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    Can I open my own bank account?

    Date: 08.31.07 | by Judge Tom.
    Between expenses for transportation, personal items, and entertainment, you may be living from paycheck to paycheck. But if you′re in the habit of setting $5 or $10 aside each payday, you might want to consider opening your own bank account.
    • Studies in 1996 indicated that children ages 4–12 earned or received $20 billion in 1995, and those ages 12–19 earned or received $67 billion, from work, allowance, and gifts. The money was spent on food and beverages, toys, movies, sports, and video arcades.
    • Teens average 3 trips to the mall each month, spending an average of $41 each time on clothes.

    Sources: Associated Press report dated 4/25/96 of a study from Texas A&M University; Teenage Research Unlimited, Northbrook, IL.

    Photo by Lickyoats (Flickr)

    Some banks offer special savings programs to students, or they waive their monthly service fees for minors with accounts. This could save you anywhere from $5 to $100 each year. Also, find out what interest rate the bank pays on a savings account. Most banks are within a fraction of a percent of each other, but shopping around may be to your advantage.

    A checking account may be a good way to keep a record of your expenses. It′s also safer than carrying around a large amount of cash. Some checking accounts pay you interest, while others charge monthly fees for certain transactions. There may be a fee for going into the bank and dealing with a teller or using the automatic teller machine (ATM) outside the bank. Make sure you find out about all of the fees the bank charges for your type of account. Fees can add up quickly, and you may lose any benefits of having the account.

    When you open up a bank account, check your monthly statement for accuracy, and learn how to balance your checkbook. Banks occasionally make mistakes, and these should be brought to their attention immediately. As the amount of money in your account increases, consider investing in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds—this is a good way to help your money to grow. You′ll need your parents′ consent and a social security number to make an investment.


    Money Basics for Young Adults by Don Chambers (Healthy Wealth, 2005). A comprehensive guide to money matters, this book explains how to open a bank account, manage a credit card, create a budget, and more.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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