Making Cents: Financial Tips For The College Send-Off
By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST
Are you sending kids off to college this fall? Whether this is your first trip with the car packed up or your child’s last year packing and taking herself off to college, consider these discussions and tips for helping them thrive in college.
Talk to them about income and expense budgets. Some kids are paying their own way and others have parents footing the bill for living and out-of-pocket expenses during the school year.
In either case, create a budget. It doesn’t have to be detailed expenditure by expenditure, but a general budget alerting junior just how much they can spend every week, month and semester is good training for real life. Create general categories such as entertainment, travel, school supplies and ask your child to monitor it under your supervision.
This is a far better alternative than learning during the winter break that your child has spent an entire year’s worth of money in one semester. Some of today’s over-leveraged economic problems in the U.S. may be because no one had the sense to drive this concept home into the minds of their children earlier in life.
Pay attention to health insurance. Make sure that your coverage will get your child access to the type of care that may be needed beyond what the school offers. This is more significant for children who travel abroad or those who require regular medical care. Travel abroad can be especially problematic with respect to health insurance, so learn about your options early.
The same may be true for the car that your child uses at school. Let the insurance company know that the car will be garaged at the school. It may also be a good time to talk to your child about granting permission to their friends regarding use of the car. We all want to be the good neighbor, and help a friend in need, but it may be a better policy to discourage allowing any college buddies from using the car.
For students living on campus, you should check to see that all of the in-dorm valuables are covered. This may be a simple call to your agent or a separate policy that you buy from the school or your insurance agent. For children living off campus, there is a good possibility that there is no coverage automatically. It could be as simple as notifying your insurance company or as complicated as adding a special rental policy or endorsement for the off campus housing.