Graduation season has hit us.
Soon, many high school seniors will cross a stage, take a diploma, and move their tassel from one side to the other.
For these seniors, it is a moment of excitement. For their parents, it is a moment of pride and some fear.
Are they ready for the world out there?
We have learned that a lot of financial damage can occur during the college years. We have heard the countless stories of debt-ravaged students struggling to launch into their careers.
And, of course, we don’t want our kids to be a part of that story.
So to what financial questions should your high school senior know the answer before they walk across that graduation stage?
- Do you know your budget? Do they understand how much they can spend on a monthly basis? Do they know where that spending should go? A budget is a powerful financial tool. Make sure they know how to use one.
- Do you understand the consequences of debt? They are going to be hit with a number of credit card offers. They will sound incredibly enticing. Do they understand what happens when they take on debt? Whether credit card debt or student loan debt, they need to get a clear mental picture of what life would be like after college with a load of debt.
- Do you understand what slacking off can cost you? It will be tempting to do this. But they need to know that slacking off can have scholarship ramifications, career ramifications, and tuition cost ramification (because you have to take a class over again).
- Do you know where to consistently look for scholarships? Financial aid is not just about student loans. They are where you can find all types of scholarship offerings. Make sure they know that office well. The time spent there can be a wise investment.
- Have you set realistic lifestyle expectations? Do they understand that they are a broke, college student? Do they understand that sometimes dinner consists of ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese? An unrealistic lifestyle expectation leads to unwise spending.
Congratulations on your child’s accomplishment. It is a big step in their life and yours. You did something right to get them to this point.
Continue to set them up for future success by talking about the importance of wise financial stewardship during college.
They may not understand the significance of the money decisions now, but they will when they are just a few years removed from college graduation.