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Teenagers and earning

Talking with your child about money can go smoother if you keep the conversation age appropriate. The conversation starters and activities here can help you find the words.

Conversations about earning

“Your paychecks might be smaller than you expect because taxes are taken out first.”

  • Discuss the difference between gross pay (before taxes are taken out) and net pay (the amount you take home).
  • Explain that the W-4 form, which you fill out when starting a job, determines the amount of taxes taken out of a paycheck.
  • Explain that tax brackets vary depending on how much you earn.
  • Discuss what taxes pay for, including schools, road maintenance, and medical help for the elderly.
  • Walk through your teen’s paycheck together, item by item, to figure out what is being deducted and where the money goes.

Activities about earning

“Money is taken out of your paycheck for taxes.”

What’s on a pay stub

Show your child how deductions make the difference between wages and take-home pay.

Pay stub

Family members’ jobs

Research and compare the jobs held by family members and what education and training it took to get there.

Illustration of charts and lists