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How To Help College Graduates with Money and Career

By Erik Folgate

I have a heart for recent college graduates. I was there 3 years ago. I didn’t know how to get a job, I didn’t know how to manage my money. I didn’t know how to deal with getting up early, interacting with people twice my age. It’s tough to be a recent graduate. Your college hands you a degree and pushes you out the door. Your parents have already pushed you out of the door. Their guidance is there, but not as much as in high school.

Jante Bodner wrote a post on Kiplinger’s online about ways parents can help graduates with their career and their money. These are also ways that they can help themselves when coming out of college and into the jungle we call, “the real world”.

  • Be judicious in helping your kids look for a job.
  • Pay for their health insurance.
  • Pass on your family’s values.
  • Don’t tap retirement assets to help the kids.
  • Have faith in your offspring.

Coming from someone who remembers those days clearly, the health insurance would have been nice. I paid for major medical insurance out of my pocket, but if someone really major would have happened, I would have still had a hefty bill to cover. Students walking around without health insurance is such a scary thing. It can literally ruin their financial life before they start it if they have a major medical emergency without health insurance. I also like the point about passing on your family’s values. Even if your kid acts like he or she isn’t listening, let them know how you feel about money and pursuing a career. But more importantly, teach them the values that make someone a great person in society. In terms of finance, make sure you let them know that when they are blessed with money, give back to their community. I also agree that you should not break your own bank to help out your children. If you can’t afford their tuition, don’t tap into retirement to pay for it. If you can’t help them get off their feet after college, don’t go into debt to do it. So many parents feel obligated to help because it’s their children. If you have the abundance and means to do it, then by all means, go ahead. But, don’t screw up your own financial situation to help them. They will be fine, and they will learn more about life, money, and their career by figuring some of it out on their own. Create a balance between being supportive without smothering them.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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