21 life & money goals for teens


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There are significant benefits for teenagers who set goals. Goals can teach the difference between wants and needs, motivate teens to challenge themselves, and teach them to ask for assistance when necessary. Goals can also help teenagers learn to plan ahead, own mistakes, improve organizational skills and instill a sense of achievement. However, not all goals are created equal and proper steps need to be taken to accomplish goals.


Keep reading to learn the most effective goal setting strategies and what types of goals are appropriate for this age group.


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Teenage Goal Setting Strategies to Help

Daydreaming comes naturally, but goal setting does not. A difference between goals and dreams is that goals require taking action, while dreams do not. Setting goals isn’t an inherent skill. It needs to be learned and practiced. The strategies below help teenagers practice setting achievable and worthwhile goals.

1. Focus on Quick Wins to Get Started

Teens need to get some “quick wins” when they start setting goals. For adults and teenagers alike, sometimes a fear of failure can prevent us from working on a goal.  If you don’t try, you can’t fail, right? These easier goals give teenagers the confidence that they can accomplish harder ones. For example, saving a substantial amount of money may seem daunting and unattainable. A quick win would be to sign up for a savings account. That one step makes them closer to their goal than they were before.


Checking something off one’s to-do list that can be done in a short amount of time proves a certain level of capability. Plus, quick goals fight against procrastination. It’s easier to convince yourself to do something that will take only a few minutes than it is to start a long-term project.

2. They Want Freedom to Set Their Own Goals: Provide Suggestions & Structure

You’ve seen it before: the parent who wanted to be a famous athlete or actress and decided to push that dream onto a child.


It’s essential teenagers have the autonomy to create their own goals. Parents are still valuable in providing goal suggestions as long as they don’t force them. Ask questions, such as, “Why did you choose this goal?” and “What steps do you need to take to reach this goal?”


Teaching the components of what makes a strong goal is also useful. To have the best chance at accomplishing goals, they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). Vague goals, such as “try harder in school,” aren’t as effective as specific goals, such as “turn in all my assignments on time.”


To test a goal’s measurability, consider asking, “How will you know when you’ve accomplished this goal?” Unrealistic goals, such as getting 100% on every test, can instill a sense of failure if not accomplished. Goals should be more realistic.

Finally, goals work best with a clear timeline, rather than being indefinite. If a goal never ends, you never get a sense of accomplishment from completing it.


Encourage goals to be ones inside a teenager’s control rather than somebody else’s. For example, replace the goal “get the lead in the school play” with “have my audition monologue completely memorized.”


Once goals are established, teenagers should write them down to increase their chances of success.

3. Help Them Understand Costs & Benefits

Teenagers need to consider the possible challenges and benefits of their goals. Some goals require money. For instance, a young adult may want to attend a basketball camp over the summer to improve his or her chance of making the varsity team the following academic year.  If you’ve agreed this is a cost the teenager will be required to cover on their own, you can help them calculate how long it will take to make the money, whether from an allowance or a part-time job.


Costs aren’t all monetary. If a teenager’s goal requires waking up earlier, it may not occur to him that a potential downside may be needing to go to bed earlier and missing out on previously enjoyed late-night activities. There may also be more benefits to certain goals than originally realized as well. While the primary goal of babysitting may be to earn more money, chasing around young children may also provide physical benefits.


A teenager considering volunteering for a cause she believes in may not realize she could later ask an adult from the charity to write her a college recommendation letter. Fully understanding the costs and benefits of goals will help teens determine if a goal is worth it, and if so, how to prepare for it.

Example Goals for Teenagers

Many teenagers’ goals fall under the categories of financial, academic and more general “life goals.” Always having a few goals from each category keeps teens motivated and well-rounded.

Teen Money Goals

Many people start their first jobs as teenagers. It’s fun to use disposable income as soon as it hits a bank account, but it’s better to use some of the money towards both short-term and long-term goals.


Popular short-term money goals for teenagers may include:

  • Get hired for a first job
  • Earn enough to buy a prom dress, new electronic, etc.
  • Earn money from a side hustle
  • Set up a savings account this month
  • Open an investment account this month
  • Track your stocks and investments
  • Download a financial app to track spending
  • Apply to one new scholarship this week

While short-term goals keep teenagers motivated to earn money and teach valuable financial lessons, it’s never too early to work towards long-term financial goals.


Teenagers should consider saving money for higher education, a home down payment, and even retirement. Teach teenagers the power of compound returns and how investing even small amounts of money when they are younger can lead to substantial amounts later.

 Teen Life Goals

Life goals for teenagers will vary broadly based on their current interests. Some examples of these life goals may include:

  • Getting a driver’s license
  • Traveling abroad
  • Trying a new sport
  • Acting in a play
  • Learning to cook a favorite dish
  • Keeping a journal
  • Writing a novel

Encourage teenagers to develop skills they will need when they live on their own, such as cooking, cleaning, setting their own schedules, budgeting and car maintenance.


Also, remind them of other steps that may need to be taken prior to achieving a life goal. For example, traveling to a new country requires saving money. Depending on the country, immunizations may be needed and it might be helpful to know the basics of another language.

Teen Academic Goals

Academics are a significant part of a teenager’s life in high school and it continues to be so for those who attend college or a trade school. There are many beneficial academic goals teens may make, such as:

  • Making honor roll
  • Graduating high school
  • Visiting college campuses
  • Applying for financial aid
  • Getting accepted into college
  • Earning a scholarship
  • Securing an internship

Some teenagers love creating academic goals, while others consider everything academic-related to be a necessary evil they must get through until they are hired for their dream jobs. Either way, it’s essential teenagers identify as lifelong learners.


A study conducted by professor Gary McPherson aimed to determine what helps children progress faster than their peers when learning an instrument. Before their first music lesson, students were asked how long they thought they would play their instruments. They could answer:

  1. Until the end of the year (short-term commitment)
  2. Through elementary school (medium-term commitment)
  3. For the rest of your life (long-term commitment)

The children that progressed faster weren’t necessarily the ones that practiced the most. It was the ones who rated their commitment levels as longer term. These students saw themselves as life-long musicians. Even if a teenager doesn’t think higher education is the best option, he should still consider himself a lifelong learner to help achieve current academic goals.

Final Thoughts

Setting and accomplishing goals is extremely beneficial for teenagers. Setting your own goals is a way of taking command of your life and learning about yourself in the process.


If not every goal is completed (or not completed within the original timeframe), that’s OK. Goals can be adjusted.  Sometimes, the act of working towards a goal is more important than accomplishing the goal itself.




This article
originally appeared on 
YoungAndTheInvested.com and was
syndicated by

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39 smart ways that teens can make money


Is your teen asking you for extra cash for new clothes, shoes, or a new phone? Whether you’re a teenager looking for a job or a parent looking for ways their teen can make money and learn essential life skills, we’ve got some great ways for teens to use their talents and skills to earn money.

Below, we’ve put together a list of ways your teen can make money both online and offline. For offline work, they will need reliable transportation, whether it is public transportation, a bike, a car, or a ride from an adult. Safety and responsibility are key elements here. Next, set a reasonable hourly rate or price for their services. Help them decide up front what they will and won’t do, and make sure the terms are clear before they begin their gig.

Before you get started, review the labor laws in your state, as well as special laws for minors. If you’re looking for online jobs for teens, beware of scams and stay involved throughout the process. Despite how safe or easy it looks, stay involved with your teen’s work to ensure a pleasant experience for all. For online gigs, get a PayPal account on behalf of your teen.



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It’s no secret that people of all ages dread doing chores. Why not have your teen do some extra chores and make some money? Start with your neighborhood. Tell friends and family to spread the word, and post it on social media as well.


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Dogs need to be walked, and people don’t always have time to walk their dogs as often as they would like. Your teen can get exercise, keep the dogs happy, and get paid. Your teen could make decent money walking dogs each week.


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If your teen is responsible and old enough to babysit, this might be a useful gig. Start with asking family members if your teen can babysit younger nephews and nieces. It is a huge responsibility, and your teen should understand what to do in the event of an emergency, and be sure to follow the parents’ directions. Your teen can offer to babysit on nights and weekends, or during the summer.


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Your teen could offer to water the grass and tend to flowers and plants once or twice a week for some extra cash.

Neighbors could also use help with their lawn care and landscaping. Your teen should know how to operate a basic lawnmower. For less intense activities, your teen could rake and bag leaves in the fall or shovel snow in the winter if you live in a colder climate.


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If your teen is doing well in subjects like algebra, calculus, and chemistry, there are probably classmates that could use some help for a set fee. There might also be students at other schools who need tutoring. Just check your local organizations, church, family, or parent groups and pitch the idea to people that have children that need help in school.


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If you have friends or neighbors that complain about clutter and lack of organization, your teen could go through their home, garage, or office and get everything organized in no time at all. Estimate the hours and set an hourly rate or a flat fee, and your teen can get to work.


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Many reputable fast food chains and local fast food restaurants hire teenagers and offer an hourly wage, free food, and a true learning experience.


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Many sit-down restaurants employ teens as hosts, greeters, cashiers, and busboys. Check your favorite restaurants for availability, and be sure to check online as well.


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Grocery stores also have many different jobs available for teens, such as positions for baggers, stockers, or cashiers.


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Teens who are good swimmers are perfect candidates for lifeguard positions. Just make sure they are ready to go through Red Cross and certification requirements.


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If you know of neighbors, family members, or friends that will be out of town, your teen can be a house sitter to watch over their home while on vacation. They might want your teen to be there for a few hours each day or stay there while they are gone. Just be clear about expectations and instructions before setting the price.


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Teens can start by asking family or friends if they can wash their cars for a fee. If you have neighbors who own recreational vehicles such as boats and RVs, your teen can earn even more for washing and cleaning them. Offer a reasonable rate that gives your teen a good hourly wage.


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Your teen can make extra cash by painting and recoating wooden fences. Your teen can also make extra money by doing minor repairs around the house for neighbors and family members.


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Traditional cleaning services add up quickly, and many people would gladly hire teenagers to do the job for a reasonable price. Be sure to outline what is included in the gig and what supplies will be provided, and set a price accordingly.


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Contact local papers to see if they hire teens for paper delivery routes. You can also check your local newspaper’s online employment listings.


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Put your teen in charge of yard sales to help get rid of used household items, books, DVDs, and clothing. Also, list the yard sales on Facebook for local sales. With yard sales, stay nearby to supervise payment and watch over the cash box. With Facebook local yard sales, accompany your teen and avoid having them meet with people alone.


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There are a number of places where your teen could sell drinks and snacks to local residents, such as busy street corners, bake sales, or garage sales.

These types of businesses are especially successful in the summer or during busy event times. When we go to the local state fairgrounds, there are several vendors on the sidewalk selling bottled water and other packaged snacks. Be sure to get familiar with your state’s ordinances and laws about food sales first. Also, beware of situations in which your teen might need a permit or license.


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If your teen is crafty or creates printables or designs, they can sell their creations on Etsy, Redbubble, or Cafepress. These companies often print designs on items such as t-shirts, tote bags, and iPad covers.


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Your teen can care for pets while your neighbors and friends are at work or on vacation. Dogs require regular care, while other pets might require a few check-ins throughout the day. Decide on prices and types of pets by determining how much time your teen will spend caring for them.


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Busy people could use help with running errands, whether those errands are grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, or mailing packages. Figure out what services your teen will offer and set a reasonable price or hourly rate.


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Movie theaters regularly hire teens as ticket takers, ticket sellers, cashiers, and maintenance workers. Check local theaters and job listings to see if they are hiring.


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Your teen can get a job at a recreation center setting up tables and working in the office. Check out opportunities at your local YMCA for flexible hours or summer jobs.


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Teens can spend their free time at retail stores working at cash registers and organizing clothing and merchandise. Retail work can be full-time, part-time, or seasonal.


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Public and private golf clubs as well as country clubs hire teens as golf caddies for guests that play golf.


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U-Haul hires workers as young as 16 in some states. Most job descriptions require applicants to be at least 18 years old. Remote jobs might also be available, depending on where you live. If your teen has access to a truck, they can also help friends and family move to a new location.


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If your teen qualifies, they can be selected for focus groups and be paid for their opinions.

Most focus groups are held at a private location with a panel of qualified participants. At the end of the session, which usually lasts a couple of hours, participants get paid up to $100 for their time.


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When you think of direct sales, Avon might come to mind. Most of these options are great for female teenagers. There is an upfront investment for a starter kit, but there is potential to grow the business with commission sales.

Avon is great for teens 13 and up. Skincare companies such as Origami Owlettes and Nuskin also permit preteens to sell their products. Nail product companies such as Gel Moment and Perfectly Posh are great for teens to sell to their friends that love a good manicure.


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Your teen can take discarded soda cans and glass bottles to the local recycling center to get paid for cans and bottles.


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Your teen can gather items from family and friends and sell them on Amazon and eBay for quick cash.


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You probably have some entrepreneurs in your family, so why not have your teen help them with their businesses while make some extra cash? Teenagers can be great at writing newsletters, creating graphics, and writing engaging emails for your business.


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Good graphics are an essential for business owners, but they are also equally important for social events. Teens can advertise their services to parent groups. Also visit local businesses and see if they are in need of flyers, updated logos, pamphlets, or other graphics. Teens can whip up a professional looking website in a matter of hours at a reasonable cost.


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Aside from web design, teens who are experienced with Photoshop or PicMonkey can create high quality photos for business or personal use. Whether it’s touching up wedding photos for a family member or creating cool graphics for a business, teens can make serious money with their Photoshop skills.


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With webinars, podcasts, and other digital media soaring in popularity, skills in editing audio and video content are in demand. Most editing software is low cost or included with your computer if you have an iMac.


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Blogging can be lucrative for teenagers who can make a small investment in web hosting and a paid theme. In the long run, some teens make hundreds, if not thousands per month from blogging.


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Small and large companies alike spend thousands of dollars researching their competitors and market conditions. Your teen could create reports and spreadsheets, and find contacts based on clear instructions. Just be clear about the scope of the task and the information needed.


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Teens can easily make money by completing surveys from the comfort of their couch. Swagbucks can help teens make money to pay for necessities. Inbox Dollars will pay people to watch videos, play games, and take surveys. Other websites such as American Consumer Opinion, Opinion Outpost, Survey Club and Pinecone Research lets people earn anywhere from $3 to $50 per survey. Sites like Slice The Pie let teens review music and earn money.


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Tell your teen to make a list of their talents, then go to Fiverr and see which gigs are performing well, and let them create a gig. Be sure to have a valid PayPal account, and make sure your teen finishes the work within the deadline. Ask for positive reviews and feedback to build their gig and profile page so that they can offer extras and climb the ranks of top sellers.


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With the popularity of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, people will hire teens to manage their social media accounts and web content. Search for these jobs online, and reach out to your entrepreneur friends to see if they could use extra help. Teens can also run ad campaigns like Google Ads for businesses and social media ad campaigns via Instagram Ads and Facebook Ads.


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A lot of teens are making a shocking amount of money by making YouTube videos. The key is for your teen to create content they enjoy creating, learn about monetizing the channel, and be consistent.


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These ideas should give you and your teen a good starting point for them to make money. Be sure that your teen is responsible and does high-quality work. These skills will help them become successful adults. Aside from that, keep your teen safe by staying involved in the process and being accessible in the event of an emergency.


This article first appeared on WalletHacks.com and was syndicated by Mediafeed.org.


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