Your teenager is getting ready to head off to college. As bittersweet as this moment is for your family, it is imperative that you send them off on the right foot. With less supervision and more responsibilities, your college-bound child will be immersed in an environment that forces them to grow up – and quickly. Though you can’t be there to hold their hand every step of the way, there are valuable lessons you can teach them that can help guide them through their years as a college student.
Of all the things you could teach your child before they start the school year, money would have to be at the top of the list. Though you might plan on helping out where you can, your teenager is now financially responsible for all aspects of their life. They’ll need to know how to manage their money to survive these years of early adulthood. Here are some important lessons to get your teen off on the right track.
Your child may have had a savings account in their name growing up, but chances are they weren’t in control of managing it. Before sending your teen off to college you should have a talk with them about banking basics. Discuss the importance of banking accounts, how to choose the appropriate ones, and how to make those accounts work to their advantage.
There’s a lot your child will have to cover that tuition won’t. They’ll need to pay for food, phone services, transportation, laundry, entertainment, school supplies, and more. You can help them stretch the income they receive by teaching them how to budget. Help them to establish a budget that lists their expenses in relation to their income. New mobile apps make it easier to create, manage, and edit a budget for college students.
You never know when something could happen that results in the need for a little extra money. Tuition costs increase, a scholarship runs out, a teacher requires supplies or resources that cost a lot of money, mom and dad struggling financially, and a host of other things could cause your teenager to need to tap into financial resources to get by. Teach your teen about the options available to them including personal installment loans online, student credit cards, and lines of credit. Express the importance of borrowing responsibly and budgeting repayments to avoid going into debt.
Once your child officially graduates from high school they’ll start to receive a lot more offers for credit cards. Though having a card or two can work in your favor, this only works if they are used responsibly. Talk to your teenager about credit card offers. How to use them responsibly, reviewing offers and choosing the best one, and how to use these cards to establish and maintain a positive credit history.
It’s scary to know that your little child is all grown up and entering the world of adulthood. As the dynamics of your parent-child relationship changes, all you can do is provide them with sound advice on how to navigate the ever-confusing life of an adult. Teaching them money matters is a great place to start. As millions of college students graduate with thousands of dollars in debt and no financial management knowledge, you can ensure that your teens don’t become part of the statistics.