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Preparing for College: A Golden Opportunity for Financial Lessons and Setting Clear Expectations

The journey to college is an exciting time for both parents and their young adults. It marks the beginning of a new chapter filled with opportunities, growth, and independence. As parents, we want our children to succeed not only academically but also in managing their finances responsibly. The period leading up to the big move to college presents a unique opportunity to impart important financial lessons and set clear expectations and boundaries, even if you haven't communicated about money openly in the past. In this blog post, we will explore how to make the most of this time by teaching budgeting skills and fostering open communication to ensure a smooth transition into college life.

The Importance of Financial Preparedness

Before your young adult leaves for college, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of financial preparedness. College life introduces them to newfound independence, and managing their finances becomes a vital aspect of their personal growth. Sadly, some young adults face financial difficulties during college due to a lack of financial preparation.

Consider the case of Amy, who was unprepared to handle her finances when she started college. Her parents didn't discuss budgeting or financial expectations, resulting in her overspending and accumulating credit card debt. Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence. As a result, she struggled with mounting financial stress, impacting her academic performance and overall college experience. By teaching the significance of financial preparedness, we can prevent such situations and empower young adults to make informed financial decisions.

Teaching Budgeting Skills

Budgeting is one of the most fundamental financial skills. Remember that budgeting doesn't have to be a bad word. It's simply a plan for what you are going to do with your income. Learning to budget empowers young adults to allocate their resources wisely and avoid unnecessary debt. Start by sitting down with your child and explaining the concept of budgeting. Help them create a budget that covers their expenses, including tuition fees, accommodation, food, transportation, and personal expenses.

Some college-bound students resort to reckless spending without this essential financial skill. Jordan, for example, didn't have a budget and spent impulsively on non-essential items. Consequently, he faced financial hardships and had to regularly ask his parents for financial bailouts. By teaching budgeting skills, we can equip young adults to manage their money effectively, cultivate self-discipline, and develop financial independence.

Open Communication about Financial Expectations

Clear and open communication about financial expectations is essential for a successful transition into college life. Discuss your financial contribution and what expenses your child will be responsible for covering. Address any financial limitations and set realistic expectations regarding discretionary spending. This conversation will prevent misunderstandings and conflicts later on and will help your child develop a realistic view of their financial situation.

Failure to communicate financial expectations can lead to frustration and tension. For instance, Sarah, who assumed her parents would cover all her college expenses, didn't plan for personal spending or emergencies. When she needed extra money for textbooks and unexpected costs, her parents refused to provide additional funds, causing a strain on their relationship. By openly discussing financial expectations, we can create a supportive and transparent environment, fostering financial responsibility and trust.

Establishing Clear Boundaries

As your child prepares for college, it is essential to establish clear boundaries that balance their newfound independence with your ongoing support. Discuss your expectations regarding academic performance, time management, and responsible decision-making. Encourage them to embrace the college experience fully while staying focused on their educational goals.

Without clear boundaries, some young adults may fall into bad habits that hinder their college success. Mark, for instance, lacked clear expectations from his parents regarding his academic performance. As a result, he neglected his studies, leading to academic probation and jeopardizing his college journey. By setting clear boundaries, we can provide a sense of structure and accountability, guiding young adults toward making positive choices.

Encourage Part-Time Work or Internships

Part-time work or internships can be valuable experiences for college-bound young adults. Beyond earning extra income, these opportunities allow them to gain real-world experience and develop essential skills. Encourage your child to explore work-study programs, internships related to their field of study, or part-time jobs that complement their academic schedule.

Lack of exposure to work experiences can hinder young adults' ability to manage their finances effectively. Without understanding the value of earning money, some students may struggle to appreciate the importance of financial responsibility. By encouraging part-time work or internships, we can instill a strong work ethic, financial discipline, and a sense of responsibility in handling money.

You've Got This! 

As we prepare our young adults for college, we understand the significance of equipping them with essential financial skills and fostering open communication. Embracing this unique opportunity to teach budgeting, set clear expectations, and establish boundaries will empower them for a successful journey into higher education and beyond. We believe that a supportive community plays a crucial role in this process.

That's why we invite you to join our private Watch Her Thrive Facebook group. In this group, you will connect with like-minded women who are committed to learning what it truly means to embrace financial independence. Share experiences, exchange valuable insights, and discuss practical strategies to ensure your young adult's financial well-being during their college years and beyond. Together, we can create a nurturing environment that inspires financial growth and empowers our college-bound youth to thrive in their financial decisions. Let's embark on this journey together and build a brighter financial future for the next generation. Join us now and be a part of this empowering community!


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