The short answer is… it’s never too early to start, but also never too late to start.
Starting The Emergency Fund As A Pre-Teenager
It’s never too early for a young woman to begin to learn the value of money, how to earn it, and how to save it. They should begin to earn money early. They can have a lemonade stand, deliver newspapers, walk dogs, babysit, and more. If you have a daughter who actually does things for you around the house, you could consider a small allowance. They can do dishes, help with laundry, yard work, and eventually learn how to use a lawn mower.
Help them start saving small, with a piggy bank or money jar. Once they reach $50, open a savings account in their name. Of course it will be a custodial account since the banks require that for any investor under the age of 18. This account will give any girl pride, feeling mature enough to have a bank account. Have them continue to save and show them how to write out a deposit slip and take them to the bank to walk up to the teller and make their own deposits. Encourage them to save most of their money, but let them spend a small amount so they can see how much work it takes to be able to pay for something they want.
Starting The Emergency Fund As A Teenager
Helping a teenage girl to save money is a bit more of a challenge. You should still encourage them to earn in some way. If they already started baby sitting or dog walking in prior years, continuing with that would be ideal. Teenage girls can become very social creatures and balancing the time for school, social and work can be near impossible. Try to help with allocating at least a small amount of time for earning. In this day and age, they tend to have expensive taste when it comes to clothes and accessories. If they work and save half, the other half could be used to purchase one special item that you wouldn’t ordinarily buy for them yourself.
Again, work with the money jar and savings account. At this age, be sure they see the monthly statements so the increase has an impact. Also, at this point they should be able to make their own account deposits, with your help preparing the deposit slips. By saving half of whatever they earn, they will see the account grow and will give them a self-confidence boost, something that most teenage girls need.
Starting The Emergency Fund Upon Entering The Working World
At this stage saving money becomes more of a challenge. If a young woman is lucky enough to be living with her parents, and lands a significant job, saving 10%-30% of her income can be accomplished. Of course it depends on her spending habits and lifestyle. If she has become accustomed to having everything she wants handed to her, and has had not learned how to save and spend within her limits, it’s more likely she’ll spend every penny she earns. If she’s going out on her own to rent or own a home, saving money at this point could be even more of a challenge.
For young women who have learned the value of the dollar and have started good saving habits early, they will manage to find a way to save, even if it’s a small amount. These are the gals that do not end up with massive credit card debt...
Starting The Emergency Fund When You’re Older
If you’re in you’re beyond your 20’s, it’s still not too late to begin accumulating money for an emergency fund. The further along you are, the more you should try to save per month. Even if you find that you have more debt than a mortgage, it is still possible.
If you’re feeling like you’re chasing after your money, and it’s getting away, you’ll want to read my next blog post.
It will focus on the mature woman’s system for saving money for that rainy day.
Watch for it next week!
You CAN do this!
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