Get a job and keep it! High school employment and adult wealth accumulation
Matthew Painter, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, June 2010, Pages 233-249
Abstract: Wealth inequality receives substantial scholarly attention, but mounting evidence suggests that childhood and adolescent traits and experiences contribute to financial disparities in the United States. This study examines the relationship between adolescent labor force participation and adult wealth accumulation. I argue that employed high school students gain practical life skills, abilities, and knowledge from work experience and business exposure that shape investment decisions and affect overall net worth. I use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 cohort, to empirically explore this idea. This study extends the wealth literature by
identifying adolescent employment as an important mechanism that improves adult net worth and financial well-being.
Plausible, but it may confuse cause and effect. If you get a job in high school, you are likely a bit more ambitious. Those jobs are NOT fun (not even if you are "Welder / Union Steward Angus"), and anyone who sticks it out is pretty tough, and willing to work hard.
Still, it is likely to staying with a job teaches you to be more hard-working, also.
(Nod to Kevin L)