The time’s arrived and your young adult is off to college. It’s definitely worth celebrating, but if you’re like most parents there’s a bit of worry mixed into the equation too.
Don’t fret! Follow this checklist so you and your son or daughter is well-prepared for their new life adventure.
Helping your student manage their finances from afar doesn’t have to be complicated. Establish a monthly budget and get a debit card for regular expenses they can draw from their checking account. Also consider a credit card for emergencies and occasional large purchases to build credit and responsibility. Keep copies of the card numbers in case of theft or loss.
Discuss the importance of maintaining a good credit score and how to use a credit card wisely to avoid interest charges.
As parents, you will likely pick up the tab for school essentials such as books, a laptop, and supplies for their dorm room. Give your son or daughter a budget, ask them to find what they need online, and then order it and have it delivered directly to them. Many businesses offer free shipping and if they’re frugal shoppers, they’ll get more for their money.
Don’t assume your child has all the life skills they need to live alone. They might not admit it, but moving away for the first time can be somewhat terrifying.
Offer to help them set up their dorm room. They may not have tools to hang pictures or assemble furniture or they may just need a little reassurance. Hopefully, they’ve already been grocery shopping, washed and dried clothes, and ran a vacuum cleaner.
Do they know how to change a tire or where to take their car for servicing if it needs it? If they’re using public transportation, do they know where to go, how much it costs, and where to buy a pass or ticket?
If your son or daughter’s moving out-of-state, you may want to revisit your cellphone plan. Before they leave home, consider upgrading your plan to include unlimited talk time and texts. Family plans often offer the best deals on data packages, too.
Protect Their Belongings
Your student will probably have a laptop, cellphone, and perhaps a bicycle too. Check with your insurance agent and ensure they’re covered under your policy for theft and accidental damage.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy might cover your student’s contents, but don’t automatically assume it. If your kid lives on campus, you can usually extend coverage. If they live off-campus, they’ll need a separate renter’s insurance policy.
Don’t forget about auto insurance if your kid’s taking their car. They may need additional coverage if they intend to share it with a roommate. If they’ll leave their car behind, your agent can probably offer you a discount while it’s parked at home.
Protect Their Health
Ensure your child is covered under your health insurance program while they’re at college, especially if they are attending an out of state school. Where can they seek care and are urgent care visits covered? Sometimes it is better to obtain health coverage through the college or university.
Obtain a health care proxy form online or from your doctor. If your child is over 18 years old, doctors and health care providers won’t speak to you unless you have it.
Your young student will need to learn how to manage things themselves. However, let them know you’re there for them as they grow. Of course, unexpected things happen, but if you’ve followed our checklist you’ve already reduced the risk.