Congratulations, you’ve helped your high school senior successfully navigate almost 12 years of school. Once they graduate, they will begin a new chapter in their lives as young adults and either continue with school or enter the workforce. Either way, you can help them make sure they are well prepared financially.
If college is the plan after graduation, make sure your student visits with the school counselor to learn about scholarship opportunities, such as the credit union’s scholarship. Also, even if you don’t think you will qualify, many experts recommend completing the FAFSA. The credit union doesn’t offer student loans, but try visiting SallieMae for student loan sources. Other sources of student loan information: Department of Education | Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp. | Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
If you do decide to use student loans, we would encourage you to do so wisely and only use the loans to pay for tuition, fees, and books, not living expenses. It is a very expensive way to finance everyday living expenses. Many of our part time tellers are enrolled in college, and they tell us it is a really good job to have during college and helps avoid acquiring too much student loan debt.
Whether your graduate’s plans include college or not, one of the most important things you can give them is a good understanding of money and credit. A case in point. My wife and I both went to college together. Her dad sent her with a low limit credit card from their credit union that he had provided her once she turned 18, and taught her to use it responsibly. I went to college not knowing about credit cards. Shortly after I arrived on campus, I received a mailbox full of credit card offers. I took one and had maxed the card out in no time. At that point, I was working a part time job just to pay off the balance. My wife used hers responsibly and got to enjoy the money she earned from her part time job.
Managing money for young adults is crucial, especially if you as a parent want to make sure they move out of the house and remain in their own place. Teach your student about your household budget so they understand how each paycheck is divided into savings, paying bills, money for nice to haves, such as clothes & entertainment, and money for have to haves, such as food & shelter.
Some of these topics may be difficult to talk about, but the payoff is a leg up financially as your student enters adulthood. Let us know if you have any questions.