Dad and daughter packing car getting ready for college

A cheat sheet for sending your kid to college


College is a tremendous milestone in a young adult’s life. Often, it marks the first time your son or daughter has lived away from home. Dropping off your child at college may be an experience loaded with emotions, so here are a few tips for a smoother transition.

Accept that the parent-child dynamic has changed

Your child is always your child and will need you as much as ever. However, parents need to understand that their role has transitioned from “supervisor” to “mentor.”

Make the move simple

Do not bring the moving van. Not only will it embarrass your child, but dorm rooms just aren’t that large. Bring only what’s appropriate.

Consider pre-ordering essentials (soap, bedding, shower caddy, etc.) for pickup at a location by the school. This will save space whether your trip is by car or plane.

Don’t put off “The Talk” until the drop off

While college represents a gateway to many wonderful experiences, parents will want to have a serious conversation about safety, responsible behavior, finances, and expectations about staying in touch.

Do not leave it for the drop off. It is sure to sour the moment and may rush a conversation that deserves more time and mutual dialogue.

Time to learn financial responsibility

When your kid gets to college, he or she will need spending money. To take advantage of this real-life opportunity for your student to learn budgeting, without giving him carte blanche with your account, consider providing a debit card attached to an account that has a set sum for the full semester or one that’s refreshed with monthly deposits.

Take the lead from your child

Let your child have the discretion to make decisions about what to bring. However important you think a dust skirt is for the bed, try to avoid fights. Let your child make a mistake. It’s the best way to learn.

Your child will likely send signals when it’s time for you to go. Listen! It’s time for him or her to begin connecting with new roommates. In fact, your final “good-bye dinner” may be canceled so your child can enjoy an impromptu introductory dinner with the new roommate.

Learn more about saving for higher education.

Contact a Waddell & Reed advisor today to find out how to incorporate education savings into your financial plan.

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The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2018 FMG Suite.

Associated Tags: Education Planning, Saving for College