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Helping Your College-Bound Teen Plan For Their Future: Career And Finances

If you’re like most adults you’ve worked (or still work) at a job you’re not satisfied with to pay the bills and support your family. Yet, it barely does either. In fact, most Americans place career and finances at the top of the list of stressors and very common factors in mental and physical health issues. Having gone through this yourself, no parent wants to see their children suffer the same way. 

Helping Your College-Bound Teen Plan For Their Future: Career And Finances

Once your teen becomes a junior or senior in high school, it’s important to talk with them about planning for their future. By this point in their lives, they should have some idea of what they want to do so you can assist them in mapping out a plan to accomplish it. Below, are some suggestions on how to help your teen with career and finance goals for a better future: 

Talk to Your Teen About What They Want

Before you do anything, talk to your teen about what it is they want to do when they get older. As you probably already know, these things tend to change over the years. As you’re listening to their ideas, keep an open mind. Trying to talk them out of something will only make helping them plan their futures harder. Also, be prepared for the fact that they don’t exactly know what path they’d like to take, but they have interests like graphic design, art, or technology. 

Review Colleges for Degree Programs

Most high schools do a lot to ensure their students are exposed to the various forms of education across the country. You can reinforce this at home by reviewing college degree programs with your teenager. If they’re interested in product design, look into colleges that offer these programs. Research the tuition costs, courseload, and campus life so you can compare schools to see which is best suited for your teen. If you can, schedule visits to the colleges your teen is interested in so they can view the campus, talk with professors, and get a first-hand account of what the school is really like. 

Apply for Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grants

When looking at colleges, allow your teenager to see how much it costs to obtain, for example, a product design degree. Then, review options to get those costs down. Go over funding options with the school administration office to see what you’re eligible for. You can also check online for grants and scholarships that your teen can apply for. 

Budgeting in College

After helping your teen decide what they want to do in the future and narrowing down their college options it’s time to talk finances. Express the importance of maintaining a budget to cover the costs of schooling that aren’t covered by financial aid, scholarships, or grants. You can help them to create a mock budget online including categories for all of their expenses. Then calculate how much they will need each month to survive. 

Earning Income

Though you might be considering giving your teenager an allowance each month to help out with college expenses, there’s no time like the present to teach them about earning a living. Discuss the various options available to them to make money while they continue their studies. Whether they think they want to work retail, in an office, or make money online go over potential earnings with them. Estimate how much they would receive each month after taxes and subtract that amount from the list of expenses from their budget. 


If people saved more money each month they’d have less of a need to fall into debt. Teach your teenager this early on so they don’t fall into the same trap. If they don’t already have one, go open a savings account for your teenager. Teach them about putting at least 10% of their earnings into an account for rainy days or future expenses. 

Managing Credit

The final money topic you want to have with your teenagers has to do with credit. As you know, good credit is the key to getting everything from a decent paying job to a house. Discuss that when they start getting offers for credit cards that they should apply and use them responsibly. Talk about how credit card companies report information to credit bureaus each month. Then, discuss things like making payments on time, keeping the balance low, and not opening more credit cards than they can afford to repay. 

High school is the perfect time to begin working with your teenagers to prepare for their future. Helping them map out their educational and financial goals early on reduces the likelihood that they end up struggling or working for a paycheck. As any parent would agree, learning these valuable lessons early on makes life a lot better. 

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