On the Money Spring 2012

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Worried about saving money for college?

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BY TEENS FOR TEENS

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STUDENT LOAN tips Page 5

College Application Fees

Relax!

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Get money smart with

On The Money!

Fashion for Less Page 13

TEEN JOBS Page 14

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Investing: RISK vs. RETURN Page 8

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Letter from the Editor Dear On The Money readers, In this season of spring, everything green is growing and things are beginning to warm up. Likewise, in this spring edition of the magazine, you’ll find articles that will encourage your bank account and knowledge of finances to grow! Whether you’re interested in finding a summer job, saving money on college applications or beginning to save and invest, there’s an article in here for you! This month we are also celebrating Money Smart Week in Chicago from April 21-28th! This annual celebration, coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, encourages financial literacy among all Chicagoans. Keep an eye out for diverse activities and informative seminars around the city to learn more about growing your understanding of money management, including a special open meeting of On The Money Magazine on the topic of your job search! Visit www.MoneySmartWeek.org for more information about those and other events during that week. I have participated in and enjoyed all of these activities and topics during my three year internship with OTM. Writing for OTM has improved my journalistic skills, taught me how to effectively manage a bank account and budget and helped me network with professionals in the fields of journalism and business. Participating in this program also set me on my career path while still in high school! I encourage anyone reading this magazine to apply to be an OTM intern to have access to these same opportunities. For further information about the 2012-2013 school year internship, contact us at otm@econcouncil.org Best Luck, Jordyn Holman

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About the EAC

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About On The Money

Table of Contents

Letter From the City Treasurer

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Administered Time: Performance that Shines

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Financing Higher Education

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Investing in Your College Applications

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Big Spender, Small Saver

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Risk vs. Return

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State of the Economy

The Economic Awareness Council is a financial education non-profit organization that serves over11,000 individuals each year with programming for students and families.

Home Ownership: To Buy or Rent?

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Entrepreneurship Benefits

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Small Business: A Business to Keep

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Econ Bloggers/ Fashion for Less

14 War on Teen Employment

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Gadgets/Financial and Physical Health

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On The Money magazine is written by teens for other teens. On The Money covers business, finance, credit, saving and more... providing real world experiences and resources that can help students learn to meet their money and career goals. On The Money is provided by the Economic Awareness Council through collaboration with True Star Magazine, the Office of the City Treasurer of Chicago, Stephanie D. Neely and Chicago Public Library.

Thanks to our program partner

Save Money, Game On/In the Know

On the Money Magazine would like to thank HSBC Bank USA, N.A., the Office of the City Treasurer of Chicago, State Farm Insurance Companies®, the Charter One Foundation and TCF Bank for their sponsorship of this issue.

Layout and Design by Jessica Alessi

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Interns Maribel Arellano Sophomore, University of Illinois at Chicago (Gage Park High School Graduate) Kamal Bilal Sophomore, Whitney Young High School Darius Clay Junior, Chicago Talent Development Stephanie Greene Junior, Walter Payton College Prep Jordyn Holman Senior, Walter Payton College Prep Tanesha Jordan Junior, North Lawndale College Prep Kaprisha Martin Sophomore, North Lawndale College Prep Alex Mitchell Sophomore, Whitney Young High School Justin Mitchell Sophomore, Whitney Young High School Kimani Smith Senior, Noble Street College Prep Agnes Snyder Junior, Whitney Young High School Crystal Stonewall Freshmen, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Dexter Sullen Sophomore, Robeson High School Deniz Tatargil Junior, Walter Payton College Prep Sierra Turner Freshman, Michele Clark High School

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A Letter from Chicago Treasurer, Stephanie D. Neely Greetings, As Treasurer of the City of Chicago, I am often asked what young people can do to start saving money and building their money smarts. Now that the weather is getting warm, it’s time to start thinking about landing a summer job, and banking that summer money. Your best option: open a bank account and then arrange to have your paycheck directly deposited into your account. This will not only save you hundreds of dollars in check cashing fees but will also protect your money from theft or loss. Then you should start putting a portion of that money into savings, and that’s something you can also do automatically every paycheck. Pay yourself first and you won’t be tempted into spending it on shoes or makeup or video games. And you can save up for something that really matters to you: a big trip, a college education, starting your own business, or even a car. Studies show that children who learn to manage their money at an early age do better financially over the course of lifetime. College students with their own savings are 30% more likely to graduate from college, and children with a savings account show a better grasp of basic financial principles than their non-saving peers. College costs more than ever and costs continue to rise. Student debt in America has surged past $1 trillion, surpassing even credit card debt. The average college senior is now graduating with $24,000 in debt, and facing the bleakest job market in more than a decade. This means students and families have to work smarter than ever at planning for a college future. Remember, it’s your money, your choice. Stephanie D. Neely Treasurer, City of Chicago

The Cost of College and Planning for Your Future Planning for your college experience can be an exciting time – moving from the comforts of high school into a world in which you may be on your own for the first time can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. You’re about to put your intellectual and social skills to the test! As you go about choosing a college or university, keep these points in mind as they relate to your finances:

It has become difficult for many families to pay for higher education in full without grants, scholarships, or loans. As you think about which school to attend, be sure that the cost of an education at that school and your eventual degree is consistent with the likelihood of finding a job in your chosen field, and at the salary you expect. Some student loan debt may be fine, but too much can put a strain on your finances for years, which can impact other financial goals.

Completing the FAFSA (or Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the way to kick-start the process of finding out what is your expected family contribution (EFC), and what types of financial assistance may be available to you. Schools use the information on your FAFSA to help determine any tuition assistance they can offer, based on the income and assets of you and your parents or guardians. You may qualify for financial assistance in the form of grants, student or parental loans, or campus–based aid such as a work-study program.

Winding down your high school years and beginning your college education is likely to be an exciting time in your life. In order to make the transition as seamless as it can be, make sure you understand the impact higher education will have on you and your family’s finances. Getting the degree you want, from the college or university that best fits your needs – career path and financial, alike – can help make the next stage of your life that much more rewarding.

Be sure to visit www.YourMoneyCounts.com for more information on saving, budgeting and planning for your finances.

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Administered Time: Performance that Shines Maribel Arellano Time management may not sound appealing and might evoke thoughts of work in the future — not high school years. But the reality is that aside from prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines, time management maximizes what you can do with your life. You live better! Upon high school graduation, you will have spent over a decade in school. We all invest time in a range of activities, make the best out of school years to “pile up” great results for the future! The average high school student spends at least three hours a day on leisure. Perhaps, by cutting down on media and trivial entertainment, school performance will improve, and you’ll be better-rested. You may even be able to turn your “leisure hours” into time for fun and unique special activities. Time is what keeps us going… it is what we have to offer to the world and makes the world socially function and progress. Although it may seem daunting, you can make changes in your work ethic and daily habits. An interesting online article “facts and figures” by Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, an adjunct professor at Mercy College mentions the “20/80 Rule”, which explains that, typically, we accomplish 80% of our results through 20% of our effort. The other 20% of additional results comes from about 80% of additional effort. Remember, “1 hour of planning saves 10 hours of doing.” A small amount of effort towards improving your time management can go a long way towards reaching your goal!

Consider the Following Tips:

Recognize and reconcile decisions that end up in poor results or unproductive hours.

Break up big tasks (e.g. Have short, daily reviews of class notes to not be overwhelmed later on.)

Motivate yourself to do your least favorite tasks by noting their important role in pleasing results.

Jose De Leon, a college instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), emphasizes that “Time management skills teach a person the virtues of learning how to plan for things efficiently and how to stay focused on goals and objectives.”­­­ A recent graduate from UIC, Joshua Hernandez, is an example of how you have to be prudent and have self-discipline. He comments that throughout college he developed a one-track mind to focus and accomplish his goals, while leaving behind or postponing less important things. Now, he has an exciting career as an electrical engineer with Boeing, an airplane company, that enables him to travel and enjoy what he does for a living. So, think about it: imagine having time to spend with friends, go out, and do things of personal interest without worry, regret, or jeopardizing the ability to be an accomplished individual. Have a balance in enjoying your days and fulfilling commitments.

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Financing Higher Education

Deniz Tatargil

With the US’s increased demand for higher education and the rising tuition costs, one question is on many minds: How will I pay for college? The average 4-year college graduate carries a loan debt of near $28,000 as of the 2007-2008 school year. It’s therefore more important than ever for students to understand their funding options. There are many types of funding routes to consider. 1) There are grants and scholarships, which are what each student should naturally consider first because they don’t require repayment. There is a diverse selection of scholarships suited for all types of people, and the government provides 40 billion dollars of grants to 9 million students every year with a possibility of up to about $5,000 in aid per student. 2) If grants and scholarships don’t suffice, there are two types of preliminary educational loan options: government loans and private loans. Government loans have taken on recent changes so the interest rate on the loan will be fixed at 6.8% of its size. Payments don’t start until the student is done with schooling or drops to below a half-time student status. This government option is often considered safer as it will now cap interest payments at 10% of income and any debts are made void after 20 years. A representative of the Department of Education spoke on the flexibility, saying that: “they can push back payments without penalties … and [we will do the same] for people with certain, hard economic situations. ….” That representative also advised students to look first to grants and scholarships, then to federal loans, and only to private loans as a last resort. This view wasn’t based on a public verse private feud, but rather a difference in simplicity and predictability between the two. Private loans have many more options and may have lower interest rates at first, but the typical private loan includes a variable interest rate, which may rise with time to exceed the alternative of 6.8% offered by the federal government. So, in short, avoid borrowing more money than you can pay back taking your prospective future earnings into account. A local banker gave some direction by explaining that: “a student loan should be like any other loan. Shouldn’t the prospective student ask the same questions? Will I make enough to pay this debt back? What will be my potential earning stream based on the occupation I’m training for?” Integrating loaned money and personal money is a great way to approach that balance. Borrow as little as possible because every dollar borrowed is multiplied in later debt. There’s no need to worry about paying for college, but sober thought and wise consideration can largely affect one’s post-college financial life.

With a little help from State Farm. ®

Ask about our Education Savings Options. SMS-70161 03-2012

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Investing in Your College Applications Jordyn Holman Loans. Debt. Tuition. All of these words resonate with prospective college students when determining what university they will attend in the fall. Yet, the cost of college begins before one is accepted to a university. As a recent graduate of the college application process, I am aware of how expensive the process can be. For each college, there is an application fee coupled with the price of sending SAT and ACT tests and transcripts. College application fees can range from $50 to $80. Sending a standardized test to a school costs $10. Although small amounts individually, the expense is compounded when applying to multiple colleges. Yuwei Lei, a senior at Northside College Prep High School, had an expensive college application season. Lei applied to twenty-eight schools, her most expensive application fee being $75. Lei had reservations about applying to more than a dozen schools, “If I could do the process again I would maybe not apply to as many schools so I could focus more on my senior year. I’d say more around ten to twelve schools with a good mix of safeties, middle ground and reaches.” Kevin Salkas, a college admission officer at St. Olaf College, gives advice to money-strapped prospective students. Salkas believes, “The amount of money a college waives for you in the beginning— the application process— shows their dedicated interest in you attending their university”. For this reason, Salkas suggests students should find colleges that have waived their application fee, showing they have already put an investment in them. By narrowing the number of schools students applies to they will save money on sending test scores and application fees while becoming more invested in each school to which they are admitted. Although the college application process can be monetarily and emotionally stressful, it is sure to pay off when the acceptance letters come in the mail in the spring.

Junior Volunteers Orientation/Training for Chicago Public Library’s 2012 Summer Reading Program, Rahm’s Readers: You Are What You Read! From June 11-August 4, 2012, Chicago Public Library will host its thirty-fifth annual Summer Reading Program, Rahm’s Readers: You Are What You Read, and we need the help of interested tweens/teens ages 12-18 who want to have fun while earning service learning hours! Responsibilities of junior volunteers vary from day to day, but the most important job volunteers have during this eight-week drop-in reading program is to encourage the reading and enjoyment of books using the theme of “healthy living” (through themes of nutrition and exercise). Lean more about this service learning opportunity at our special orientation/training: Saturday, May 12, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center 400 South State Street Multipurpose Rooms, Lower Level Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 747-4780 Check-In/Registration will begin at 9:45 a.m., and the training will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Pre-registration is mandatory through Eventbrite: http://cplsummerjuniorvolunteer.eventbrite.com

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Big Spender, Small Saver Sierra Turner What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word savings? Basically a lot of money, right? However, you’re only looking at the bigger picture. By looking at it this way, saving seems impossible, especially if you’re someone who likes to spend a lot. A Walter Payton College Prep student, Stephanie Greene, says, “It’s hard to start saving when you’re so use to spending”. I have to admit I was a Big Spender and Small Saver. I couldn’t save a dollar, but with the help of Young Illinois Saves and their tips about setting long-term and short-term goals and using a saving budget, I have learned saving is very beneficial and, in fact, quite easy. TIP 1: Try saving automatically with direct deposit or saving first! How do you think people save up to hundreds in a month? It’s because they save a portion of their income. each time they get paid. TIP 2: Set a goal. Yet, you don’t exactly have to save for something specific. Like me, you can just be saving just to have some emergency cash for last minute things. TIP 3: Set a savings budget. A saving budget is when you have a limit on the amount of money you can spend. This will help the Big Spender save and allows the saving budget to increase. To help her save, Greene “takes a small portion [of money] out of her possession” each time she gets it and saves it. If you start saving today, you will be able to spend more tomorrow. Now, when I go shopping, I can buy something I want without worrying because I have already done the hard work of saving.

US Savings Rate 30% 20% 12%

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Risk Return vs.

Kamal Bilal

In this day and age with companies like Scottrade, E-Trade, and Ameritrade, it is easy for anyone to trade and invest. As teenagers, we are always looking for ways to earn some extra money and investing it is a great way to do so. However, there are some things that you should know before you invest, and one of the most important is risk vs. return. Risk, defined by Investopedia is having the possibility of losing some, or even all, of your original investment. Low risk investments generally have low potential returns, while high risk investments are associated with higher potential returns. Choosing between investments with low or high risk depends on your financial position, age, and other factors. Before investing, look at how risky the investment is. Can you tolerate big market swings for a shot at higher returns? If not, stick with low-risk investments. An example of a high risk investment is a stock (a share in a company). Low risk investments include bonds (money that you give to a company that they have to pay back to you with interest) or CD’s (a deposit account that typically offers a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account). With low risk investments, you’re almost guaranteed a set return, as opposed to high risk investments where the amount of your return can vary. As of now, the average percent return of low risk investments are 2%, and the average rate of high risk investments are 12% however, the returns on index funds each year are widely dispersed, some years you will earn a 5% return and other years a 25% return. Still having trouble deciding on what to invest in? Noreen Kane, Business Professor at Whitney Young Magnet High School says,“You should subtract your age from 100 and that percent of your portfolio should be in riskier investments.” Using this tip and the information from this article you should be able to make an educated decision in your investments, and have a profitable investment portfolio.

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To Buy or Rent?

The Positive and Negative Factors of Home Ownership Alex Mitchell

Many people who are in search of a home or apartment are asking a very similar question: “Is renting or buying a better decision for me?” The answer isn’t always so simple. There are cases to be made for both. According to Lauren Spencer, of Coldwell Banker, when buying a home a person receives more tax benefits, more leverage by being able to take out a mortgage and also is more emotionally secure when knowing they own their own home. Maybe the largest reason why two-thirds of Americans own their home is because of the money they can make once they sell it. Even though we are currently in a recession, many homeowners are still hopeful that they will be able to sell their homes for a profit. People, who rent their homes, don’t have a chance to make a profit when they move.

Ms. Spencer also recognizes the downside of owning a home. She says that many costs come with owning a home on top of a mortgage, for instance; real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance costs and any other incidentals that occur. Another disadvantage to buying a home is the closing cost. Ms. Spencer says that lawyer’s fees can sometimes be as much as an extra $5,000. Another advantage to renting is that a person can count on a consistent monthly rent, where as when owning a home sometimes a person has to pay for surprise expenses such as fixing utilities and general upkeep of their home. As you can see, there is no cut and dry answer. There are many things that must be taken into account when deciding to buy or rent.

What are the positive and negative factors of home ownership? Positive

Negative

tax benefits leveraging a mortgage emotional security potential increase in home value

real estate tax insurance closing costs unpredictable maintenance costs

Intern with On The Money

Do you like to write or have an interest in money or business? Do you want to make some extra cash and build your resume? Contact On The Money to learn more about our internship program and possible openings. Email us at otm@econcouncil.org

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State of the Economy: Things are Looking Up

Justin Mitchell

If one were to ask an American if he or she would rather live in this country today or in this country five years ago, he or she, if in the right state of mind, would first look at this person as if he was crazy, and then answer “today” with a smile on his or her face. Slowly but surely, Americans are digging themselves out of a ditch that was so dark and murky that people were asking not “when” they would be able to climb out of it but “if” they would be able to. Five years ago, the central banks had just injected 200 billion dollars into the world economy to calm credit markets. The unemployment rate was rising fast, the country was officially in a recession, and the dark ditch that I mentioned above was becoming steeper and steeper. When the numbers came in every quarter, people weren’t asking if the economy would go down, but how much it would drop. By 2009, things started to get better. The recession officially ended in June, and in October the economy climbed 2.9 %. However, the climb up the dark ditch was very steep, and Americans were not in the clear. Fast forward to the present and you will find definite signs of improvement. According to Teresa Lwin, a Finance PHD student, “Unemployment rates are getting better, and the stock market, compared to where it was during the financial crisis, is much improved.” Even fellow students have noticed the change. Alex, a student at Whitney Young High School states, “I look at the stock market numbers everyday, and they always seem to be going up.” Digging our country’s economy out of this dark ditch has not been an easy task, and the challenge is far from over. However, it’s evident, that the climb upwards is not as steep and times are most certainly getting better.

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Entrepreneurship Benefits Kaprisha Martin Do you know how young entrepreneurs benefit from starting their first business? Everyone wants to do what they love best. This may be the time to turn your passion into a profitable business. I have a dream to own my own bakery, and all I have to do is plan my action. Starting a business can teach you new skills that can’t be taught by someone else. Entrepreneurship is a self-learning process that makes you smarter on the field. The purpose of my dream of owning my own bakery is to help the public realize good baking again. Everything we eat is so artificial and is numbing the true taste of sweet treats! Businesses are meant to solve problems of society. Starting a business isn’t easy, but doing what you love is amazingly motivational! There are many steps required to start a business and maintain it. In those steps, there are many skills you’ll learn. First, the most basic skill you’ll learn is goal setting, which is a great part of starting a business. Second, business factors need to be estimated, counted, and calculated. This will help your math skills. Estimating profits and managing finances also contributes to lifelong skills to come. Ida Manning, the Executive Director of Illinois Institute of Entrepreneurship Education, encourages young people to start young and learn these skills early. Manning has even seen a girl as young as eight years old start her own candle-making business. She has DID YOU KNOW? been so successful that she is now expanding her business, America is one of the most entrepreneurial countries eight years later at age sixteen. A third skill that is learned in the world! In 2008, almost is hard work. From determining to whom you’re marketing 2,356 people moved your product to sell, to calculating how much profit is made to entrepreneurship per day and over 600,000 businesses off it, it is important to rely on yourself for the work and grit were started! of managing a business. Manning says, “Starting a business is (US Census) creating your own job”. It’s also training you to be your own leader to help your community. Entrepreneurship may seem impossible but you’ll learn lifelong skills and you might start a lucrative business. Do what you love and consider starting a business!

Thanks Special ePaul to the D enter! C Writing

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Small Business: A Business to Keep Ever heard the saying, “big things come in small packages?” Well, it also applies to small businesses in the United States. According to the U.S Small Business Administration, small businesses are defined as businesses that have fewer than 500 employees. Even though many people may not realize the impact small businesses have on the economy, they actually play quite a significant role. These businesses create revenue for the economy, and provide jobs in the private sector. Small businesses are beneficial to community life, and to the overall progression of the U.S economy. Small businesses generate 21% of the country’s revenue. Despite this benefit (along with many others), small businesses are under strain in this economy, nearly 69% of all small businesses only stand to survive for two years (Getbusymedia.com). Whether it’s the clothing store or bike shop in your community, small businesses prove to be a much needed part of the economic equation. More than half of the U.S population recognizes the importance of these businesses and they, like you, continue to be customers to these firms. Small businesses create competition. Without competition within the economy, one company can monopolize and set prices as high as it wants without any problems because there is no other company to set better affordable prices. According to Associate Director, Jessica Alfaro, of Illinois Small Business Development Center at UIC, “We would see a decline in employment and ultimately a decline in economic growth” if small businesses became obsolete. Small businesses are definitely needed and therefore we must do our best to support them. Real Network Solutions (“Real Nets”) Vice President of Operations, Jeremy Driscoll, says that owning or being a part of a small business is “like the American dream [because] a small business affords you flexibility.” I’m sure that most Americans want to live that American dream so we need to work towards keeping our small business firms alive, not only for our individual benefits but in order to help better our economy.

Agnes Snyder What if you want to start your own small business?

1) Decide on what industry you would like to be in. 2) Research facts about that industry. 3) Identify the cost to start your business, the laws and regulations for your business, and how to obtain the proper licenses. 4) Research the Small Business Administration (SBA) for support, education, advise and possibly small business loans and assistance with start-up costs. 5) For more information on the steps to starting a small business, visit: http://homebusiness.about.com/ od/getstarted/ss/10StepsB4.htm.

On the Money Magazine would like to thank the Charter One Foundation for their support of this issue.

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Econ Bloggers

Stephanie Greene

Wine connoisseur. Food critic. Music enthusiast. Fashionista. Photographer. Pop culture expert. Sports analyst. With the recent explosion of the blogosphere, anyone and everyone can make themselves an aficionado on a topic they choose. Some have even taken their cyber lives and turned them into reality. Companies have started racking the internet searching for young people with exceptional talent. Being a blogger myself, I always love to hear about others turning their passions into viable careers. Some Chicago bloggers have even started to attract national attention. Amy Creyer of Chicagostreetstyle.com has seen her blog’s traffic increase drastically since she launched it in 2010. She simply saw a void of blogs covering street style in Chicago and decided to fill it. Creyer says that she “did not expect” her blog to blossom into what it has. During New York Fashion Week, she was selected by Milk Studios, a premiere media company, to photograph the well-dressed patrons of the shows and was given VIP passes to go backstage. Creyer says that her blogs rise to popularity was fueled by the internet: “It was a lot of people saying, ‘oh, have you seen Amy’s blog?’ and friends posting links on their social media accounts.’” Chicago Street Style has 2,206 likes on Facebook, and 2,833 followers on Twitter; a substantial amount for someone that is just a regular person. Since her blogs growth, she has partnered with Timberland to shoot an ad campaign, and it was uphill from there as collaborations with companies like Proctor & Gamble, Olivers People, and J Brand Jeans started pouring in. This is an amazing turnout for something that started as more of a hobby. Though attempting to turn blogging into a career is a risky option, there are many lessons to be learned from those that take the jump. All bloggers launch their internet endeavors with the premise that they will be writing about things they love. For future conscious youth, this means that we should find that one thing that makes us feel infinite, and figure out how to turn it into a career. The possibilities are truly endless.

DID YOU KNOW?

There are over 20 million bloggers. 1.7 million make a profit from their work. 452,000 blog as their main source of income. (Wall Street Journal, 2009)

It Does Not Cost a Fortune to Be Fabulous

Crystal Stonewall

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous” stated Coco Chanel. This wonderful quote basically sums up the way most teens feel about their sense of fashion: it has to be 1) fashionable and 2) presentable. As a teen, I cannot help but try to fit in with the latest fashion trends, whether it is colored skinny jeans, UGG boots, fashionable graphic tees or just a cute spring jacket. There is nothing wrong with fitting in with the trends or just simply dressing nice. The problem arises when teenagers believe that ‘the more expensive things are the more fashionable it is’. According to an anonymous teen, “fabulous” is “dressing in high cost brands such as Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, and True Religion.” However, Stephanie, intern at On the Money, has a very different perspective. Stephanie believes “fabulous” represents “anything someone is comfortable in.” As anyone can clearly see, both teenagers have different perspectives of the word “fabulous”. The anonymous teen believes the more money you spend, the more fabulous their outfit is while Stephanie believes fashion is more than skin deep. According to Marketingplace.com, parents spend an average of $915 on their teen’s clothing annually. After seeing the excessive amount of money spent on teen clothing, I now wonder how wisely that money is being spent. There are strategies you can use to reduce your fashion costs. According to a 2009 study done by Seventeen Magazine on the spending habits of teenagers, 55 percent of teens wait for clothing items to go on sale before buying them, and 57 percent save money for clothing and fashion items. Also, according to a study conducted by Scarborough Research in 2009, 48 percent of teen shoppers say that they are using more coupons at the mall then they have in the past. By using coupons, waiting for sales and saving up, teens are spending less money on items that can cost “an arm and a leg.”

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The War on Teen Employment Student: “Hello are you hiring?” Manager: “Sorry not at the moment.”

Tanesha Jordan

This is a conversation most teens know all too well. If it comes down to an adult being chosen for a job or a teenager, the adult generally receives the job because they are better prepared for it. There is a lack of jobs for students because they are competing for them with adults and because teens don’t know what it takes to fill out a job application. This article is centered on making teens’ better applicants for jobs and teaching them how to do so. Things may seem tough right now, but there are still ways to make yourself look more attractive for a job. First, try building up your résumé. Volunteer work looks great on a résumé. Of course volunteer work does not pay for itself, but it could be what separates you from other applicants for a later paid position. Second, network! Facebook and Twitter are more than just social networking sites. Many companies have pages and these can be quick and easy ways to get in touch with businesses and see what they look for in job applicants. According to Jill Lederman in Your Future magazine, “One reason the number of employed teens has decreased is that in these tough economic times, teens are competing with adults for the same jobs. Older more experienced workers who have lost their jobs now are willing to look for, and accept, lower paying jobs…” A simple way to combat the growing competition is by talking to your school about internships specifically for teens that are available through your school or other programs such as On The Money, Girl/ Friends, NaNoWriMo, etc. Teen employment is important. According to Lederman’s article, “Teen unemployment can also hurt the whole family in this recession.” Teens sometimes look for work to help their families. As a result, teen unemployment often hurts low income households for many reasons, but can be eased if the teen knows how to combat it by building a stronger more effective résumé. So get busy building your résumé to make you a stronger candidate for employment!

”For 16-to-19 year olds, … the unemployment rate was 26.4 percent last month- nearly three times higher than the rate for all workers.” Come to the On the Money Magazine Career Panel on April 25th from 5:30 to 7 Harold Washington Library Center 400 South State Street Lower Level Multipurpose Rooms A & B

Reservations are required to attend this event. RSVP by April 18, 2012 to: 312.747.4780 or teenvolume@chipublib.org

Learn more about On the Money internships. Email us at otm@econcouncil.org. 14

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Gadgets

Dexter Sullen

Gadgets have been around since the stone ages, from the simplest things like the hammer to the Swiss Army Knife®. A gadget doesn’t have to be a tool; it can be a substitute for something else. There are many types of gadgets, from spy gadgets to allin-one gadgets like the Swiss army knife. Then there are the ‘everyday use’ gadgets like the cellphone. These days a cellphone is able to do more than just call someone. For instance, it can be your MP3 player, a computer, a TV, an alarm clock, memo, and more.

Tom Barker is an Illinois resident and entrepreneur. Tom happens to make gadgets in his time off. Here’s what Tom Barker said about how he got interested in gadgets: “When I was 7, I took apart my father’s brand new Betamax (an old type of VCR). After my bottom healed, I started hanging out at Radio Shack and my local library for beginners books, and electronic magazines. To this day, one of my favorite magazines is called “Nuts and Volts”. It is filled with gadget kits for sale.”

Gadgets can be any type of tool today. You may not even know it, but you are probably using a gadget every day. Some gadgets are even made from simple Here is what Tom thought others should consider things. By making your own gadgets, it would be when building things: cheaper than buying one from a store. To learn how to do it, you can go on websites on the “Bottom line is to have fun and learn from Internet for example: what you are trying to achieve. You will make Instructables (www. many mistakes starting out but from learning instructables.com), from those mistakes gains experience. Don’t ehow (www.ehow. reinvent the wheel. Many ideas (even similar com), or YouTube ideas) are out there. Utilize the Internet; it’s a DID YOU KNOW? (http://www.you121,000 patents were granted powerful tool to have.” in the US in 2011. (4500 of these tube.com). There were granted in Illinois). are many other webAll I have to say about Tom’s good story is that (US Patent Office) sites you can use to don’t make the same mistake he did and take Patents grant the rights for find gadgets to make apart your parent’s electronics if its not broken an invention to a specific entity your life simpler. or ok with them. Otherwise, have fun (safely) for a set amount of time learning more about gadgets.

Being Healthy, Financially and Physically

Darius Clay

The second gym, Planet Fitness, comes quite close to L.A Fitness when it comes to special features and qualities that are not available at your neighborhood gym. Planet Fitness specifically emphasizes that they don’t bother with all the extras like juice bars and kids clubs (babysitting) that drive up costs and can make a gym membership seem more like a car payment. They are also open 7 days a week, with some locations open 24 hours.

Planet Fitness tells you to “Burn Calories. Not Cash.” Are they really cheaper than other gyms? I researched several different gyms and their price ranges, and I’ve found a way to slim YOU down, not your pockets. There are over 29,000 health clubs or gyms in the United States [2007 Health Club Industry Review By Active Network]. Almost 65 million people visited a health club last year. Saving money on gym memberships could make a big impact nationally. Every ten dollars saved by each person would equal 650 million dollars saved a year!

Neighborhood gyms require the least amount of transportation. Neighborhood gyms can be more motivating by offering training with people that you’re comfortable with. However, they might not have as much advanced equipment as other gyms, and they often don’t offer 7 days a week/24 hours a day schedules.

Let’s take our first sample gym, LA Fitness. LA fitness is one of the best gyms in the country. The state of the art facility and equipment are popular and known to be comfortable. They offer state-of-the-art equipment and cardio area, indoor heated lap pool, whirlpool spa, kids club (babysitting), saunas, juice bars, etc. They are open 7 days a week; with some locations open 24 hours. Most of these qualities are not available at your neighborhood health center.

In Chicago, 15.1% of the population have memberships to fitness centers. The overall average for the United States is 15.5 %, so we’re right on track, and this is an important issue in Chicago and in the US overall.

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Save Money, Game On

Kimani Smith

How much do you think you have spent on video games lately? Chances are you’ve undershot because, as gamers, our natural instinct is to shell out cash without considering how it adds up on a weekly, monthly, or even annual basis. According to MSNBC, the average price of video games is roughly $50 but expected to increase, “You could be paying an extra ten bucks a title by the end of the year.” (Loftus, 2012). But there are ways to save. For example, calculating the cost of subscriptions on yearly versus monthly payment plans can add up to big savings. I can recall back in 2008 when I first purchased my Xbox, I was addicted to Xbox Live as I’m sure most Xbox players still are. Xbox charges the gamers who subscribe to it for the services it provides. I distinctly remember calculating how much I was paying for Xbox Live in one year by purchasing ten dollar one month subscription cards. Before 2009, Microsoft sold a one month subscription for ten dollars; additionally, they sold a 13 month subscription for the price of sixty dollars. It’s pretty obvious that sixty dollars is the immediate more expensive cost, but in the course of a year, it would save you more money. If you bought a ten dollar one month subscription card each month for a year, you would spend one hundred twenty dollars a year compared to sixty dollars for 13 months. Track your purchases; calculate your costs over the whole year and SAVE! Also, as avid gamer Justin Mitchell says, “Trading used games in gives the consumer in store credit which allows gamers to save cash on newer ones.” Keep this in mind when you search your under your couch pillows for some extra change to afford more games!

IN THE KNOW 1) On page 14, Tanesha Jones discusses just how difficult it is to find a job as a teen. Use the resume template on EconCouncil.org to create your own resume! Be prepared! 2) In her Big Saver article, Sierra Turner describes 3 tips for growing your savings! Record these here: Tip 1 Tip 2 Tip 3 3) On page 8, Kamal Bilal quotes business professor, Noreen Kane from Whitney Young in recommending a basic guideline that students should consider for having a percentage of their investments in higher risk options such as stocks. This guideline is 100 minus their age. Calculate how much of your investments you should consider having in riskier investment options: 100 - ____ (age) = _____. Graph this percentage on the pie chart at right.

Visit OM OTMSURVEY.C r u o to take Survey Money Smart d to and be entere win

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