Teen Guide to Personal Financial Management

Teen Guide to Personal Financial Management

Teen Guide to Personal Financial Management

Teen Guide to Personal Financial Management


Why should young people even think about saving for retirement? Why not run credit card debt up to the max if the bank is willing to lend it? Answers to these questions and others can be found in this basic guide to the fundamentals of personal finance written specifically for young adults. A wide range of financial matters on how to manage your money are discussed in a progressive fashion from the very basics of opening a bank account to budgeting, paying for college, financing a car, and tax-deferred retirement accounts so that readers with varying levels of knowledge are provided with all the information they need to stay out of debt and to plan for their futures.


On June 8, 1999, Tricia Johnson stood before a crowd gathered at a press conference. She told the audience that a year earlier, she had received a telephone call from police, saying her daughter, 18-year-old Mitzi Pool, a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, had hung herself with a bedsheet. Spread out on her bed were bills from her three credit cards totaling more than $2,500. Mitzi's pay from her part-time job was about $65 a week, her mother said.

Earlier in the evening, before Mitzi's anxiety gave way to the worst despondency, she had called her mother and told her she was in over her head. Her mother recalls trying to reassure her sobbing daughter, telling her that they'd find a way to work it out.

Mitzi's mother was joined on the press podium by Jane O'Donnell, mother of Sean Moyer, who committed suicide in 1998. His parents knew he had gotten one credit card when he was a freshman in college, but without their knowledge, he had gotten a total of 12 credit cards and ran up a $10,000 debt. In her statement, O'Donnell said:

A week before he killed himself Sean and I had a long talk about his debts and about his future. He told me he had no idea how to get out of his financial mess and didn't see much of a future for himself. He had wanted to go to law school but didn't think he could get a loan to pay tuition because he owed so much on his cards.

His father and I were appalled that he had gotten into so much debt but we also didn't have an extra $10,000 to pay his bills. He thought he was a failure at 22. I will never know the exact reason Sean killed himself--he didn't leave a note--but I have no doubt that his credit card debt played a significant part in his decision.

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