The age range of 13-19 is an important time in an individual's life. Huge steps are taken within that portion. While you are a teenager, many exciting opportunities for success are given to you. Taking on the right amount of responsibility and independence can push you towards becoming a successful teenager.

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Being More Active

  1. Schools give students opportunities for staying active. How you use your time should be up to you. Pick an activity that appeals to you such as athletics, academic clubs, or special-interest clubs. Select one that plays to your interests. Extracurricular activities build character through team work, time management, and competition.
    • Don't be too worried if you aren't very good at what you like. The important thing is passion, which will drive you to put in your best effort.
  2. Giving your time to your community is a noble activity with several benefits. Volunteering can teach you job-related skills such as responsibility or time-management. Some schools also reward the learning aspect of volunteer work with credit hours. If you are interested in college, volunteering makes you much more appealing during the application process.[1]
  3. Getting a head start at college could mean sacrificing (or shortening) your summer vacation. Various universities offer programs for future college students based on interests such as journalism, photography, art, sports, etc. These programs give teenagers the chance to earn college credit, experience dorm life, and see a university's town.[2]
    • Research different programs. Get all of the details, then figure out which one is the best choice for you.
    • Check the requirements and deadlines. Avoid getting into trouble because of a simple mistake, and you will have a great time.
  4. Building a resume, getting experience, and earning letters of recommendation can start at a very young age. A lot of teenagers have a desired career path. Luckily, some professionals allow teenagers to visit offices for some hands-on experience.[3] The non-paid experience can build character and open up future opportunities.
    • Make phone calls and office visits to find a company willing to allow you to shadow.
    • Ask family if they know someone whom you can shadow.
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Planning for the Future

  1. One aspect of becoming successful is to look forward in life. Making and meeting goals motivates you to progress. An important aspect about setting goals is getting organized and assessing your interests. Speak with a parent or a mentor, like a school counselor, for assistance - guidance is very helpful.
    • Ask yourself important questions such as What do I enjoy doing?, "What do I want to be good at?", or "Where do I see myself five to ten years from now?
    • Do some research to see what it takes to reach that goal.
    • Learn how to break it down into mini-goals that are reached as you progress.[4]
  2. Your credit score is the measurement of how trustworthy you are to agencies that determine loans you receive, allow you to live in their apartment complex, or decide your interest rate. Even though getting a credit card at a young age can be on the hands of a parent, it is up to the teenager to use it correctly and understand that it's not just money on a card; it is a promise between the teenager and a third party.[5]
    • Know that credit is a revolving pattern; use a credit card for something you wish to purchase and pay off in a self-managed time frame.
    • Using a credit card takes responsibility and discipline; these characteristics also build other good habits.[6]
  3. The average teenager goes through two major educational milestones: graduating from high school and graduating from college. Teenagers go through different phases, and education is often put aside. However, in order to be successful, education should be viewed as an investment for the future and a tool to show teenagers how to be inquisitive.[7] Moreover, a better education can lead to more work opportunities, so be sure to pursue what fits your goals and interests.
  4. Teenagers go through a lot of change, and these changes can transform relationships quickly and abruptly. Being a successful teenager means knowing how to pursue a good relationship, one where there is the chance for both fun and future. Evaluate your current relationship. Make sure your maturity level and interests are leveled. Be there for each other which will mean learning how to make compromises and being selective of battles..[8]
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Managing Money

  1. Having your own job builds positive character and will help you mature. Even if parents give you money, earning your own paycheck puts you on a path to success by giving you the opportunity to learn time management, job responsibility, leadership skills, team work, and life skills in the real world. Also, earning your own paycheck puts money in your pockets, and what you do with your earnings is up to you.
  2. Allowances, gifts, and paychecks will be your sources of income as a teenager. Learning to manage money starts with tracking how you spend that income. Create a money diary where you write down all of your spending for a given time period, either weekly, monthly, or yearly. Then, evaluate what you spend by deciding what is needed (such as gas, car insurance, phone bill) and what is entertainment (such as movie tickets, personal items, going out). Creating this diary will help you visualize where your money goes and can set you on the track to create a budget and savings.
  3. Once you earn money, it is very tempting to use it immediately. And as a teenager, it is easy to neglect saving money. In order to be more successful, learn that money can be saved for more-important spending opportunities. To help you save, open up a bank account. Banks can give many opportunities to teenagers. Get advice and research first before opening any accounts. Once you have one, figure out a monthly budget that will help you put aside money.
    • When you start off, more than likely a co-signer or parent will have access to your account activity. Use this as a learning opportunity and ask for them to keep you in check of what you spend.
  4. Buying is almost always easier than saving. Small purchases can take a toll on your savings, and more often than not, those purchases could have been avoided. These impulse purchases are difficult for both teenagers and adults, so controlling these impulses at a young age helps ensure better money management throughout your life.
    • Put yourself to the test and wait to buy items. Oftentimes, giving yourself a week will show you that you didn't really need the item, or the item would have been put on sale.
    • Make sure that you understand what you're spending your money on. If you're looking to budget and reduce expenses, you might have to take a closer look at what you're buying. For instance, if spending money on dating/going out is a priority for you, you might have to cut back in other areas.[9]
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Taking on More Responsibility

  1. Independence is very important to a teenager. It comes as a necessity over time, but when teenagers start off being independent, it usually comes as a privilege from your parents. Figure out your home dynamics, and offer areas where your independence becomes helpful to your household: for example, cooking your meals, cleaning up after yourself, taking care of younger siblings, asking for less supervision, getting a part-time job, etc. As you gain more responsibility and independence, be aware that failure might occur and is to be expected. Learning from failure, however, will help you to grow.[10]
  2. Getting from place to place does not always mean driving, but as a teenager, driving is a huge step in responsibility and independence. Be sure to take any courses and means to obtain a driver's license. Also, driving is not the only way to get around. Cities have public transportation that can be both cheap and accessible for teenagers. Learn the routes needed to get you from place to place. It will teach you time management and patience.
  3. As you grow up, your city gets smaller, and the world gets bigger. Family vacations help you explore certain regions, but taking on world travel also helps build responsibility and independence. A younger person has more outlets to travel by such as study abroad, language exchange, or volunteer programs. If you have family in distant places, reconnect with a summer visit. The chance to travel gives experiences that build great character.[11]
  4. Being responsible and independent does not mean being alone. Taking on new tasks and meeting goals will be hard work. Asking people for help shows maturity and confidence. Seek advice from parents, older siblings, mentors at work, teachers, or someone whom you trust. Opening up channels of communication at a young age is a great habit for success.[12]
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About This Article

Andrew Lokenauth
Co-authored by:
Finance Executive
This article was co-authored by Andrew Lokenauth. Andrew Lokenauth is a Finance Executive who has over 15 years of experience working on Wall St. and in Tech & Start-ups. Andrew helps management teams translate their financials into actionable business decisions. He has held positions at Goldman Sachs, Citi, and JPMorgan Asset Management. He is the founder of Fluent in Finance, a firm that provides resources to help others learn to build wealth, understand the importance of investing, create a healthy budget, strategize debt pay-off, develop a retirement roadmap, and create a personalized investing plan. His insights have been quoted in Forbes, TIME, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Yahoo Finance, BankRate, and U.S. News. Andrew has a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree (BBA), Accounting and Finance from Pace University. This article has been viewed 117,705 times.
5 votes - 76%
Co-authors: 28
Updated: March 7, 2024
Views: 117,705
Categories: Youth