Writing Contest: Semifinalist

My Financial Plan for My Final High School Years

Gabriella DiNardo, Baldwin High School, Pittsburgh, PA (Teacher: Natalie Grattan)

After a certain point in adolescents’ lives, they receive a realization that they cannot live off of their parents’ money forever. This is a scary fact to accept. Adolescents become so dependent on their parents throughout their childhoods that it becomes almost impossible to grow up. On the contrary, some adolescents take this information and cultivate it. I happen to be one of those adolescents. I find the whole experience of growing up, learning new things, and becoming an independent woman eye-opening and exciting. But, one cannot go to sleep one night an adolescent and wake up the next morning a mature adult; they must gradually change their lifestyle. To be able to pay for various expenses and have spending money, a person must be able to budget their money. Throughout my junior and senior year of high school, I have set financial goals to satisfy my standard of living.

Fortunately, my parents do not make me pay rent to live in their home; they provide me with food to eat, clothes to wear, and a bed to sleep in. Therefore, I truly do not have to pay for the bare necessities. But, I do have a job, and it is a huge factor in my financial plan. I do not enjoy going to work, but my social life and standard of living provide me with an incentive to. If I go out with my friends or want to spend an outrageous amount of money on an item, I am expected to provide my own money to spend. If I do not have the money, I cannot go out or buy that item. I work three to four days a week at a local nursing home as a dietary aid. I receive minimum wage, but am expecting a raise shortly. My shifts are only three hours during the week, and eight hours on the weekends. This gives me enough time to work on my homework. On the other hand, I have a huge opportunity cost, because since I am only working three hours a day, my paycheck is incredibly small. I get paid every two weeks. Some teenagers may receive their paycheck and immediately spend it. I simply cannot do that. Once I get paid, I instantaneously go to the bank. Once, I am at the bank I look at how much money I have made and break it down into categories: (1) carry money, (2) emergency account, and (3) savings account. My carry money is the money I carry in my purse for the next two weeks; this consists of gas money, in case I drive somewhere, and around twenty dollars if I go out with my friends. My emergency account has around seventy-five dollars in it and I put a slight amount of money in every time I get paid, this account is what I go to if I run out of carry money. I rarely withdraw money from this account and I never let the account balance go over two hundred dollars. My savings account is the account in which I put the majority and rest of my paycheck into. This account is for when I get older. I do not wish to withdraw any money from my savings account. When I receive unanticipated expenses I always have a back up, I never do not have money. If I do not have money on me, I can withdraw it from my emergency account, and if worst comes to worst and I do not have enough money in my emergency account for the unanticipated expense, I can withdraw from my savings account. However, if the unanticipated expense is that great, my parents are still my parents and will always find some way to assist me.

As a young teenager, I know I am liable to make mistakes. I hope my financial plan can prevent these mistakes from occurring. I hope I never run out of carry money in a place where I really need it, because a bank is not going to always be around. By avoiding this situation, if I run low on my carry money, I plan to go to the bank and withdraw money from my emergency account immediately. There is one trade-off I am willing to make to receive more money. If I really need or want more money on my paychecks, I am willing to work more days at my current job or find a new job with larger skills.

I hope my financial plan for my junior and senior year at high school continues to work as well as it already has. As I face reality and realize that in less than seventeen months my parents are going to drop me off at a college and drive home without me, I hope that I am able to be as independent as I prepared myself to be. I hope that all of the money I have saved and worked for throughout high school is enough for me to start my own life. And, I hope that my financial plan for my junior and senior year is a stepping stone and a base for my future, and has equipped me with the proper knowledge to succeed in budgeting.

Composition has been lightly edited.