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Youth Money Management Skills to Learn

Now that you’re earning money as an apprentice, it makes sense to learn how to manage it. It’s great to have some cash in your pocket, but you’ll also want to learn how you can make your money grow.

It doesn’t take much to learn how to have your money do the work for you, in fact an economist at the University of Chicago is here to show you all you need to know about managing money can fit on a 3×5 index card. Here is a 3-minute interview on NPR with the economist, Harold Pollack, as well as a photo of his index card.

All of his tips are great advice for anyone in any stage of their career! (we’ve listed them out below).

One of the items he includes is saving for the future through a low-cost index fund, such as a Vanguard Fund. As a young apprentice, you have many years to watch your money grow and to take advantage of the power of compound interest. If you invested $1/day starting now in a mutual fund earning 7 percent, you would have over $155,000 when you were in your mid- 60s.  Not bad for only actually putting aside just $18,250 over a few decades!

Talk to your parents or to a representative at your financial institution about setting up a way to invest $1/day (or more!) for your future.

Professor Pollack decided to expand his simple “index card” advice into a book, which goes into more details about each of the items. 

Creating good money habits now as an apprentice can help you build a solid financial future and we hope these resources help.

Pollack’s “index card” advice:

  • MAX your 401(k) or equivalent employee contribution.
  • Buy inexpensive, well-diversified mutual funds such as Vangard Target 20XX funds.
  • Never buy or sell an individual security. The person on the other side of the table knows more than you about this stuff.
  • Save 20% of your money.
  • Pay your credit card balance in full every month.
  • Maximize tax-advantaged savings vehicles like Roth, SEP, and 529 accounts
  • Pay attention to fees. Avoid actively-managed funds.
  • Make financial advisor commit to a fiduciary standard.
  • Promote social insurance programs to help people when things go wrong.