College Student Financial Education 101
by Melissa Winger
So now you have a kid in college………..
You went shopping for their dorm room, helped pack up their stuff, warned them of the dangers of underage/binge drinking, talked about the value of going to class on time, gave them advice on not eating too poorly, told them how much you’ll miss them, and then you dropped them off.
Did you go over your financial expectations with them?
Did you tell them what you will be paying for versus what they will be responsible for? Did you talk about avoiding credit card debt because the truth is, they will get MANY offers thrown at them. Did you set up an “allowance” for them, or did you give them your credit/debit card without any limits?
It’s not too late to set up financial guidelines. Call them up. Text them a tip at a time. Snap chat them. Send them an old fashioned letter, or wait for their first visit home. Far too many college students leave college with not only student loan debt, but large amounts of credit card debt as well. Set your student up for financial success.
Here’s a check list as a starting point:
• Set up a simple budget. It will pay off in the long run after college if they set up this discipline early.
• Discuss the importance of savings, even if it is a small bit at a time. Again, this sets up a habit that will pay off later.
• Have a discussion about credit card vs debit card usage. As time goes on, it’s important to get them set up with a credit card in their name, so they can begin to establish a credit history. They need to know the importance of paying it off each month and on time monthly payments as well as the dangers of overspending.
• Open up a checking account at a bank close to their campus. This will help with avoiding fees for ATM usage. Encourage them to balance their “checkbook”.
• Set financial goals. These will vary based on situation.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Contact a financial counselor, or seek guidance on campus.