In the next two months, those words will ring out in high school graduation ceremonies all across the country. And if you have a high school senior in your home, then chances are that things are about to change dramatically, both for you and your high school senior.
There are a few things that you need to take care of before sending your senior off to college. In essence, you need to really prepare your student for college. While your college-bound student should be emotional and mentally prepared for the challenge of higher education, there is no way to know how they are going to adapt to a new environment, especially if your student is moving far away for school.
Set Them Up for Success
The most important thing you can do is to be involved in the process of enrolling. That means going to orientation with your son or daughter. It means figuring out which courses are required in the first year, and it means helping your student get registered. You don’t have to do it for them, but be there to support the process and help problem-solve.
It’s also smart to take a self-guided campus tour. Have your son or daughter lead the way, just so they feel comfortable navigating in unfamiliar surroundings.
If you haven’t already done so, set your son or daughter up with his or her own bank account. Teach them to account for expenses in a checkbook ledger, and teach them to develop and actually use a budget.
Depending on maturity, this might also be a good time to consider a “starter” credit card with a very low limit. Certain banks, many of which will likely be marketing to students on campus, will offer low-limit cards. Such cards should be used to establish a credit file, not to indulge in rampant consumerism. Judge your student’s maturity level and ability to grasp that concept and make a good decision.
Transferring Other Responsibility
College is a good time to teach your student about taking responsibility for things other than just money and registering for classes. It’s a good opportunity for you to have a serious discussion about the responsibility that accompanies adulthood.
Things you can discuss include health care proxies and living wills. Of course you’ll want to be designated as a decision-maker, but by having these conversations, you can begin to impart a sense of what it means to function in society as a responsible adult and what it means to take responsibility for oneself. There is nothing wrong with creating good legal documents for your college-bound student. In fact, it’s a good idea and it can give you a sense of security in knowing that certain details have been handled.
It’s really never too early to have these conversations. Unfortunately, it’s often too late. While it might seem morbid to have such discussions when a “New Beginning” is at hand, the truth is that these issues need to be addressed. The very beginning is really the best time to plan for any possible eventualities.
We’ll Help You Launch
We can craft some custom documents for you and for your college-bound student. To that end, we want to have a very serious conversation with you about your estate and legacy planning. Call our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session™, and if you mention this article by name, we will waive our customary $750 fee. Use this opportunity to learn for yourself so that you can be a good role model for your future college student.