As parents, we want to see our children become independent, but the transition to financial independence has unique challenges. I get it. I have three children of my own, and each of them deals with money differently. The transition can be especially difficult if you are a family that doesn’t talk openly about money.
Regardless of whether money has been an open topic in the past, as your high school graduate moves on to the next chapter in their life, it’s important to help them start thinking about their financial future. College tuition, rent, and other expenses can be overwhelming for young adults who are just starting on their own. But, as a parent, you can play a vital role in helping your child thrive financially. In this article, we’ll provide five tips for you to help your high school graduate prepare for a solid financial future.
Share your own experiences. One of the most valuable things you can do to help your high school graduate thrive financially is to share your own experiences with money. Talk to your child about the financial mistakes you’ve made in the past and what you’ve learned from them. Share your successes and failures and encourage your child to learn from both. This can help your child understand that financial success is a journey and that everyone makes mistakes along the way. By being honest and open about your own experiences, you can help your child develop a healthy attitude toward money and avoid making the same mistakes that you did.
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Communicate your expectations. It’s important to communicate your expectations to your high school graduate regarding their financial responsibilities. Let them know what kind of financial support you are willing to provide, if any, and for how long. Be clear about your expectations for their spending habits and encourage them to live within their means. If you are providing financial support, make sure to set clear guidelines for how the money should be used and how often you will give it. By communicating your expectations early on, you can help your child understand their financial responsibilities and prepare them for financial independence.
Help them understand wants versus needs. There is so much temptation to spend when you’re out on your own for the first time! It’s important for your high school graduate to understand the difference between wants and needs when it comes to their finances. Help them prioritize their spending by identifying their essential needs, such as rent, utilities, and food. Encourage them to avoid unnecessary expenses and consider cheaper alternatives for their wants. By developing good spending habits early on, your child can avoid overspending and build a strong financial foundation.
Teach them about budgeting. Budgeting is a fundamental aspect of financial management, and while there are a lot of adverse reactions to the word “budget,” it’s really just a plan for your money. It’s important to teach your high school graduate how to create, evaluate, and adjust their budget as needed. Start by showing them how to track their expenses, including rent, utilities, and groceries. Encourage them to set aside some of their income for savings and emergencies. Help them prioritize their spending to ensure they have enough money for their basic needs before spending on discretionary items. Finally, show them the system you use, whether it’s paper and pencil, an app, or a spreadsheet. If you don’t have a system, take some time to explore options together.
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Encourage them to start building credit. Building credit is essential for establishing a strong financial foundation. Help them understand the variables that impact a good credit score and how to maintain it. Encourage your high school graduate to apply for a credit card or become an authorized user on your credit card. Teach them how to use credit responsibly, including paying their bills on time and keeping their credit utilization low. It’s important to monitor their credit report regularly to ensure there are no errors or fraudulent activity. A good credit score will help them secure loans, rent an apartment, and even get a job in some cases.
As parents, we want the best for our children, and that includes helping them thrive financially. By empowering your high school grad to develop good money management skills, you can help them create a strong financial foundation for their future. Encourage them to seek out additional resources and advice. Your high school graduate can achieve long-term financial success with your support and guidance.