How can I help my student manage money?

November 03, 2023

Guiding students toward financial maturity is a complicated but important task for parents. Here are some ways you can monitor your children’s financial practices and help them develop financial independence.

 

High school and college are both great times for young adults to learn about money management and financial independence. It’s often up to parents to offer guidance and support. For that reason, many parents want to keep an eye on their student’s finances to see how money is being spent and ensure that accounts are adequately funded.

Consider using the following strategies to help your student manage money.

 

Co-own your student’s account

One strategy is to co-own an account with your student. You might co-own a saving or checking account or share a credit card by adding them as an authorized user. Having visibility into your student’s activity can help you guide their financial decisions, and it can help them get a head start on building their own financial future.

  • Account notifications: Many accounts offer email or text notifications when payments are received, deposits are made, or account balances reach a certain level. Signing up for these alerts is a good way to track your student’s budgeting and spending. You will also receive security alerts in case something suspicious happens on the account.
  • Remote banking: Most banks offer remote banking tools, including online and mobile banking. These tools can be useful for students because they allow them to get up-to-date account information and pay bills right from their phone. Encourage your student to use these tools regularly, especially to check their account balance before making a purchase.
  • Credit cards: You can help your child get a jump-start on building credit by adding them as an authorized user on your credit card. Even if they don’t use the card, the account history will reflect on their credit profile which can help them when it comes time to apply for their own card or other types of credit, or for a loan, like a car loan.

 

Be a financial role model

One of the best ways you can teach a young adult about smart money management is by being a good role model. Show your children how you make financial decisions. For instance, provide details on your budgeting process or tax obligations so they have an example to build from.

Seeing parents practice good financial habits helps students learn what it takes to manage their own finances independently. Smart topics to discuss include living within one’s means, using credit wisely, the basics of checking account management and the power of saving even small sums of money regularly.

 

Keep in touch

Be sure to keep communication open so your children know that they can come to you with financial questions. If you’re monitoring your child’s account and notice a low balance or extravagant charges, have a conversation early on to address the behavior.

Even if you don’t have access to your child’s account, it’s important to stay in touch. If your children ask for money more than usual, follow up with why they need it and ask them to share their budget with you. If you need to send money to your student, there are a few ways to do it:

  • Use a mobile banking app to transfer funds. 
  • Use a digital payment app like Zelle® to send money. 
  • Write a check, which your child can deposit at a bank or with a mobile app. Mail a prepaid gift card.

Remember, a student’s learning doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom. Having open and frequent discussions with your children about money is a good way to set them up for financial independence after they leave school.

 

Ready to get the conversation started about your student’s financial future? Make an appointment with one of our bankers and if your student is in college, check out these additional resources designed to support them.

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