When should a teenager get their first job?

Teenager working behind the till in a supermarket at their first job.

Whether it’s to pay the bills or to follow lifelong career ambitions, we all need to learn how to earn cash. 

The best age for teens to enter the workforce depends on a combination of factors. This includes legal age requirements, the types of jobs available where you live and, most importantly, your child’s personality and enthusiasm to start making their own money.

To tick off the legal side of things, parents should check working age requirements in their state or territory. This differs between industries, roles and working hours, but the starting age generally sits somewhere between 12 and 15, with some younger workers requiring special permits.

Whenever they are ready, a part-time job or apprenticeship can teach young'uns fantastic social and economic skills. 

Valuable lessons teenagers can learn at their first job 

  • A lot of time goes into big buys 

Earning pocket money for mowing lawns and washing cars is one thing, but receiving an hourly wage for your efforts is a whole other ballgame. It can be a real confidence boost to see that your time is valued by society, and a good lesson in understanding how many hours work goes into big purchases like game consoles, sports equipment or a first car.

  • Tax and super are complicated but necessary

Australians who are under 18 years of age and earn less than $18,200 per year don’t need a tax file (TFN) number to work. Similarly, employers aren’t required to pay under 18s superannuation unless they work more than 30 hours a week and are paid $450 or more (before tax) each month. However, setting up a TFN and super fund early will help young workers understand and manage these processes with ease in the future.

  • Managing your time and relationships well is essential

Once kids enter the workforce, the structures of home and school aren’t there to rely on and they become independently accountable for their time and actions. Learning how to manage this new kind of responsibility and work with colleagues and business owners will be valuable when applying for and succeeding in future roles, and hopefully instil more accountability in their other kid duties (like dish-washing and homework-doing).

  • Healthy savings habits will take you a long way

It can be hard to break bad habits, so kids should develop good saving and spending priorities early on in their working lives. By opening a savings account alongside their everyday spending account, young workers can learn about interest rates and money management. Then they can set goals for certain purchases or even start contributing to an emergency fund, if they’re feeling frugal. 

Check out a couple of kids savings accounts below for potential pots where your little worker can store their hoard.

Compare kids savings accounts - rates updated daily

Search promoted savings accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure.
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    Progress Saver

    Kids

    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    ages
    0.40% p.a. (for $0 and over)
    0.01% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000
    Under 18

    Bonus interest when you make a single deposit of $10 or more in a month and no withdrawals, fees or charges are processed to the account.

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    Scoots Super Saver

    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    ages
    No Current Offer
    1.25% p.a.(for $0 to $50,000)
    Yes up to $250,000
    Up to 13
  • placeholder
    Smart Saver Account

    under 25

    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    ages
    1.40% p.a. (for $0 and over)
    0% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000
    Under 25

    Increase account balance by $10 and no more than two withdrawals

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    Mighty Saver Account

    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    ages
    1.45% p.a. (for $0 and over)
    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000
    Under 18

    Minimum deposit of $10 and no withdrawals in the month

  • placeholder
    Mighty Saver Account

    Maximum rate
    standard interest rate
    Govt Deposit Guarantee
    ages
    1.45% p.a. (for $0 and over)
    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)
    Yes up to $250,000
    Under 18

    Minimum deposit of $10 and no withdrawals in the month

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Savings Accounts Awards

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