How can I Help my Soon-to-be-College Student with Her Financial IQ?!

2015 March 26

{Popmoney.com is sponsoring this series of posts, read them all here.}

We’re at that crazy intersection where our oldest child is trying to decide which college to attend!

 

 

College kid financial IQ student loans taxes and how to splitroommate costs with PopmoneyHow did we arrive at this point already? I have NO IDEA?

Yesterday I was reminding her to comb her hair. Last week I was helping her learn to read. A month ago she took her first steps.

How can she possibly be heading off to college this FALL?!

Four schools accepted her. She’s ruled out two. She’s visiting the other two campuses; attempting to figure out which might be the better fit for her personality, style and future career plans.

At the beginning of the process money was the biggest factor between the 2 colleges, because one boasts a MUCH HIGHER tuition. Now though, thanks to a couple scholarships she earned (Talk about Proud Parenting Moments?) the two schools are on about the same financial playing field.

It’s been an interesting road to watch her drive down, since it’s the first major decision she is making somewhat—okay mostly— without parental input. Either way, I’m sure she’ll do wonderful and the rest of her life is ahead of her. (Pardon me while I go get a tissue.)

My new big mommy fear is not sending her out in the big world of university life—ALONE, no.  Now I’m much more worried about her financial IQ? Can she handle the financial grenades about to be thrown at her?

College Financial Questions for New Students?

  • Student Loans? Yes or No?
  • Work during Freshman Year? Yes or No?
  • How to share Room Mate costs?
  • Credit Cards? (Oh please no.) But maybe she need’ll need the practice to learn financial self control?
  • What do we do about Taxes for a college kid? Should she be doing anything differently?
  • If we need to send money to her, how do we do that?

Because let’s face it. She barely dares talk to ‘grown ups’ on the phone, much less walk in to a bank and deal with loans, credit cards or checking accounts.

I searched around the interwebs for advice on helping new college students tackle these financial questions. Because—what 18 year old listens to their mother?

7 Suggestions to help your college kid become financially smart and less dependent:

 

  1. BE PRACTICAL
    I really like this article from Fastweb with 30 practical money saving tips for college students. Please see #22: actually ATTEND classes. Gee? No kidding!
  2. KEEP INCREASING TEST SCORES
    I HAD NO IDEA a kid can keep taking the ACT or SAT test up until the end of their senior year, not because they are vying for a spot at their academic institution of choice (they already know where they’re going by then)… BUT! There are still financial aid options and scholarships they can continue to apply for and a better test score is… a BETTER TEST SCORE! My kid is about to take the ACT one last time because she could automatically get several thousand dollars more in state scholarships with just a few more points!!
  3. SAVE MONEY ON ATM FEES, USE Popmoney
    Popmoney easy way to request and send money without an online wallet, straight checking to checking and flat $ .95 fee.When kids are sharing the expenses of college living there are likely a lot of times when they will need to split restaurant bills, rent, gift giving, internet/electricity/utilities and more. One way for them to do that easily without running to an ATM every time is to use their Smart Phones! Using Popmoney via their phones with an app, they can either request or send money for a Flat $0.95 rate. There is no online wallet involved, it simply moves funds from one checking account to the other.

    Kids under 18 usually need their parents to help create a checking account. But parents can also use Popmoney to send money to their kid’s checking account while on the fly.
  4. UNDERSTAND COLLEGE TAX CREDITS
    I’m reading cheat sheets on college tax savings as fast as I can. There are a couple different kinds of college tuition tax credits, but there are a lot of rules as well. Plus depending on how you claim your kids you might not qualify if your income is too high. But worth understanding it all anyway.
  5. USE CREDIT AND CREDIT CARDS WISELY
    Kids under age 21 have a harder time getting credit cards on their own since 2009. Which is a GOOD thing! But there are several credit card options for college kids if parents are willing and able to step in and continue being parents a few years longer. I’m willing. Most of these options come with built in ways to avoid financial nightmares. I LIKE THAT.
  6. WORKING IN COLLEGE
    Should kids work while in college? The answer is YES. And NO? The real answer according to USnews is to work… a little bit. 10-15 hours has been shown to help kids graduate more than kids in college with no job at all.
     
  7. BORROW STUDENT LOANS WITH EYES WIDE OPEN
    With the massive increase in college tuition, kids today have little choice but to take on some student loan debt. In this fascinating list of college loan factoids and 17 graphs, QUARTZ shares a snapshot of the student loan bubble. They encourage you NOT to freak out, borrow the least amount necessary and well… they don’t really SEE an answer in sight. Keep other costs low and hope there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

 

 

student loan debt increased to 43%

 

In this brave new world where college students graduate with a degree in one hand and the equivalent of a home mortgage (student loan) debt in the other, I’m committed to helping my kid navigate the financial pitfalls of university life the best she can. I was always very proud of the fact that I put myself through college. But looking back I couldn’t possibly do it on my own with the current tuition costs.

I don’t want my kid camping out in my basement when she graduates. I want her future to be bright and free from a stupid amount of debt when just be starting out. Who knows what graduate school will cost in a few short years?

Focusing on financial smarts and what we CAN do is my plan now to help my kiddo’s dreams come true with the least amount of debt while teaching her how to increase her financial IQ.

 

Disclosure: This is a Popmoney sponsored post. I’ve been using Popmoney for months now. I pay my son’s piano teacher from my phone via Popmoney each month. My sister made me the most amazing boot cuffs and I paid her with Popmoney too. I split the hotel costs with roommates at a recent blogging conference… it was fast and painless… I just sent a Popmoney request via my smart phone!

I’m a fan as well as an ambassador. These are my opinions.

 

Share Button
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera