The old saying “time flies” is never truer than when you are preparing to send your child off to college for the first time. You think back to when she started school, and all of the milestones she’s attained since. Middle School, Braces, First Dances, First Sleep Away Camp, High school, first time driving, getting her Driver’s License, leaving the house on her own that first time….so many changes. And here comes a new challenge. She will have to learn how to navigate the world on her own. She will be making choices on classes, and how to time manage all of her social interests as well. She will have a new living and social scene, and she will also be responsible for her own finances.
Here are 10 things at eighteen I wish I’d known about money. By talking with her early and often, I hope to give her more advantage in life.
- It isn’t selfish to take care of yourself. With all of the competing priorities wanting more and more of your time and attention, sometimes it’s best to say NO!
- With your money you have to think about how to care for yourself. It’s important to plan not just for today, but for the “what if’s” that may come. So, with that summer job money a good rule of thumb is after you pay taxes, 10% should go to emergency savings, and 10% to a Roth IRA, with what is left you have your spending money. Act like the savings and Roth IRA don’t exist.
- Think of the things that you will need for school like:
- Parking Passes
- Club Dues
- Social Events
Make an estimate of those expenses and then add 20% more. That will give you a spending plan, and if you spending money account can’t handle the expenses, then cut out what is your lowest priority. NO…That isn’t books or your savings!
- Set up an end of semester review. What was your spending plan and how did you do? If you ran into trouble, why was that? Did you eat out more than you thought, or where there expenses you didn’t plan on? Analyze what went well and what needs improvement and then do it! It is as important to look back as it is to move forward.
- Make sure your debt card is not tied to your main savings account. If that is lost or hacked, you could lose all your savings.
- Stay away from those free offers you get! That tee shirt for signing up for the credit card can be the most expensive thing you will own inside a year!
- Guard your personal information. Identity theft can damage your credit before you even get started. Never email personal information! I know that sounds basic, but I have seen it with my clients so often.
- Your world is global, and so is your competition. Make sure you look outside of your school, and outside of the US to make sure you will be competitive in the global economy. What trends are effecting the major’s you are interested in? Technology is changing the face of all types of careers, don’t forget to understand how that will affect your career choice in the long term. You don’t want to invest all of these resources in a career that is disappearing.
- Be curious…continuous learning will be your best tool against becoming obsolete. Analytical skills and being able to communicate that information will be extraordinarily helpful in your future.
- Remember that everyone’s relationship with money is different. The best relationships have balance. If you make friend who is making careless decisions with money, chances are they are careless in other areas of their lives too. Be careful, and realize that having money or the lack of money doesn’t define you. You are the master of your own ship, and you will determine how far you will go.
- Be confident that you can do it! You’ve been through so many challenges to get to this new summit, but it is only the beginning of your journey. By following these steps at this next graduation you will have the best thing that savings can give you…choices. I know you can do it.
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The information provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute an offer, solicitation or recommendation to sell or an offer to buy securities, investment products or investment advisory services.All information, views, opinions and estimates are subject to change or correction without notice. Nothing contained herein constitutes financial, legal, tax, or other advice. These opinions may not fit to your financial status, risk and return preferences.