Dear Mr. Suffrin: I am a 16-year-old high school student and my parents say that I need to learn financial responsibility with my allowance and the money I earn from babysitting. My parents give me $20 a week for the chores that I do around the house, and I usually make $50 each week from babysitting neighborhood kids after school and on the weekends.
Most of the things that I need are purchased by my parents, and I normally use my money to buy special things that I want like movie tickets or a new CD.
What percentage of the $70 I earn each week be put towards my savings? Also, should I set a "savings goal" to make sure that my personal savings never falls below a certain amount?
-Interested in saving, Norco
Dear Interested: To begin to learn more about savings, consider opening a savings account at a bank. Not every financial institution is child-friendly. Inquire of various banks about what accounts they have for children, is there a low minimum deposit, are fees waived for children, what is the current interest rate, and how often is interest paid to the account.
To determine an appropriate amount to save weekly, you should establish a financial goal and budget. Begin by listing your personal financial goals.
Ideally you want to have a balance, a positive figure representing remaining money to be used for future purchases or sitting in the savings account earning interest.
An example of savings and interest to meet your future financial goals would be something like this: In 2 years, you want to put a down payment on a car for college, and you will need $10,000. Your savings account will pay 2%.
Interest is compounded yearly; therefore, you need to save $4,950 per year.
Students' questions about finances answered - only in the St. Charles Herald-Guide. Financial expert and school board member-elect Al Suffrin, a certified public accountant, takes on the tough questions from parish kids- and their parents - in an important weekly column everyone should read. Send YOUR questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write: MONEYTALK, P.O. Box 1199, Boutte, LA