Heading off to college is an exciting time. It can also be an overwhelming experience. Truth be told, my son was excited; it was me who was overwhelmed by the thought that my little boy had grown up.
For the majority of college bound students, college represents the first step toward financial independence. This is the first time they’ll really learn how to handle money, when to spend money and how to budget. After you drop them at the dorm, it’s pretty much sink or swim for your child.
Here’s how you can provide them the tools they need to take care of their money today, as well as start building a solid financial foundation for tomorrow.
Your student needs a checking account to pay tuition, buy books and, of course, for late night pizza runs. Our FirstStep checking account has no monthly fees, no direct deposit requirement and we reimburse ATM fees. So, no matter if your child is looking at community college or has his or her eye on NYU – you know they won’t waste money on ATM fees.
Plus, it’s easy to set up recurring transfers to your child’s account online or by phone – you can even make deposits directly from your paycheck. Transferring money in a pinch is easy too. You can do it online and funds will be immediately available.
Many students open their first credit card for a “free” giveaway like a t-shirt. Along with their freebie, they probably will get a high interest rate and often an annual fee. I encourage you to research credit cards with your student and find a low-rate option with no annual fee, like our Visa Platinum Starter Card which features a low initial limit to help teach responsible spending. With timely payments, they’ll start building their credit. After all, their first car or mortgage loan isn’t that far away.
School, work, trying to fit in a social life – college life can be demanding. Luckily, with a little preparation, you can you drive away from campus with a feeling of confidence. (And maybe only a few tears.)
Here are a few tools that may help:
Calculator: How much should I be saving for college?
Article: Credit for Your Kids: Financial Tool or Debt Sentence
Article: Student Loans Help Make College Dreams a Reality