Besides being ultra wealthy and successful, what do Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? They all began working towards their careers as teens.
Gates wrote computer code for a tic-tac-toe game, Buffet delivered papers among other small business ventures, Oprah worked for a local radio station, and Zuckerberg created a messaging program for his dad’s dental practice when he was 12.
With that in mind, we wanted to share some ideas about ways that teenagers can earn money right now.
Why Teens Should Make Their Own Money
For the above four billionaires, perhaps a paycheck wasn’t necessarily the main goal of why they started working as teens. However, the lessons of hard work and problem-solving in adolescence would likely prove to be beneficial in their adult years as leaders.
Before kids become teenagers, many parents may set a regular allowance or pay them to do chores around the house so they can start learning valuable financial habits. As teens, earning their own income can provide valuable life experiences that go far deeper than Mom and Dad’s allowance.
About a third of teenagers have a part-time job and some advantages include:
- Learning the value of money
- Working with others as part of a team
- Building life and work skills
- Gaining vocational experience that could be useful in the future
While there are many other demands on a teen’s life, such as schoolwork, social activities, and auxiliary school activities, it’s worth guiding their time management so there’s room for a part-time job.
Money-Making Ideas For Teens
If you want ideas for the best ways to make money, here are a few to consider—of course, feel free to share this article with your teen!
Many of these are also on our list of the best summer money making ideas for college students.
A part-time job: This is probably the easiest way to make money as a teenager. Once your teen starts earning, open an online savings account that earns interest and encourage saving over spending. I personally started working as a cart attendant and cashier at Target when I was 16. Before that, I would caddy bridge for my parents.
Upcycle: If you have an eye for fashion, you might try buying worn-out items from garage sales or thrift stores and transform them into something that you could sell at a profit. Or try a platform like Poshmark to sell your gently used clothing.
Tutor younger kids: Tutoring in school subjects can be a great way to earn money. You could also look at being a referee or umpire for youth sports, or caddying at a local golf course. See our article on how to get paid to teach as an online tutor.
While many of our top side hustles are best done if you have the assets and experience of being an adult, many of them can be done by teens as well.
Active Income vs. Passive Income
One important thing to consider when looking for ways to make money as a teenager is the difference between active income and passive income.
The biggest advantage of passive income is that it’s income you can earn “in the background.” If you write an ebook, you only have to write the book once. You’ll then continue to make royalties or commissions with every sale for the rest of the life of the book, even in your sleep! In theory, there is no limit to the amount of passive income that you can make.
The downside of active income is that you only have a limited number of hours per day, so there’s a cap on the amount of active income that you can earn.
There are many different passive income ideas, but some common ones include selling an eBook, using affiliate marketing via a blog or social media, investing in real estate, and dividend stocks.
How To Invest Your Money As A Teenager
Once you’ve started earning money, you want to make sure that you are spending, saving, and investing it wisely. You can get started investing in high school (or even sooner), and the earlier you start, the more the power of compound interest will work in your favor.
Divide your money into these three categories:
Short-term savings: Saving for near-term needs and wants
Long-term savings: Investing for retirement and the future
The exact percentages will vary with your unique situation, but if you can, try to put at least half of your money into long-term savings. Getting into the habit of saving a good chunk of your income when you’re young will serve you very well as you get older.
The Bottom Line
While there may be some money-making ideas that are only for adults, many side hustles can be used by teens to make money as well.
Take a look at some of the passive income ideas to see if there is one that you think you have the skills and passion to pull off.
The younger you are when you start making money, the more time you have to find the right income sources for you, and the more time you have for your investments to grow.