Schwab MoneyWise ®
Schwab MoneyWise®

Life Away from Home

A financial checklist

Along with the personal items that teens need for college, a financial checklist can also help them prepare for life away from home.

Take the time to review the following items with your student:

  1. Does your teen have a checking account? If not, establish one.
  2. Does your teen's bank have ATMs on campus? If not, your teen might want to change to a bank with on-campus ATMs to avoid fees.
  3. Does your teen have a credit card? The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 imposed several restrictions on card issuers. In an attempt to protect people under 21, the act requires that all consumers under the age of 21 either have a co-signer, or be able to demonstrate “independent means” to repay their obligation.  
  4. Set clear expectations. It will help to list what you will be paying for versus what you expect your child to pay for.
    • Part-time work? If so, look into work-study programs, in which jobs are often tied to the school's schedule and enable the student to study during downtime.
    • Money from you? If you're providing assistance, will you deposit money into your student's account, or will you send checks on a regular basis?
    • Loans? If your teen is receiving loans, be sure to make a budget so that the money lasts.
  5. Talk with your teen about dealing with emergencies. Is he or she an authorized user on your credit card, just in case? Again, be sure to set up a budget to avoid financial emergencies.
Our Two Cents
Going off to college is an important life experience—for both you and your teen. Working out the financial details and expectations beforehand can make saying good-bye a little easier when the big day arrives.


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