College years are when many people establish financial habits that will carry them for the rest of their lives. For many teens, the first experience they have managing finances happens at college. This can be a big wake-up call that could end with a bill-bailout courtesy of mom and dad.
Teach your kids to pay attention to these items to get off on the right financial foot:
Spending plan: Know how much money you have available for college expenses. Create a workable monthly spending plan that balances income, loans, and gifts with anticipated expenses.
Prioritization: Wants and needs are hard for many adults to discern; this is especially true for teens. With many subscription services being so affordable, it’s easy to let small purchases pile up. Talk to your kid about how to prioritize spending, so they understand the importance of financial responsibilities.
Records: Resource One mobile and online banking offer budgeting tools, savings goals, and statement records available 24-7. Tracking expenses will help you see where your money is going and adjust your spending as needed. Also, review monthly statements to teach your child to track spending and look for possible fraud.
Credit cards: Using credit wisely teaches you how to live within your means while creating a positive credit record that could help when buying a car, renting an apartment, obtaining insurance, and even landing a job. This option has many future rewards, but can also be a tricky subject to explain. Make sure your child knows that a credit card payment must be paid off and does accrue interest. If you are worried about it being used as a substitute for a debit card, it might be great to make the card for emergencies only.
Organization: Keep all financial records, bills, and account statements in one location. This will help you pay bills on time, avoid late fees, and keep an unblemished credit score. There are many methods to explore to keep bills organized, and some might work better for your child than others. One way to keep payments on time is by using our Bill Pay feature to set up automatic payments.
Personal information: Learn about the different forms of identity theft, the kinds of personal information you need to protect, and how to protect information—even from friends and roommates. Learn the pitfalls of careless use of social media.
Apps make personal finance easy
There are many apps to help you manage your money, and your way of management might not work for your kids. If you find yourself uncomfortable discussing finances, budgeting, or money in general, we have several Financial Coaches who specialize in child/young adult financial education. If you are currently a member, please use this free service and set up an appointment today.