It’s hard enough for adults to find jobs in this economy, but that is nothing compared to the situation for teenagers looking for work this summer. In fact, the unemployment rate for 16 to 19-year old is now over 20 percent.
The situation has Derek from Everett curious about what to do. He wrote on our curiosity Web site, “I’m a 14-year-old boy who is going to be an upcoming freshman, and I was wondering where I would be able to find a job to earn a few extra bucks?”
For teens looking for a job, there has been a great deal of frustration. Samantha Pinot of Everett said, “I have been looking for months now and it’s so hard. There’s just nothing, especially for young kids, like our age.”
Scott Keats added, “It’s going to be terrible, but I have to try either way. But you are going to hit a brick wall with it.”
Peter Bielagus is a financial planner and author who wrote “Quick Cash for Teens” — a book that helps teens start their own businesses. He agrees that the job market will be particularly tough for young people. “What they are going to be competing with now is, literally, adults who are saying , hey, if the job pays $9.00 an hour and I can get through the whole summer with this while I am spending my nights and weekends sending out resumes, then that’s what the job I will take.”
Bielagus says teens interest in becoming their own boss should start by thinking about what he refers to as his “Five S’ Formula”: Skills; Safe; Simple; Self seller; and Satisfying. “It should be a satisfying business. You should enjoy it. That’s one of the biggest perks of entrepreneurship.”
As a young boy, Bielagus followed these steps and started his first business as a landscaper in his hometown of Amherst, New Hampshire. “It was really terrific for my confidence. There wasn’t a teacher or a parent telling me what to do. I did it all on my own, simply because I knew if I can figure this out, it’s going to pay me, literally, in the form of cold hard cash.”
There’s still a role for parents to play, however. One example is with some initial financing. Bielagus says, “I tell parents to treat it as if it were a formal loan. Act like you are the bank. Assign an interest rate. Sign a document. The book actually has a sample loan agreement in there.”
If a teen is successful, that experience can look good college applications. The book does warn, however, that students need to make sure they are not compromising their grades for short term financial gain.
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