College funding

Establishing healthy financial habits that will last a lifetime

Apr 24, 2012

School is almost out for summer and with warmer weather comes summer jobs, family vacations and preparation for the next school year. If you’re a parent worried about your kids saving habits, there’s encouraging news. According to a poll by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation's financial literacy website, Themint.org, 79% of people say they would rather have $500 dollars to spend five years from now than $50 to spend today. Although younger people continue to save less than older folks, the overall trend is towards increased financial literacy. Why not use this summer to improve your family’s financial habits? It will definitely pay off.

If your child is employed over break, help them develop a plan for saving a portion of their income. It doesn’t matter what your kid makes, what’s important is that they allocate a percentage to savings. Younger kids involved with babysitting or lawn mowing may need more assistance then older teenagers, but the goal should be the same. Helping your children develop healthy savings habits with their first job will build good habits for the future. See these tips for more ideas about talking to your kids about money.

Planning a summer vacation? Have a frank conversation with your kids about the cost, and make sure they understand that rewards such as vacations require diligent saving throughout the year. If your kids are older, have them be responsible for providing a portion of their spending money. Give younger kids a set amount to spend on souvenirs, and use the opportunity to explain that the cost of even small purchases adds up. Need more advice on vacation planning? Check out this advice.

With the cost of higher education rising every year, parents of high school kids should start discussing college expenses as soon as possible. Establish a 529 plan or other savings vehicle if you are financially able, and talk to your kids about the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. Teenagers that are able to find work should start allocating a portion of their income to an account specifically set up for college expenses, and scholarships should be thoroughly researched and evaluated well before application deadlines. Sit down with your teen and illustrate how college loans will impact their lives after graduation, and help your child make an informed and financially responsible decision about the best option after high school. Check out Financial Fitness Ohio for more tips.

It’s never too early to help your kids establish healthy financial habits that will last a lifetime.

For more information, visit Financial Fitness Ohio.

Interested in helping 5th and 6th grade students in your community develop healthy financial habits? Apply to play FETCH! in your school. It teaches children about budgeting, saving and spending through a fun and interactive board game.

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