Life After Graduation – What Should Your Kids Know?
Graduation is a major step for those important young adults in our life. Whether it be graduating from high school or graduating from college, a parent’s goal is always to see their kids launch successfully and stay successfully launched. How do you do that? Well, we have few ideas for you.
- The Cost of Living. Most parents continue to foot the bill or part of the bill throughout college. Yet, this might have a downside for your kids – you might be surprised how little they actually know about what it really costs for them to live. What are you paying? Insurances, rent, car payments, etc.? These can create a major gap in their understanding.
If you want to help them get the best footing they can, they need to have realistic expectations as they launch. Our suggestion: help them develop a budget. Include all the expenses they incur, no matter who pays.
There are a couple of added bonuses to this approach: First, they may be apt to look for a career with better benefits since they understand the full cost of healthcare, savings, college, etc. And second, you are preparing them for the moment when the scissors come out and the string is cut, making it much easier.
- Life Hacks. Do you remember the first time you were in a nine-line bind and had absolutely no clue what to do or where to turn? Give them a toolkit before they need wire cutters. Knowing when and where to change your oil and rotate your tires may be a no-brainer for you, but have you included your kids in the upkeep of their vehicles?
After my first year out of high school, I didn’t know I had to file taxes or when! No kidding! They need a handbook, a calendar, a to do list from you.
Think about things like servicing your AC unit, turning up the temp on the AC unit to conserve energy, pest control, car or renters’ insurance, all the things to consider when you buy a home, what to keep in your car in case of an emergency, where to go or what to do if you get sick….and WHO are the WHOs for the emergency calls if they can’t get you. Who can they trust?
- Good Credit. Great credit is one of the most important things you can have in life. Studies show that it can literally save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. The sad thing is that most people mess up their credit when they are young. Whether it is because they spent more than they could afford or out of simple ignorance, it can follow and limit them for years.
Furthermore, there are so many misconceptions about what it takes to have good credit. The biggest being that if you don’t use your credit cards or have debt then you have good credit. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you don’t use it to create a history, you lose it. You just have to learn to use it responsibly. Our suggestion: Give your kids the best gift they will ever get. Teach them everything they need to know to keep great credit.
Thanks to our good friend Phil Tirone at 720creditscore.com, your kids and you can participate in an education series that helps to build or repair your credit while you do it. It is called the “Credit Rebuilder Program.”
- Legal Documents. If your kids are 18, you can’t speak for them, sign for them, make decisions for them…even medical ones. This little-known fact could be disastrous at the wrong time—when an emergency arises. Your kids need their own legal documents. And assets like checking accounts, credit cards, and cars need proper titling.
If your kids still want your help, you need to be asking about Powers of Attorney—both medical and financial. Furthermore, you need to be extremely careful how assets are titled. You could open yourself up to your kids’ liabilities just by being a co-owner on an asset.
- A New Season…Every season of life brings its challenges. We want the world to be a rosy place for our kids, but that isn’t reality. Prepare them. I know what you are thinking…they won’t listen to you. You are the parent. This is true. Experience has taught us, though, that they listen more than you think.
It’s an election year. Do you kids know the importance of their vote? You know they will probably change jobs or careers a few times. Do they? You know things will be financially tight from time to time? Do they?
Our suggestion: Write them a letter. In fact, write them a letter often. Pass down your wisdom, your passions, your stories, your failures, your victories, your faith. This will provide a better foundation than you know. In fact, it is probably the most important thing you can do on this list.
You are entering a new season too, but you are still very much the bedrock of these young adults’ lives. Be sure to celebrate yourself and this new chapter! And it is okay to keep on giving… and not just from your pocket book!