In a month or maybe six weeks, your kids, grand kids, nieces or nephews will be taking their first step into adulthood by leaving the nest and heading for the College or University of their choice (or at least the one they could get into). I know you want to give them a handout to make life as easy as possible but why not just give them a hand with some good old fashion common sense lessons. I am not telling you to send them barefoot and broke to the place of higher education; just forearmed to fight off those who would guide them in that direction.
My suggestion is simple: give them a pair of scissors and a sum of money. My choice is usually $100 but it can be $5 or $500. It is the symbolism that counts not the actual dollar amount.
The scissors are used to cut up every credit card application that comes their way, and there will be many. Some schools actually end up with a "piece of the action" from the credit card companies. Can you remember how tempting it was to receive that invitation to what seemed to be basically free money? Spend now and worry about paying it back sometimes later. Anyway that's what I thought!
Now for the better part of the gift: the money. I always make sure they know the money is to start a reserve fund for themselves. It’s their money to use as they see Fit. You think they may spend it foolishly? Perhaps the first time but probably never again.
If your youngsters can navigate their way through this introduction to adulthood without leaning on easy credit and with the full understanding that they have it in them to be self reliant by your little gift, you have done more for them and given more to them than they probably will get out of the education that follows.
Your kids will be head and shoulders above the crowd because they will have learned that it isn't what you make or have, it is how you use it to make your life a pleasure instead of a constant problem.
Wish them good luck from me!
Roger Schlesinger's Mortgage Minute is heard on hundreds of radio stations and daily on the Hugh Hewitt radio show and Michael Medved shows. Roger interacts with his hosts and explores the complicated financial markets in order to enlighten his listeners and direct them along their own unique road to financial freedom.
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