College is a very financially vulnerable time for young people just starting to navigate the complexities of adulthood. For many students, it marks the beginning of a decade or more paying back student loans. For most, at least those who live on campus, it is the first time they have had to manage money in the absence of their parents. This can be overwhelming to those who aren’t prepared. Here are some ways to help your kids get ready for a more financially secure college experience and help them if they do encounter problems.
Warn Them About Debt
Sit down and have a serious talk with your kids about the money traps they may run into while they are away at college. One of the biggest is credit cards. Various companies prey on students with enticing sign-up offers, knowing that teens and those in their early 20s often have poor impulse control. Before they know it, they can rack up thousands of dollars at a high interest rate, which may take years to pay off. If properly warned, some kids will avoid credit cards in college altogether, while others will sign up but save them for emergencies.
Encourage Them to Be Enterprising
While it’s important for students to have enough time for study, many are able to hold down part-time jobs in college. They may qualify for work study right on campus, or they could get a job in retail or fast food nearby. Seasonal jobs are particularly plentiful in the fall. Other options include mowing lawns, babysitting, walking dogs and writing online content. Students who earn their own spending money are getting a head start on learning to manage in adulthood.
Be discerning about your college students’ money needs. Don’t empty your retirement fund so your kids can live it up in Cancun on spring break. However, genuine emergencies do come up. When that happens, it’s time for Mom and Dad to come to the rescue. There are many ways to send cash. For instance, sharemoney.com is a fast and easy option, and fees for use are low. If you have any money to spare, this is the time to get your kids out of a jam.
Concerns about money plague people throughout their lives, but college needn’t be a time of extreme money stress for students. With preparation, industriousness and a little extra help in times of crisis, students can get avoid financial disaster in college.