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5 Things Your Teenager Needs To Know Before College

3 Minute Read

The numbers don’t lie.

The average college student graduates with nearly $30,000 in student loan debt. More than 40 million Americans currently have student loans—a larger number than the entire population of 190 plus countries, including Canada, Poland, and Australia.

The problem here is that the younger generations in America have been taught that debt is okay, and those statistics reflect that. Most students don’t know the basics about money—why debt is bad, why saving matters, and how to budget.

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You can change this trend, starting in your home. By teaching your kids a healthy view of money before they go to college, you’ll put them in a great position to succeed early in life.

As a parent, you have the unique opportunity to empower your children with life-changing financial principles, and we can help.

So what exactly do they need to know?

1. Debt is Not Okay

Student loans, car payments, credit cards—they’re a way of life for most people. Your kids will probably hear all about “good debt versus bad debt” at some point. But there’s no such thing. All debt is bad debt. It complicates your life, adds unneeded stress, and places a huge obstacle in your path as soon as you graduate college. Make sure your kids know to avoid debt at all costs.

2. You Won’t Build Wealth Without a Budget

The budget is your plan. It’s how you tell your money where to go—before the month begins—instead of wondering where it went at the end of the month. A budget will help your student avoid overspending on things like pizza, video games, and late-night movies while they’re away at college.

3. You Can Be a Student Without a Loan

It’s possible. We promise! Scholarships, grants, in-state public schools, and an old-fashioned job are great ways to avoid having another 22-year-old who graduates with $30,000 in debt. And, as a parent, make sure you’re funding college in an ESA or 529 after you are out of debt, have a full emergency fund, and have started investing for retirement.

Related: Smart College Planning for Your Kid

4. Live Generously

Give. Give. Give. You simply can’t go wrong with giving, because that’s what God’s called us to do, right? Something changes in your spirit when you become a giver. You focus less on yourself and see the needs of others more. One of the best things you can do for your kids is teach them to appreciate and understand the power of giving before they go out on their own. 

5. Start the Process of Discovering What You Love to Do

Too many kids go to college, randomly pick a major, and start careers they’re not the least bit passionate about. It’s time to break that cycle! An 18-year-old doesn’t need to know the career they want to work in, but they should at least begin the process of examining their strengths, weaknesses, and passions.

We know that you love your student and want to see them succeed in all things, including money. If you’re serious about putting your kids on the right track financially, we can help.

Our homeschool curriculum is designed to make it easy for you to teach your high school student all the above principles, plus many others. These are the lessons you wish you had in high school—and, now, you can give that gift to them!

Find out more about Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance Homeschool Edition. For 10% off now through August 31, 2015, enter coupon code HME15.

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