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In Your Earning Era: Turning Your Talents into Treasure

APEF: Solving the Financial Illiteracy Crisis

So high school can seem like a blur of classes, friendships, and trying to figure out who you are…but you probably know that all too well. Through it all, you have the power to learn, earn, and lay a strong foundation for your future financial security. Understanding the principles of earning money is crucial to financial independence…this article will provide you with the essential information you need to maximize your income, manage it, and earn more when you need it.

So…where should you start?

  • Part-Time Jobs and Internships:

    • The best time to start exploring internships or part-time work is in high school and the immediate years that follow, let’s say from around fifteen to twenty-two. These experiences can help you develop skills that may not be easy to learn in the classroom.

    • Part-time work can help develop employability skills such as responsibility, time management, and effective communication. These skills not only help in the workplace but also provide a solid foundation for career success.

  • Freelancing and Side Hustles:

    • Many high school students like you have unique skills that can be monetized by freelancing and side hustles. Platforms exist that help connect freelancers to potential clients, whether they are in graphic design, tutoring, babysitting, or social media management.

    • Side hustles allow you to balance your earning activities and academic responsibilities. This flexibility is especially useful during busy exam periods and sports seasons, so keep your eyes open for these opportunities.

  • Entrepreneurial Ventures:

    • You may have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to explore starting your own business. This could range from selling handmade crafts to launching a small business online.

    • Entrepreneurial endeavors teach financial responsibility, as you must learn to manage your income, expenses, and potential profits. This can also help instill independence and a sense of initiative, but it will likely take longer than a fortnight to see those profits as you’re starting your own business, and that comes with costs.

Things to Consider:

  • Understanding Taxes:

    • As soon as you start earning money, it is important to know the basics about taxes. Even part-time employees are subject to tax regulations- and even if you’re expecting them, it hits different the first time you see them coming out of the money you’ve earned. Understanding how to file taxes can be a valuable skill.

    • Understanding tax deductions and withholding can help you to optimize your financial situation, ensuring you don't overpay or face unexpected tax bills.

  • Savings and Investing:

    • Earning money is only part of the equation. Establishing an emergency fund ensures financial stability during unexpected expenses or job loss.

    • Even though you're still in high school, you can begin to learn the basics of investing. Understanding the basics of investment early can help you achieve long-term financial success

  • Budgeting and Financial Goals:

    • Budgeting is an important foundational skill. You should allocate your earnings wisely, distinguish between needs and wants, and set aside funds for future goals.

    • Setting short-term and long-term financial goals is good practice. These could include saving for college, a car, or even investing for long-term wealth accumulation

Earner beware! Don’t get caught up in an earning hoax.

Imagine scrolling through social media when suddenly, an advertisement or post promises quick and easy money with minimal effort - and who doesn’t want that? However, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Easy money scams are created by treacherous people who promise you an opportunity to make lots of money without much work on your part. In return for their promises of instantaneous riches, they may request small investments upfront or share personal information - almost like someone saying: "Give me just a little of your money, and I will reward you handsomely in return!” Sound suspicious? It should. If you get involved in those schemes, you’ll likely never see that person or your money again- you’re on your own, kid! 

Now, let's talk about pyramid schemes. Imagine a pyramid where each layer represents a level of people recruiting others into the scheme. At the top, there are just a few people, and as you go down, there are more and more. Those at the top may promise you’ll make more money than you can imagine in your wildest dreams! The catch is, you usually have to pay to join, and the money from new recruits goes to those above them. The problem is that these ventures can collapse at any moment, leaving the majority of people at the bottom with a lot of losses and no gains.

Long story short:

  • Find something that combines your skills and passions. Choose an earning path that aligns with your talents and interests. It's not just about the money, it's about having fun and learning on the way!

  • Start small and grow. Don't bite off more than you can chew and don’t expect some earning epiphany right at the start. Begin with smaller projects or a few work hours, and gradually build your experience and income.

  • Be responsible and manage your money wisely. Earning is just one part of the equation- learn to budget, save, and invest to build a secure financial future.

  • Don’t fall for an easy money trap. Always be skeptical, ask questions, and talk to trusted adults or teachers before getting involved in anything that promises quick and easy money. If you do get caught up in a scheme don’t have bad blood- just dust yourself off and begin again. Karma will handle those bad actors!

Earning isn't just about filling your pockets, it's about building confidence, developing valuable skills, and taking control of your financial future. So, future members of the workforce, don’t hesitate to enter your Earning Era and turn those talents into treasure. Every dollar you make is a step towards financial independence. Go forth and be fearless!


Bonus Tip: Check out online resources like local job boards, freelance platforms, and entrepreneurship guides for inspiration, job opportunities, and valuable tips on getting started. (And extra bonus points if you found the 17 Taylor Swift songs hidden within the article.)

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Emergency Fund

Soft skills refer to a set of personal attributes, behaviors, and social attitudes that enable individuals to interact effectively with others in a workplace or social environment. These skills are essential for building healthy relationships, communicating effectively, solving problems, and collaborating with others.

tax that is withheld from an employee's paycheck and paid by the employer to the government

an expense that a you can subtract from adjusted gross income, reducing the amount of taxes owed

an amount of money set aside as a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, usually recommended to be approximately 3-6 months worth of expenses

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