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Do I Make My Lazy Teenager Get a Job?

Rachel Cruze

Money, Jobs, & College

Q: I want my 17-year-old to get a job this coming summer and save for college next year. But he needs convincing. What approach should I take?

Rachel: Learning how to work as a teen is a gift, but it’s a lost art in the next generation. I think you need to make it a requirement, which might look a few different ways.

First, your son can do chores around the house, and you can pay him a commission (not an allowance) based on what he does.

Second, he can go out into the workplace and earn some money at a restaurant, a retail store, as a lifeguard or something like that. This is a great learning experience because he’ll learn how to work for someone, pay taxes, and be on time.

Last, he could start his own business. Teenagers can begin thinking as entrepreneurs by cutting grass, babysitting, selling handmade crafts, or doing anything they can think of. This is great option for your son because he’ll learn about profit and loss and how to manage a business.

Bottom line: There’s really no reason a 17-year-old can’t work. Don’t let your son waste away his summer (or any vacation time!) without earning some money!

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Rachel Cruze

Growing up as Dave Ramsey's kid, Rachel Cruze learned the basic principles of money at an early age. She travels across the country teaching those same principles, in a personal and passionate message of money and hope, to teens and young adults. To find out more about Rachel, visit or follow her on Twitter at @RachelCruze.