This week we are talking about helping a child prepare financially for college. The first step is teaching them the importance of living within a budget. This may be challenging depending on what kind of parents you are. Children tend to manage money as their parents did. I heard a parent once say, 'I just can't get my children to listen to me. No matter how hard I try to teach them, they insist on doing what I do.' I won't say whether I'm actually that parent - it was probably a neighbor talking about their kids. We must show our children how to plan ahead. Involve them in the budget process. Start by writing down the cost of college, and then help them see the other expenses they'll be responsible for. Do they have a car? Do they pay for gas and insurance? Will they want to eat? This is how people learn to manage their money. It's one step at a time, one decision at a time. Next, I would stress the importance of maintaining good credit. Every contract has consequences if you break it. This includes cell phones, apartment leases, utilities, credit cards, or any other financial agreement. When they sign their names, they are signing a contract. Make sure they understand the responsibility. I know, that's easier said than done. Some children consistently sign their name on the dotted line, and don't fulfill their obligations. Why is that? In my experience, the blame often falls on the parent. I'll discuss that tomorrow. If you have a financial question for Ross, you can use the Marino on Money page.
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