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Monthly Budgeting for the Whole Family

Imagine, a future where your phone would know your financial hopes and dreams, track spending and send you an alert when you’re about to set yourself back from achieving a goal. It would update with the cost of the all the endeavors you want to achieve, from that dream wedding to the day you decide to retire.

Unfortunately, this budgeting responsibility isn’t something worth pushing off.

All the apps in the world can’t force you to say “no” to that pair of shoes or that sports car that you’ve wanted since you were a child. When it comes down to it YOU are the leader of your financial future and the cold hard truth is: Budgeting is at the center of everything.  

Teaching Kids to Budget

Our advice to parents and children?

Learn how to budget as early as possible! It will pay off in the long run.

A survey conducted by Junior Achievement and the Jackson Charitable Foundation found that the majority of parents (77 percent) feel that the best place for their children to learn the basics of personal finance is at home, at the average age of eight years old and as young as five.

Whether your student is in elementary school earning an allowance or a teen planning for the expense of college, Junior Achievement has them covered with our 2018 printable budget sheet. To learn more about working with money, check out the My Money track on JAMyWay.org.

Junior Achievement Printable Budget Sheet

The 2018 JA Teens & Personal Finance Survey

JA TEENS AND PERSONAL FINANCE SUMMARY

Overview:

In March of 2018, Junior Achievement USA and AIG surveyed 1,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 to gain a better understanding of their perceptions as they relate to personal finance and financial decision making. The findings of that research are summarized here.

Financial Goals

Financial Goals

One of the first questions asked of survey respondents was to select their financial goals for the future. Unsurprisingly most (75%) said "Graduating from college" was a goal. Other items included "Creating a savings plan" (50%), "Affording international travel" (37%), "Starting my own business" (30%) and "Retiring before age 65" (29%). Interestingly enough, only half (50%) of teens said one of their goals was to "Gain financial independence from parents."

Millennials have sometimes been referred to as "the Boomerang Generation" because weak job prospects in years past and student loan debt resulted in young adults moving back in with their parents following college to help manage expenses. This survey didn't delve too deeply into this subject, but one has to wonder if Generation Z sees this as a possibility for themselves after having older siblings and other family members struggle early on with finances.

Importance of Education

Importance of Financial Education

Survey participants were asked if they thought it would be valuable to have personal finance classes in high school. An overwhelming 95 percent agree. While there wasn't a large disparity in the numbers, teens from households making more than $100,000 tended to favor the idea slightly more than teens from lower-income households.

While there are states that promote some level of personal finance education in high school, most don't and in many instances courses are offered as electives and are not required.

Seeking Financial AdviceSeeking Financial Advice

Ninety-one percent of teens say they have sought financial advice. Most teens go to their parents or guardians (72%). This is followed by online resources, such as social media and YouTube (33%), other family members other than parents or grandparents (31%), friends (28%) and grandparents (18%). While teens are inclined to think that personal finance should be taught at school, only one-in-five (18%) seek out information from their high school guidance counselor. Teens in households making more than $100,000 are more likely to seek information from parents and online resources than their peers in households making less than $100,000.

Concerns About the Future

Concerns about the Future

When it comes to financially-related concerns about the future, more than half of respondents cited paying for college/student loans (54%), followed by finding a fulfilling, well-paying job (52%), not being able to afford a home (49%), not having money management skills (43%), and not having savings for an emergency (42%).

Many of these concerns were more pronounced with girls than boys. For instance, more girls than boys were concerned about paying for college/student loans (60% vs. 48%), finding a fulfilling, well-paying job (57% vs. 46%), not being able to afford a home (55% vs. 43%), not having skills to manage money (51% vs. 35%) and not having savings for an emergency (45% vs. 39%).

Thoughts on Bitcoin

Thoughts on Bitcoin

Bitcoin and crypto-currencies have been in the news. About half of teens (48%) say that these instruments have a role, but won't replace traditional money. One-in-five (17%) think they are the future of money, while about the same proportion think they are "all hype." Nearly 20 percent hadn't heard of Bitcoin or crypto-currencies prior to taking the survey.

 

Managing Personal ExpensesManaging Personal Expenses

On the subject of personal expenses, teens were asked to consider which expenses they would cut if faced with a tight budget. Respondents were reluctant to curtail more essential costs, such as paying for a cell phone (10%), Internet (8%), and even insurance (6%). Most (75%) seemed willing to cut back on entertainment-related expenses, such as streaming services.

 

Presented by:   Junior Achievement Partner AIG

 

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Methodological Notes

The JA/AIG Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. teens, ages 13-18, who are not currently enrolled in college, between March 9 and March 16, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey.    Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation.  The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.  For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

How to Write a Check

I remember walking into the school book fair with a blank check from my parents. The purpose of the oddly shaped paper was unknown to my 8-year-old self, but the value was priceless to me. After having my teacher assist me in writing all the necessary fields, I gave it to the cashier and left with my new arts and crafts book.

Fast forward, I was writing my first check. Without a teacher looking over my shoulder, guiding me through the lines. It was one of the most stressful “Adulting” acts I had ever experienced. The priceless thrill I felt as an 8-year-old turned into fear as I understood now that in this single rectangular piece of banking perforated paper, I was giving someone permission to access my money.  

As most companies nowadays rely on technology for money transfers, it should come as no surprise that recent reports show that checks have been declining significantly in the United States. While this lost transaction art has been felt as early as the 2000s, when more than 40 billion transactions took place with checks to only 20 billion as of October 2012, there is still a need for the paper bank money order.

Fun fact for all of you wire-transferring app-tapping users out there: the decrease in check usage has been tied to a rise in Google searches for “how to write a check.” Regardless of the cause of declining check usage, it is a required and necessary life-skill to properly write a check and understand the required lines.

Junior Achievement is here to help you (and your student) to understand how to fill out a check. Don’t worry, I will be explaining it in the same way my third-grade teacher taught me.

Check writing 101


 

The check example used above is a check from Junior Achievement’s program JA BizTown®. Through this program, students practice how to (responsibly) keep a checkbook through deposit tickets, recording deposits and of course, the dreaded personal check writing. To give your child the skills they need to succeed, please contact your local Junior Achievement office.

Phillips, Matt. "The Spectacular Decline Of Checks ." The Atlantic. N. p., 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2018.

"Where Americans Don’T Know How To Write Checks." Washington Post. N. p., 2018. Web. 14 Mar. 2018.

4 Best Money Apps for Your Financial Goals

Which two items do you carry with you nearly 24 / 7?

For most of us, a cell phone and wallet would be the answer.

According to Statista, a total of 197 billion app downloads in 2017. With all the apps being downloaded one would wonder, which ones are helping you?

With only 1-in-3 Americans maintaining a household budget, according to  Gallup, it comes as no surprise that there is an overwhelming number of apps to help you gain control of your finances.

We turned to Investopedia’s published report outlining the 4 Best Personal Finance Apps as of December 2017 to determine which apps are download-worthy.

This is what the experts are saying:

 

Best App For Managing Your Money 

MINT, Ranked Best App for Managing Your Money

App Strategy: Track all of your earnings and expenses to understand where you’re spending and where you can “cut back”. The app claims you can create budgets, track investments, discover new ways to save, and more.

            Limitations: No investment options

Cost: “Mint is free to download and free to use. Even paying bills with a bank account is always free, though there are fees associated with making payments or using a credit or debit card.  If there is a fee for any payment method or service you choose, we'll tell you.”

            Customer Ratings (According to Investor Junkie):  8.5 / 10

 

Best App for Getting Out of Debt 

YOU NEED A BUDGET (YNAB), Ranked Best App for Getting Out of Debt

App Strategy: The app claims there are four basic rules that you should follow to have control of your money.

#1. Give Every Dollar a Job

Be intentional about what you’re spending your money on. YNAB advises users to ask themselves, “What should this money do before I’m paid again?”

#2. Embrace Your True Expenses

Realizing the money you have now may need to be used for a larger expense in the future.

#3. Roll with the Punches

When you overspend in one area, you will have to re-allocate money from a different category. Roll with the changes in your expenses.

#4. Age Your Money

“Work toward spending money today that you’ve earned at least a month ago.”

Limitations: paying bills, tracking investments

Cost: Free trial period, then $6.99 a month

Customer Ratings (According to Investor Junkie):  8.5 / 10

 

Best App for Tracking Expenses 

WALLY, Ranked Best App for Tracking Expenses

App Strategy: This app claims to give a 360° view of your money, as well as tools to understand and achieve your financial goals.

Limitations: Some report the app is not user-friendly, the app doesn’t connect to your actual financial / bank account

Cost: Free

Customer Ratings (According to iTunes Store): 3.8 / 5

 

Best App for Painless Saving 

ACORNS, Ranked Best App for Painless Saving

App Strategy: You are able to determine how often you want to (micro) invest your money for Acorns to manage with “Round-ups”.

            Limitations: For accounts over $5,000 the app charges .25%

Cost: $1 / month for all accounts under $5,000 and .25% of the balance /year on accounts over $5,000.

            Customer Ratings (According to Nerd Wallet): 3.5/5

 

Do you have a favorite personal finance app? We want to hear about it! Comment with the name of the app you use and share why you love it!

Disclaimer: Please be sure to thoroughly investigate any money management app you are considering before using. Junior Achievement is sharing third-party reviews of apps but this should not be construed as an endorsement of any app by our organization.  

How to Include Volunteer Work on Your Resume in 2018

Congratulations! After hours of sweat and smiles, you’ve finished your volunteer efforts but how are you going to make them stand out on a resume?  Of course, you could intertwine your experience in your face-to-face interview… or add it to your professional network profile in hopes that your potential new employer will do some “digging” about you, but the question remains -- will it make a lasting impression?

Showcasing your volunteer experience not only can highlight key skills and qualities of you as a person, but it also shows that you would be more likely to take part in a company-wide volunteer effort.

According to a Linkedin survey, 41 percent of respondents consider volunteer effort to be just as valuable as paid work experience when they evaluate potential candidates. Which means, it’s crucial to include it within your professional resume.

Where to Put Your Volunteer Experience 

While updating your resume with volunteer experience, you can either add it under “Related Experience”, “Community Involvement” or a “Skills” section.

For example, if you volunteered with Junior Achievement teaching a JA program at a local school. Your volunteer duties included working side-by-side students to help them understand financial concepts, entrepreneurship and careers.

How to Connect Your Volunteering and Resume 

From this experience, you could state that the skills you gained included: increased confidence and enthusiasm in public speaking, further developed leadership experience by coordinating with the teacher and students, as well as improved ability to think outside the box to relate the concepts to the students.

You may also be able to demonstrate that you are supportive of your employers’ Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, should you volunteer through your current company.

Whether you’re wanting to beef- up your resume or looking to showcase your community involvement, volunteer experience can make as big of an impact on your resume as you did by volunteering.

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  • "In 4th grade, I learned about being an entrepreneur. I now own my own vending machine company, which helped me earn money to help buy our family dog."

    -Mathews Elementary Student, Plano ISD
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    -Kimball High School Student, Dallas ISD
  • "When the business people come in and work with our students, it gives students a real life application and how it relates to their future."

    -Townley Elementary Principal, Irving ISD
  • "Starting with elementary school Junior Achievement I remember it being one of the best parts of the year. I got to have someone new come in and share about their life and how my future could be successful too!"

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