A summer job can provide opportunities for youth – and their parents.

A summer job can provide opportunities for youth – and their parents.

A first paycheck can be viewed as a milestone, yet youth earning $8 an hour for a 40-hour work week can be surprised when their paycheck falls short of simple math: $8 x 40 = $320, said Elizabeth Kiss, K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist.

“Many are unaware of payroll, social security and other taxes or deductions, and don’t know the difference between gross and net pay,” said Kiss, who urged parents to use these first-time experiences to help their children grow in their understanding of financial management.

According to Kiss, youthful workers also may not have considered the cost of working.

If a young person has a food service job, he or she might earn a fixed hourly wage working in the kitchen. If waiting tables, he or she may earn a lower fixed wage, but be allowed to earn tips.

While it might seem that youth waiting tables would have the opportunity for greater earnings, business – and tipping – can be unpredictable, and he or she may earn less than anticipated.

A sales or customer service position might require khaki slacks, while farm, ranch or factory work might require steel-toed boots, leather work gloves, etc.

The cost of getting to and from work also can add up, she said.

And, while youths’ earnings may not live up to their expectations, many will have more money than they have had previously, said Kiss, who encourages parents to talk to children about their financial needs and goals.

While net worth might seem a grown-up concept, it also can be a good exercise for youth and beginning workers, Kiss said.

Identifying assets and deducting liabilities, such as student loan, car loan, credit card or other debt, and regular financial responsibilities can highlight the need to practice financial management, Kiss said.