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Preparing Young Adults for Self-Sufficiency - Friday, March 1, 2013

Preparing Young Adults for Self-Sufficiency

As seniors take their ACTs, study for finals and dream of their own apartment after graduation, preparation for their independence will involve parents and graduates working together.  There are financial topics families need to address to ensure a successful financial start in life. 

The cost of financial independence is usually underestimated:
Transitioning from the financial security of home to becoming financially responsible and self-sufficient may be a shock.  Many youth are accustomed to spending their income on "wants”, like smartphones with expensive monthly plans, going out, dates, movies, fast food, Starbucks, etc.  Once on their own, money must be reallocated to ensure that their "needs” are met first.  Expenses many youth forget to account for include toiletries, cleaning supplies and home necessities.  Preparing your young adult for this reality will be one of the best gifts you can bestow upon them. 

Cover the financial basics first; don’t assume this information was taught in school:  
Review how checking and savings accounts work, what debit and credit cards are, how using a checkbook register to track spending can save you from costly mistakes, and what financial responsibility really means.  Share your stories and wisdom about some of the "hard knocks” you once faced and help your young adult decide how to be successful. 

Start early and prepare:
Opening these lines of communication now will help families prepare for their graduate’s inevitable independence.  By having these discussions over the next few months, everyone can prepare and plan for the future.  Knowing what to expect alleviates fears, reduces anxiety, and empowers people to be proactive during times of change. 

Parental preparation:
Being prepared for these conversations will reduce stress and anxiety while fostering productive communication with your youth.  For best results keep discussions in dialogue form, avoid lectures, be confident, ask plenty of questions and listen carefully to the answers.  Let your graduate know that you are always there for advice as they explore their independence. 

Blueprint for success:
Helping your young adult create a budget will be an important part of managing money successfully.  Together, write down how much income will be available monthly and determine what it will be spent on.  Being able to "see” an expense breakdown will help your youth process where their money will go and what amount will be "left over” as expendable income. 

How Neighbors can help:

Check our Events Calendar for upcoming financial workshops; they are free and open to the community!  Find topics, locations and register all in one place!  We look forward to seeing you there.


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