Financial Primer to Prep Your Teen for College: Money Management 101

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Teens MoneyThe most important talk you can have with your teen might be about the birds and the bees, but talking about credit cards and money management is something that should be taken just as serious and just as important as far as having long-term effects in their lives. According to the General Accounting Office, 42 percent of college students hold credit card debt from month to month, with an average monthly balance over $500. Proper spending and budgeting should start with the family and the best way to prepare your teen for college and adult responsibilities is to teach them basic money, credit and identity information from the beginning. Giving them a money management heads-up will go a long way toward putting them on the road to financial security.

Budget Wisely

Set up a budget with your teen before she goes away to college. Sit down with her and plan out expenses such as school supplies, food, housing and entertainment. Show her how to divide up her total income for the month into each category, covering the necessities first before adding to the entertainment or miscellaneous pile. Emphasize the importance of following the budget each month and using creative methods such as temporary jobs to make up any shortfall.

Start With a Secure Card

Most college students who get into financial trouble do so with a credit card. Credit is easy to acquire when you’re young with a clear credit history, and teens can amass a wallet full of cards in a short amount of time. Set your teen up with a credit card before she goes to college. Start with a secured card, backed by a set amount of money. This will allow her to experience using credit while not risking creating a large debt. Once she has used and paid off the card regularly, think about sharing a joint card.

Check Credit Score Regularly

Teach your teens to check their credit scores on a regular basis. According to LifeLock identity theft experts, identity thieves love to steal minors’ social security numbers and personal information. The clean credit records and lack of debt make children’s identity an ideal target. Investing in an identity theft prevention service can pay for itself in a short period of time. Police departments are reporting that minors are the fastest growing segment of the population to suffer from identity theft, described on the LifeLock website. Becoming a victim at this young age can affect a college student’s life for decades.

Share a Joint Checking Account

Open a joint checking account with your teen by the time she’s a junior in high school. By this age, she is old enough to have a cell phone, work a part-time job and perhaps drive the family car. When paying her share of these expenses, she can practice using her checking account to pay the bills. Don’t pay extra for overdraft protection; bouncing a check and paying the resulting fees will be a good lesson in budgeting and its consequences.

Learn the Value of a Dollar

Speaking of paying a fair share of the bills, make sure your teen is involved in this activity by an appropriate age. You will do her no favors by simply handing over a credit card or some cash every time she wants something. Food, shelter and clothing are your responsibilities, and the clothing can be held to a budget. Everything else falls under the category of wants instead of needs, and your teen should figure out how she intends to pay for them. Once she equates working 10 hours with the cost of a concert ticket, she will be much more aware of the value of money, and much closer to becoming a responsible money and credit user.

This is a guest post by Don Woods:

Dan is a financial consultant for several small business owners. He writes finance and business news and reviews for cloud computing software

Conniving or Creative: Three Ways to Get a Bigger Tax Return

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Preparing Taxes - Check and FormsThe IRS Oversight Board, an independent Congressional overseer of the tax-collection agency, released the results of its 2012 Taxpayer Attitude Survey on February 26. Of the 1,500 Americans surveyed last summer, 95 percent said their personal integrity is what drives them to fully and honestly report their earnings. At the same time, 63 percent said they feared being audited and 70 percent feared being labeled as a “tax cheat.”

What the survey did not address is that 40 percent of Americans simply fill out the 1040EZ form, and two-thirds claim only standard deductions, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means most Americans fail to take advantage of several money-saving provisions neatly tucked into the 73,608 pages of U.S. Tax Code. Some of the most overlooked deductions available would pertain to a good majority of Americans today.

Job-Hunting Deductions

The U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 8.3 percent for 2012 last January, which means millions of Americans searched for jobs throughout the year. All job-hunting related expenses, including business cards, hotels, resume printing and even cab fares can be deducted from your overall tax liability. Gasoline costs are deductible at 55 cents per mile, as are parking and toll charges. Virtually anything else, such as clothing and even haircuts, could potentially fall under “miscellaneous expenses.” If you failed to save receipts, credit card statements will suffice as proof in most cases. Individuals should review Schedule A and IRS Publication 529 to determine the threshold necessary to claim these deductions. [Read more…]

Teens And Credit: Preparing Your Children For The Real Thing

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

two smiling ladies looking at a cellphoneParents who have teenage kids need to train them to handle credit. It is not enough that you provide for their financial needs. You need to teach them the ropes when it comes to credit cards and credit ratings so they can be wise borrowers. In this day and age when the use of credit cards as a mode of payment is rampant, it is not good for teens to be in the dark when it comes to this financial topic. How do you prepare your teenage children to handle such task.

Credit Cards And Teens

Your kids won’t be kids or teens forever. Time will come when they will eventually be adults too. You need to inculcate the value of discipline when it comes to applying for, using, and handling credit cards. Here are some to help you get started: [Read more…]

Keep Your Money Safe Without a Checking Account

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Kozzi-dollars-cash-in-a-black-wallet-2229 X 1704Many of you already know that I work for a bank.  I’m also a firm believe in never caring cash.  I feel that it increases your risk of not only being robbed, but if you’re handbag or wallet is stolen you’ll never see the cash again.

Sadly its the world we live in and it’s something to think about.  There’s also times when people come into the bank, and we’re not able to open them a checking account with a debit card for different reasons, but it happens all the time.  I spend a lot of time letting them know what their options are, how they can protect themselves, and not carry cash.  Money doesn’t grow on trees, and once it’s gone there’s no more going to just magically appear.

Are you looking for a way to protect yourself without a checking account, or debit card from a bank?  Here’s a few ways I help my customers protect themselves from loosing all their cash.

Reloadable Visa Cards are a great way to help protect your money, and use it just like you would a debit or credit card.  I’m a firm believer of Visa, I use them for just about everything, and out of all the companies I have had to deal with, I personally feel that Visa is the easiest.  Not to mention has the best customer service.

Only carry the cash you need.  This makes it hard when you travel, and really travelers checks are a thing of the past.  I mean you can get them, but only certain banks carry them.  However, it’s an option.

Visa Gift Cards are another way to be sure you’re money is safe.  One thing I don’t like about most gift cards is, they are not reloadable.  You got it, so another fee when you purchase.  They are really for gifts, you can register them and use them just like a debit card without your name, which can make it a little more difficult to use.

Credit Cards are good, but only if you can get approved.  The chances of you being denied a checking account and getting a credit card are probably slim, but hey it can happen I have seen it with my own eyes so you never know unless you try.

All in all, if you don’t have a checking account, or a debit card my favorite option is by far the Reloadable Visa Cards.  I like and trust Visa, and their Reloadable Cards are as close as it comes to having a debit card in my opinion.

What are you thoughts about protecting your money?  Do you have a preferred way to ensure you’re money is always safe?  I would love to hear them if you do, always open for ideas to share with my customers.