The day your child leaves for college, she also leaves the “Bank of Mom and Dad” safety net. Fortunately, you’ve spent the last 18 years loving, educating and training her to be financially independent and survive on her own … right?
Before your child embarks on the next phase of her life, be sure to review these key financial truths to help her survive her first year.
1. Financial Freedom Means Being in Control.
Work with your student to review and plan for expenses. A wonderful tool that will help her create budgets, track bank accounts, and set financial goals is a financial management service called Mint.com. The site, as well as the mobile app, are easy to set up and use.
2. When You’re a Student, Live Like One.
Remind your student that she will need to live within her means. Encourage her to look for and use student discounts whenever possible (try resources such as StudentRate.com, or check out this SimpleDollar.com post). Remind her she may be able to save money on books by renting them online (i.e., Chegg) or from the university library. Lastly, consider the college’s meal plan. Is there a two-meal option for a light eater? Work with your child to maximize her meal plan, and advise her to actually use it. The food is already paid for and prepared. There are no dishes to clean or tips to leave. Does it get any better than that?
3. Identity Theft Is a Real Threat.
Make sure your student knows to never share her Social Security number with friends or give it to anyone who calls her on the phone. Remind her to keep personal papers with account numbers and other private information secure in a locked drawer. If these papers need to be disposed of, they should be shredded. With young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 making up 29 percent of identify theft victims1, you might even consider signing your student up for a credit protection service before she leaves for school as an extra safeguard.
Take this time to advise your child on financial matters, give her a reality check and remind her to keep her personal information secure. Now all that’s left to share with her will be every mother’s parting pearl of wisdom: “Go to class!”
This post was written by a member of the Plancorp Women’s Initiative, which strives to advocate for clients and women in the community by addressing topics specific to their financial lives. For more information about the Women’s Initiative and how you can get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Plancorp Women’s Initiative page.
1 Source: The Federal Trade Commission