Tips for Parents
Improving Your Student's Financial Literacy
The economic forecast remains grim. You can provide a great deal of reassurance and support in this area, especially as your student continues to explore what his life will be like once he graduates. It's quite likely that your student and his peers are discussing their ability to get a job this summer, how they'll pay for college next year, if they'll be able to pursue their intended professions and more. For students, this is a very uncertain time.
It's a time when they should be feeling confident about their futures. Instead, many are consumed with worry, doubt and anxiety. One way you can help is by encouraging your student to continue to take responsibility for his own financial literacy.
Here are 5 questions you can ask your student:
Do you know how to balance your checkbook on line?
Many online banking systems have instructions for balancing a checkbook online right on their website. If your student isn't sure where to look for this information, offer to help her locate it.
Do you know how to access your credit report?
Provide the website www.annualcreditreport.com where anyone can order free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion as a way for your student to check his current credit score and any discrepancies that may need attention. The Federal Trade Commission says this is the only authorized online source for folks to get a free credit report under U.S. law.
Do you know how to protect yourself from identity theft?
Identity theft is a real threat. As the risk continues to grow, it's important for your student to know how to minimize her risk of becoming an identity theft victim. The Federal Trade Commission has launched a national education program to help people learn how to protect themselves. Encourage your student to check it out at
Do you know how to keep track of your ATM withdrawals?
What system do you use for keeping track of your ATM withdrawals? Consider sharing it with your student if it works for you. Or, suggest that your student keep all of his receipts in one envelope tucked in his desk. This way, with just a quick calculation, he can see how much he's withdrawn and avoid costly fees for overdrawing his account.
Do you know where to go for scholarships and other financial information?
There is money out there to be had! Sometimes it's just finding it that provides the biggest hurdle. Encourage your student to visit the financial aid office or the career center for a list of resources. Or, send her to www.freschinfo.com.
Now, more than ever, it's critical that students develop financial skills. They'll be better prepared for what lies ahead.
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Copyright 2006, 125 Paterson Ave., Little Falls, NJ 07424