ADVISE FOR TEENS: Summer Sun, Fun … And Money!

Summer is around the corner.  So how can you earn some cash?

Begin by asking yourself: What do I most enjoy doing? What am I good at? What special gifts or skills do I have? Here are a few ideas to start:

Love animals? If you have experience caring for pets of your own, you could provide a dog-walking service, or a pet-bathing service. Or you could be a pet-sitter for people on vacation.

Enjoy kids? Babysitters are always in demand. Get special babysitter training at your local Red Cross (www.redcross.org) or YMCA (www.ymca.net).

Are you a good learner? Maybe you’d be an excellent teacher, too. Start a tutoring service to help younger kids improve their reading, math, or science skills over the summer.

Do you love working outdoors? Think of jobs that will keep you outside. Mow lawns. Wash cars. Weed gardens. Or if you have a plot of ground big enough, grow vegetables, berries, or flowers to sell at an outdoor stand.

Have a knack for arts and crafts? Maybe the beautiful things you like to make are items others would like to buy, whether it’s jewelry, stuffed animals, greeting cards, t-shirts…

Like to be on the move? Become a go-fer. Run errands for people who are too busy or physically unable to get to the pharmacy, the grocery store, the library, or the video store.

That’s just a starter list. You take it from here! The key to success is to get the word out about your services or products. Develop a good-looking flyer and post it–with permission–on bulletin boards in neighborhood grocery stores and libraries. You also could pass out flyers door to door, but not in people’s mailboxes. (By law, only U.S. mail can go in mailboxes.)

As you pursue your projects, be sure to let your parents know what you’re doing and where you are at all times. That will spare them worry. And you’ll have a fun, safe, money-making summer.

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Who’s Liable if Junior Goes on a Spending Spree With Your Debit Card?

Kids these days. You hand them your three-and-a quarter-inch debit card and they take a mile. But, who is liable for Junior’s spending binge if it’s piled on top of authorized use of the card?

To understand liability with this issue, look at this example:

Mom Member gives her son, Sonny, her debit card and a list of items to pick up at the grocery store. He purchases everything on the list, but then takes a sharp turn off the path of being a good son and also decides to get some cash at the ATM, fills up his gas tank, buys pizza and soda for 20 of his closest friends, and purchases a new gaming system.

Sonny dutifully returns the card to Mom. Mom checks her account online a few days later and discovers Sonny’s shopping spree. She calls her credit union to report the “unauthorized” transactions. Is Mom entitled to get her money back? Under Regulation E, which regulates electronic funds transfers, probably not.

Reg. E says, “If the consumer grants authority to make transfers to a person (such as a family member or co-worker) who exceeds the authority given, the consumer is fully liable for the transfers unless the consumer has notified the financial institution that transfers by that person are no longer authorized.”

If Mom Member had notified the credit union that transactions no longer were authorized while Sonny was still using the card, she wouldn’t be liable for any additional debit card transactions after providing the notice. And, the credit union could have canceled or suspended the card to prevent any further misuse.

Alas, if Mom Member discovers Sonny’s misuse after the fact, it’s too late.