Consumer Watch: Making the most of working in high school

There are some important money lessons to be learned in a first job, that will set kids up for success down the line (KOKH).

Whether it's about making some extra money or helping their family, many Oklahoma teens will keep their part-time jobs once school starts. Developing good financial habits from those very first jobs will make it easy to stick to the right plan. A local business and financial specialists are helping local kids build the right financial plan, and there are lessons we can all take away.

Between preparing shaved ice, and picking the best syrup, Carolina Garcia. is learning some lessons.

“Stuff about money or business-wise, you know how to deal with customers, and how to actually deal with problems just because there is a lot of stuff that you usually don’t have to deal with because you always have your mom guarding you,” says Carolina Garcia, Sasquatch Shaved Ice employee and high school student.

The high school student lives in the Classen Ten-Penn neighborhood, and works for business and community project, Sasquatch Shaved Ice. The non-profit hires kids from the Classen Ten-Penn neighborhood and a part of their job includes taking free financial literacy classes.

“I was like why are they taking money away? I had no idea they did that, and he was like well, you have to pay taxes,” says Garcia of the reaction she had when she saw her very first paycheck.

While Garcia earns money and becomes financially literate, Sasquatch Shaved Ice will match some of what she is saving for her future. Director Whitley O’Connor says the money will help with college and transportation, but working while in school is also about developing other skills too.

“The most important thing to my employers has always been work ethic, initiative, and problem solving skills, and so, you know, it is great to have a job, to have an opportunity to make money, but really we want to develop those characteristics in our kids,” says O’Connor.

The Oklahoma Employees Credit Union partners with Sasquatch Shaved Ice to teach the kids about money, and those are lessons that should be learned as soon as possible.

“We recommend that people save 10-percent of their paycheck. The kids at Sasquatch Ice are saving on average 17.5 percent of their paycheck, so we are really proud of them. They are being very fiscally and financially responsible,” says Jennifer Lown, Chief Marketing Officer at OECU.

The students receiving these financial literacy classes must meet some financial requirements, but the Oklahoma Employees Credit Union says it's a great idea for parents to encourage kids to save 10-percent of their check as soon as they get their first job.

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