feel confident in their budgeting habits. Fortunately, SECU is here to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to budget effectively. We’re happy to help any time you want to talk about budgeting. Drop by the Virtual Financial Center during Open Lobby hours for a walk-in video chat.

Virtual Financial Center Open Lobby:

  • Mon–Fri 9AM–5PM
  • Sat 9AM–2PM

4. Open your first checking account with SECU

As a locally-owned credit union, we’re committed to providing simple, useful financial resources for people across Maryland. For teens, that means offering an all-in-one checking account that has everything you need to build smart money habits.

The SECU TotalTM Checking & Rewards account delivers simplified money management with maximum savings potential for teen entrepreneurs.

  • Automate deposits into your savings, so you don’t even have to think about it – your savings just grow.
  • Maximize your earning potential with SECU’s competitive interest rates
  • No monthly fees or minimum requirements

Plus, SECU’s check account grows with you. As your financial wellness needs grow, you get access to additional interest and cash-back opportunities. But first, you need a firm financial foundation.

Teen entrepreneurs: Set a strong foundation for your future career with SECU

By building your entrepreneurial skills and savings as a teen, you’re setting a strong foundation for your future career. Embrace the learning process, stay curious, and keep pushing your boundaries – these qualities will serve you well on your entrepreneurial path. For quick tips on setting your financial priorities, check out Budgeting for Life After High School.

Ready to open your first checking account? Get started now using the Virtual Financial Center (VFC) or in a local SECU branch. All you need is necessary identification and a joint owner over the age of 18. We’ll issue you a debit card to match, and you’ll be on the road to financial independence.

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