As a parent you will probably never feel like your job is done, and the truth is, it never will be. Even as your children approach college age there are still so many lessons to teach them and tips to bring to their attention so that the path they will walk as an adult can be as healthy as possible. Money can be a sensitive subject inside any household but as your children inch closer and closer to the independence that comes with college life, consider broaching the subject with them so that they are set up for financial success once they leave the nest.
How to Pay for Tuition and Beyond
It does not matter if your child is paying for school themselves, receives a scholarship, or you are footing the bill entirely, they should still understand what it costs to not just earn a college degree, but to live life during these years as well. Tuition is of course the largest part of the bill, but your kids may not realize there are many other costs that come with being a student. Room and board, transportation, books, and even individual course fees can add up quickly. And this is just their responsible money, they will also want, and need, cash to enjoy their life while they are attending college.
When the time comes to seek out student loans, one thing your child probably does not have going for them yet is an established credit history. This can place a damper on their opportunities because lenders will want proof that he/she is a trustworthy candidate for a loan. Since they will be the holder of the loan, they need to know the ins and outs of the process as well as the repayment terms but by offering to be a student loan cosigner you are gifting your child your personal credit history as a means to receive more favorable terms.
Living Within Their Means
If you have not already spoken about budgeting with your kid, now is as good a time as any. Once they start living on their own, they are going to experience a shock to their routine when they realize that they are solely responsible for the management of their own schedule, and resources. It is likely that your child has never had to grocery shop, handle all cleaning responsibilities, and pay bills up to this point and juggling all that at once can be overwhelming.
Educate them on the basics of a budget, what a budget is, the purpose for it, and then the development of one that suits their current lifestyle. Just because you are in college does not mean you must eat Ramen for every meal, for example, budgeting money to be able to shop sustainably and locally for food is possible if they are willing to make sacrifices in other areas. Often kids assume budgets are meant to restrict them, but you can help them realize that they exist in large part to help them afford everything they want in life, just in a more responsible and structured way.