Posted: Monday, October 19, 2015 – 3:34 PM
By Patrick Nygren, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo
For the past 17 or 18 years, your summers have probably been full of things like family vacations, swimming at the local pool, cookouts with family and friends and maybe road trips. But if you have a college-bound high school graduate in your household, this summer may feel different. You’re probably getting ready to send your child off to college and thinking about everything he or she will need: computers, bedding, school supplies and the list goes on.
While it’s important to make sure your child has many of the creature comforts of home, it is also vital to help your student start their adult life on firm financial footing with tools and good personal finance habits that will serve them well throughout their lives. As a parent and someone who has worked in the banking industry for more than 10 years, I offer three steps that can help your family get financially ready for college:
Paying for College: There are many options for paying for college, including tuition payment plans, scholarships, grants, federal and private student loans. Before you apply for a student loan, you should consider other financial means you plan on using to cover costs. It’s important to understand the features of student loans and consider a loan option that best fits your child’s personal and academic needs. Wells Fargo’s new Get College Ready interactive website (www.WellsFargo.com/GetCollegeReady) can help you learn about options. Anytime you consider taking out a loan, have a plan for how you’ll pay it off.
Managing Money: For many young adults, going away to college is the first time they will manage a budget or use other financial products such as checking and saving accounts, debit cards, credit cards or insurance. Families can help their students make sure they have the right accounts and services as well as an understanding for how to manage them responsibly. For example, with Wells Fargo’s My Money Map, consumers of all ages can easily track spending, set budgeting goals and monitor savings.
Building Credit: Helping students understand the responsible use of credit and how it works can set them for more financial freedom and choices down the road. Wells Fargo’s The Path to Good Credit can help students understand credit basics and how, with smart planning, they can get on the right path for financial success.
By taking the time to build a thoughtful financial plan, you’ll be able to spend more time with your family and truly make this summer season the most memorable summer of them all.