Log In   ·   Become A Member

Begin Your Child’s College Education With A Lesson In Finance

Rocco A. Carriero

Managing finances as a college freshman can be an even bigger challenge than navigating an unfamiliar campus or acing a calculus test, but parents can help new students get off to a good start. You may have found it hard to squeeze in time to talk with your college-aged child about money before he or she packed the car and set off to begin a new chapter, but it's essential that families set aside time for a financial conversation over a weekend at home or holiday break. Consider covering the following topics during this important conversation:

1. "You're spending real money." Understanding where tuition and other funds are coming from may inspire your child to spend more carefully. Clarify that loans will have to be repaid with interest and while scholarships, grants and gifts may seem like "free money," there are expectations that they'll be used responsibly. If you're providing financial support, be clear about which expenses you are - and aren't - expecting to cover. If your student requests more spending money than you're willing or able to provide, suggest a job or paid internship. These can provide young adults with valuable work experiences and make their "fun money" a bit more tangible.

2. "Budget for surprise costs." Freshmen encounter many unexpected expenses like club fees, transportation costs and social dues. Tracking these, as well as any regular bills and necessary purchases, can help your child be more prepared in the future. Budgeting is essential, especially since students don't typically have a significant source of income. Warn your son or daughter to avoid wasteful spending habits such as buying expensive lattes or disregarding ATM fees. These may seem like minor expenses, but they add up over the course of a semester.

3. "Using credit is okay, if you do it right." Though it may worry you to see a credit card in your child's wallet, having knowledge about the importance of good credit and the role it plays in the future purchase of a home or vehicle can help young adults establish financial independence. Explain how credit ratings and interest work, and suggest charging only very small amounts that can be easily paid off on a monthly basis. Advise your son or daughter to view their online statement at least weekly to avoid fraud and overspending.

4. "Don't try to keep up with your roommate." No matter where your child attends college there will be students who can afford - or who choose - to spend frivolously. Encourage your son or daughter to be conscious of their spending habits regardless of your family's financial situation. If your child decides to splurge on a spring break trip or expensive night downtown, stress the importance of careful saving and budgeting well ahead of time to avoid ensuing debt.

5. "We'll help, but we expect you to be accountable." Having a child leave for college can be emotionally and financially stressful, and the toughest part for many parents is deciding when to intervene. If you fear your son or daughter is making poor decisions - including financial ones - start by addressing the situation. But don't be afraid to let your child struggle a bit if the financial mistakes and consequences are small enough to correct without long-term damage. Learning the value of money is often easiest when it's not always readily available and young adults can take responsibility for their own successes and failures.

Rocco is a Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Southampton, NY. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for over 20 years. Advisors is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of NY, NJ, TX, MA, PA, NC, NH, UT, NV, CA, NM, WA, VT, MS, MD, RI, FL, MO, SC, GA, MN, CT, AZ. Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation. Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. www.roccocarriero.com

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is a firetruck?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
BNB Bank
For over 100 years Bridgehampton Bank has been the East End's hometown bank. Many success stories...one bank, BNB!

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 34 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant. Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.

Alex Ferrone Gallery
As the only one of its kind on the North Fork, we exhibit and sell contemporary fine art works by mid-career and emerging artists with an emphasis on photo-based art. Fine art admirers and collectors enjoy opportunities to meet our exhibiting artists at special events including public receptions, Gallery Talks, and workshops.

Alex Ferrone Gallery
As the only one of its kind on the North Fork, we exhibit and sell contemporary fine art works by mid-career and emerging artists with an emphasis on photo-based art. Fine art admirers and collectors enjoy opportunities to meet our exhibiting artists at special events including public receptions, Gallery Talks, and workshops.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.