Save, Save, Save.
- It is never too early to start a savings plan for your child. Even if you only contribute a small amount every month it adds up when it starts collecting interest.
- If your child ends up receiving scholarships, this money will be helpful for their other living expenses, to buy them a car or a great down-payment on their first home.
Research and encourage your child to be adventurous.
- The more information you have the better. It is never too soon to look at schools, prep programs and financial assistance options.
- Discuss possible career paths and look in to summer programs for high school students at colleges and universities. This will allow them to experience the career they think they want to pursue and give them a leg-up when they apply to schools.
- Explore subjects and topics beyond your child’s comfort level. If your child limits him or herself to just a few sets of subjects, your child may never find out what it is they are good at, or what really excites them.
Teach Financial Responsibility.
- When your child goes off to college s/he will most likely be on her or his own and although you will be helping out it is never too soon to teach your child to spend and handle money wisely.
- Encourage Them to Have a Summer Job or Part-time Job. Once your child is in high school s/he should start to learn what it is like to hold a job.
- While you want to make sure your child doesn’t miss admission deadlines, SAT testing dates, and financial aid deadlines, this is the time when s/he needs to start being independent. Going to college means being an adult and therefore your kids should be filling out applications themselves.
- Have them do their own laundry, prepare meals for the family and look after younger siblings. They will need to prepare to do these things on their own when they are away at school.
Teachable Moment: When kids receive money as a present for their birthday or for a holiday encourage them to deposit it into their college savings plan. Explain to them the value of saving it rather than spending it right away.