Financial Tips For New College Students
College is the first time many students will have to make regular decisions about their money.
Being on their own can be overwhelming for new college students. Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to help keep their finances off their list of potential concerns.
Let them establish credit—carefully
Students are bombarded with credit card offers on campus. Having a Secured Visa for establishing credit, or for emergencies, is a good idea. But it's paramount that they understand that a credit card should be treated like a loan—not a savings account.
Remind them to prioritize their expenses
Responsible, realistic budgeting—putting necessities at the top of the list—will carry a student far in financial success. If your loved one is struggling to stay on budget, consider opening a second checking account to be used only for rent, utilities, and other essential bills. Keeping discretionary money in a separate account can prevent overspending and resulting late or missed payments.
Save, save, save
Encourage your son or daughter to save any "extra" money they can, including graduation money, excess financial aid money, overtime from their paychecks and any other unplanned income.
Encourage identity protection
Free WiFi options abound at campus hot spots, cafes and libraries, which may be fine for basic browsing. But, be sure your student knows that only secure Wi-Fi access should be used for banking. "It's a good practice to verify that the public Wi-Fi network you are connecting to is operated by the facility you're visiting," said Bobby Hiers, Assistant Vice President of IT Security. "It's far too easy for hackers to impersonate a Wi-Fi name, or create an enticing one, to lure you into connecting." Students should also check their transactions regularly, so they'll know right away if their card number has been hijacked.
Keep these tips in mind, and you and your student can worry less about money—and more about choosing a major!