Money tips for teens

By Drum Digital
18 August 2014

Save towards something you really want such as an overseas holiday.

There is so much information out there telling people what to do with their money, but if you don’t have a fat bank account you might be thinking that you are too young to be concerned about things like saving, investing, long-term insurance and planning for your retirement.

Idris Seedat, Manager: CSI at the JSE’s Education Division says now is actually the best time to become savvy with your money. “A young person’s biggest financial asset is time as any investment will benefit from compound interest. This means that your money earns interest on interest and even a small amount can over time become a sizeable nest-egg,” Seedat says.

So what should you be doing with your money?

1.     Start saving

Saving is the foundation of managing your finances, so start early and get into the habit of saving regularly. Cutting back on your spending is a good way to free up more money to save – think about it as paying yourself. Decide how much money you would like to put away and set up a monthly debit order to make the payment. If you earn an allowance you can even save a portion of that money instead of spending it on the latest gadget or phone.

2.     Invest on the stock exchange

Some people think that investing is only for a small group of elite people, or that you need lots of money to start investing. But anyone can do it – just investing from as little as R300 a month in stocks,  or exchange traded funds can add up to a significant lump sum. Owning stocks is considered to be one of the easiest and most profitable ways to grow your wealth over the long-term.

One of the best ways to learn the in-and-outs of trading and investing is to participate in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Investment Challenge. Novice traders get an imaginary sum of R1mil to invest in JSE-listed shares in a virtual portfolio. The team’s performance is tracked and measured in a competition against other teams taking part in the Challenge. To find out more about the challenge go to https://schools.jse.co.za/. Or http://university.jse.co.za

3.     Don’t get into debt

Only spend money that you have – avoid the temptation to sign up for store cards and don’t charge unnecessary purchases to your credit card. Before you buy something ask yourself if you really need the item and if the answer is no, don’t buy it. A good way to avoid debt is to create a savings goal. That way you won’t feel tempted to spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need.

4.     Plan for your retirement

Retirement might seem far off, but starting sooner means that your money has time to grow. Start a retirement annuity as soon as you start earning a salary. Even if it is just a few hundred rand, over time the interest earned on that will be substantial.

5.     Long term risk cover

Set aside a portion of your income for long-term insurance such as life cover, critical illness, disability cover and income protection – you need financial protection if you get sick, are injured, become disabled or die. Talk to a financial advisor about what kind of cover you need at this stage in your life.

- JSE

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