You may have already noticed the changes: your college kid is home for the summer with a new perspective, new friends, new interests, and maybe even a new sense of being an “adult.” He or she is taking on more responsibility and is demanding to be treated accordingly. This can be a thrilling — albeit, terrifying — time of shifting relationships. While your college kid may still want you to make them breakfast (and throw a few loads of laundry in the machine), they are also asking that you understand and respect their newfound adulthood.
There is Never a Comfortable Time to Start Talking about Money
As he or she steps out into the world as an adult, your college kid needs to be prepared. Have you ever sat down and talked about money with them? I know, it's a difficult conversation to have, and it may be pretty awkward. But, here's the thing: your kid is out there in the world already. He or she may have a job, may be managing a budget, may even have regular payments to make like car payments, insurance, credit cards, gas. It may seem like this is a far way off, but your kid will eventually need to be responsible, not only for their own money, but for yours. Have you considered what your kid would do if you passed suddenly? As an adult, would he or she inherit your assets immediately? Or do you have a mechanism in place to delay their inheritance? Either way, talking to your kids about money is starting to sound pretty darn important.
Financial advisors, attorneys, and wealth experts agree: the best thing to do is to communicate and educate the younger generations about financial literacy. Communicating your family's values and financial “mission statement” to the next generation can ensure that they are prepared to build their own financial plan, manage wealth, and eventually inherit in the future.
Does Your College Kid Have an Emergency Plan in Place?
I know, money was a tough subject to begin this article. For some reason, it is so much easier for parents to talk to their kids about the possibility of medical illness and physical harm than it is to talk about savings, debt, and budgeting. So, maybe start here instead. You've been telling your kid since he or she was small to be careful. You have warned them about all the dangers out there, and they are prepared for anything. But are they reallyprepared? Do they have an emergency plan in place if they become sick, injured, or unwell? Do they understand how their insurance works? Do they know how to seek out medical help on their own? If they are incapacitated, do they have the appropriate documents in place that allow you to speak with their healthcare providers? We've written extensively about this before, but your kid needs a solid plan so they know what to do if the worst should occur.
At the very least, all college-aged kid needs
- A Power of Attorney
- An Advance Healthcare Directive
- A HIPAA Authorization
- And a Living Will
Being There for Your Kid without Being Right There
Have I sufficiently terrified you to the point that you are reaching for the phone to set up GPS tracking on your college kid's devices? I hope not. Of course, my intention isn't to point out the inevitable: your baby is growing up. I know you know that. My intention is to raise the question, have you taken the necessary steps to start treating your kid like a true adult? Have you initiated this difficult and important conversation with them? The truth of the matter is, you won't always be able to be right there for your kid to help talk them through difficult decisions and painful moments. All you can do is your best to prepare them now.
The Ultimate in Adulting: Introduce Your Kid to Your Lawyer
Ok, at this point you may be looking over the edge of your laptop at your brand-new adult thinking, “There is no way I am going to be able to talk to thatkid about anyof this.” Don't worry. You don't have to do it alone. What could be more adult than taking your kid to meet with a lawyer? Having a neutral third party who is experienced at initiating these tough conversations in the room can be a huge help. Not to mention, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you get your kid's plan in place right then and there! (And yours, too, if you've been slacking!) Call our office at (301) 315-0811 to set up an appointment this summer.