He's Becoming A Man

Ashley's 18-year-old son is about to go off to college, and she's concerned about how he's going to handle his money when he gets there. Dave explains to Ashley how he would handle it.

QUESTION: Ashley in Arkansas says her kids have all been using the envelope system for the last five years. Her 18-year-old son is about to go off to college, and she’s concerned about how he’s going to handle his money when he gets there. Dave explains to Ashley how he would handle it.

ANSWER: He needs to learn to utilize the debit card and utilize his own envelope system and convert to cash. What we have done with our kids is they open a checking account with the same bank. They take their own checking account over there, and then whatever I’m going to contribute monthly to their going to college, I simply move it online into their account. Then they manage their account. However, the cool thing is because it’s all online, I can actually follow what’s going on in their account. Since they don’t write checks at all at that age, they use the debit card and they use cash. With the debit card, you can track their very actions.

The best way for him to do is to learn to make decisions on his own and stand on his own, not for you to control. That’s called the young man becoming a man. I’d let him use that debit card and cash a check and have a couple of envelopes that he does. He needs to report back to you monthly what’s going on with the budget. My kids tell me what’s going on with my money or I don’t give them money. That’s not controlling; that’s coaching. Controlling is making every decision for him and going over there and buying his food for him and putting it in the cabinet and cooking it for him. This is time for him to be a man. He’s actually looking forward to that. It’s bittersweet. We train them to leave. If we do a good job, they leave and stay gone. The first one is by far the hardest. When we dropped our first one off at the dorm, we cried most of the way home on a two-and-a-half-hour drive. We dropped the second one off at the dorm, and we cried for three exits. When the third one got ready to go, we told him to drive to the dorm. It gets much easier.