Tsue ~ That's What She Said: College Finances ~ Student Loan Burdens vs. Financial Independence

Sunday, November 4, 2012

College Finances ~ Student Loan Burdens vs. Financial Independence

My family has spent countless days and hours helping our teenage daughter narrow down her list of colleges and universities.  Although we started visiting schools and researching when she was a high school junior, the time is, quite literally, flying by.  Although I had a difficult time in deciding my major of study in college, it has been a blessing that our daughter has remained firm on her plans of study.   Even so, now that her list has been narrowed down to three universities, I am pleased that she is taking such an active, thoughtful role in the process.  Despite a significantly smaller list of options than she started with, there are countless considerations yet to be weighed.    As much as it pains this mother's heart to watch her preparing to fly from the nest, I am reassured in that she is clearly thinking well into the future, taking into account internship programs, future career outlooks and the unsavory subject of student loan burden post graduation.

Although the Teen Diva enjoys a shopping trip just as much as her mother, I am reassured in that, despite a ready willingness to help her parents part with their own discretionary budget, she is much more cautious and careful with her own earnings gained from her part time job.  My husband and I are very pleased that the ground work we have laid in the years past have taken hold and that she is exhibiting solemn respect for money.  With the specifics of athletic and academic scholarship offers still being negotiated, we are encouraged as we help her weigh the benefits of one school over the next, as she balances program strength and reputation, as well as professional connections, with both the total and anticipated cost of each school.  Simply that she realizes in these early days that the decisions and commitments she makes in the next months will have a significant impact on her personal finances post college helps to bolster our confidence that she is ready for this all important next step in her life.

Even so, in the months and years ahead, there will certainly be more opportunities for her father and I to help her learn how to determine the right financial path for her, both while she is a student and when she enters the professional arena.   Quite frankly, although we felt perfectly prepared to guide the children through the first step of their education about smart money choices, I have no doubt we will be brushing up on our own knowledge and understanding of more sophisticated post-college financial choices and strategies to help her in becoming financially independent.

Preparing Students For Post-Graduation Financial Decisions

Begin financial education early.  
Children who manage their own money are more successful with money as young adults.

Be open and frank about college expenses.
Students who understand their role in funding their college education 
will make more responsible choices and decisions.

Put your student in the driver's seat in regard to college.
Supporting and assisting your student as they move through the myriad of college selection and commitment is vital, however present the process as their ultimate decision and responsibility.  The more involved your student is in the process, the more realistic and important their choices become.

View choices from all perspectives.
The collegiate experience is fun and rewarding, however also a means to an end.  Carefully weigh the benefits of one program to another, considering the long term outcome in both preparation for entering a professional field and in regard to professional connections.  

Review what is new.
With a student preparing to enter college, it may have been some time since you last evaluated your own financial decisions and investments In today's ever-changing economy, re-educating yourself and re-aligning your financial plans is often necessary.  The new exploration you undertake will put you in a better position to help advise your student as they prepare to graduate.

Do you have a student in college or on their way?
What financial advise do you share with them?
How are they handling their young adult experiences?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Information sourced from Genworth Financial  The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  My Disclosure Policy.


Pam said...

Yes, I have a student in college and she seems to be adjusting fairly well to her young adult experiences. I'm glad we laid the groundwork for thriftiness although I think more advice is needed. :)

Crystal Threeprncs said...

Nope no college kids here. I guess it won't be too long before I have to start teaching them some financial skills though.

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