First Summer Job Checklist:
Sunscreen ☑️ Uniform ☑️ Set up Direct Deposit?
Simple Steps for a Healthy Beginning to Your Financial Journey as you Start Your First Job
By Jim Curran, Financial Know-How Program Manager
June 30, 2022
Getting your first summer job is an exhilarating part of young adulthood. Financial freedom is a powerful feeling of new opportunity. We encourage you to see this summer as a good time to develop some simple but effective financial habits that can guide you for the rest of your life. Ask most adults about budgeting and saving and one common response you may hear is, “I only wish I started sooner!” Below are some financial tips to consider as you take on your summer job. Target a few that align with where you are on your financial journey, get started and learn as you go. Your future self will thank you!
CHECKING ACCOUNTS are for your day-to-day finances. This is the account to which your paychecks will be deposited and from which bills will be paid. It is also the account linked to your debit card. Most banks offer free checking accounts which can be opened at your local banking center, or online, in less than an hour. If you are under 18 you will want a parent or legal guardian with you.
- Start a Healthy Habit: Just because you have money in the bank doesn’t mean it’s there to be spent. Create your budget. First set income aside for savings and expenses such as gas and cell phone. Then designate a certain amount for recreation and don’t go over that number. Download your bank’s app to keep track of your money to ensure it aligns with your budget.
- Summer Goal: Build a one-month cushion of living expenses into your balance. For help setting your budget, try one of Cape Cod 5’s budget calculators https://www.capecodfive.com/resources/financial-planning-tools#budgettool. The Household Case Flow Tracker is a great place to start.
- Extra Credit: Automatic Billpay: By setting your bills on an automatic payment schedule you will avoid late fees and missed payments, which will help boost your credit and keep your rates lower. Just be sure you have enough money in your account to cover any bills that are on auto-pay!
SAVINGS ACCOUNTS are for setting money aside toward a goal or emergency fund and should not be relied upon on a monthly basis. Similar to the checking account, bank staff are happy to help with opening your savings account at your local banking center or online.
- Start a Healthy Habit: “Pay Yourself First.” With every paycheck, first set aside money into a separate account for long-term goals, emergencies and peace of mind. Saving 20% of your income is a worthy goal, but the habit is more important than the amount so pick a number that you feel comfortable with and can stick to.
- Summer Goal: Set up automatic transfers from your checking account and treat it like one of your automatic bills. Start small, with an amount you know you can easily afford. Make it a long-term goal to save three months of living expenses in an emergency account.
- Extra Credit: What might you be saving toward? Maybe it’s a car, college expenses or vacation. Getting started on retirement saving by opening and contributing to a Roth IRA is another option. Are you receiving tips? Maybe you can use that as your pocket money and bank the paychecks? For more ideas and some best practices on learning to save, visit https://www.capecodfive.com/resources/america-saves-week.
DIRECT DEPOSIT allows you to have your paycheck deposited electronically, which is safer than possibly losing your check and more dependable than needing to drive to work on an off day to get it. If direct deposit isn’t available, using your bank’s mobile app to immediately take a picture and deposit your check is a great alternative.
- Start a Healthy Habit: Bring your direct deposit documentation with you to your employer when asked to fill out your other tax forms. Direct deposit authorization forms can typically be picked up at your local banking center. If you are using a blank check instead, your routing number is the nine-digit number on the bottom left. Just to the right is your account number.
- Summer Goal: Develop a comfort level with direct deposit rather than cashing a live paycheck. Learn to plan your monthly income as a part of the budgeting process we talked about earlier. And you can always use your bank’s mobile app to check that your pay has gone into your account and monitor your balance!
- Extra Credit: Did you know that you can split your direct deposit so that some goes to your checking, and some goes into your savings? This can be a great way to automate your savings.
We hope that your summer job is one that you will remember – meeting new people, gaining experience, learning new skills and earning some money along the way! And someday you may look back and say this is where you started to learn about responsibility and managing your own finances for the first time. Have a great summer!