If you have a teen researching their college options, use this experience to teach them how to responsibly manage their finances.
Sit with your student and work together to figure out how costs of going to different schools will affect their financial future. This is the time to go full out with an actual spreadsheet that captures it all: tuition, room and board, meal plans, etc. Remember to be balanced – also include financial aid, scholarships and grants. And of course, don’t forget about student loans and interest. If you’re not sure where to start, there are lots of college cost comparison worksheets and calculators available online.
Review and discuss the different options together, so your student understands how much money is needed during school, as well as how much in student loans they may have to pay back after graduation.
This is also the perfect opportunity to start helping your son or daughter think about how much they can afford after graduation. Discuss costs of living such as rent, transportation, and food – again, remember to factor in monthly student loan repayments.
The key is to have the discussion early — some lessons don’t have to wait until they’re in a classroom.
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