Deja vu all over again?  I’ve started and stopped this post for a while. I need a re-start on the whole blog process.  I have been trying to find my motivation, and may have stumbled onto something while going through my own struggles. De-cluttering efforts went very well.  Had our home on the market, but took it off to let Jr. finish his senior year of high school in the same school.  Now we are just letting things ride until we are closer to graduation. In the mean time, we are working on our budget, dealing with some extra debt and expenses that we didn’t count on and trying to build Kevin’s tennis business.

I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles about finances, debt, money issues, etc.  And one thing that stands out is that there is not a lot of training done for our youth on how to handle money. They can’t take a class in high school, and frankly many parents don’t have a great handle on money either.  They may be ill equipped to pass along advice when they are in debt or not sure how to budget for themselves.

Since becoming a step parent, my goal has been to make sure Jr. is prepared for the world.  Having never been a parent before, and then getting a teenager (14 at the time) full time, I made a mental list of the things he needs to know before leaving the nest.  I had about 4 years to get these things done and now we are winding down with one year left to go before he’s off to college. How to iron a shirt, cook a meal, do laundry, clean a bathroom and balance a checkbook are just a few that came to mind immediately.  We’ve tackled these, and then some.  But in going through this process, I realized that many people don’t leave home knowing how to budget or deal with credit/credit cards, etc. This leads many kids to get into trouble during college or in their 20s. According to a recent report by the Department of Education, half of today’s 27 year olds are more than $10,000 in debt. While that may not sound like much, more than 80% of them say finances are at least somewhat stressful.

Queue the motivation.  I’m determined that Jr. will at least have a good foundation of understanding household finances from which to make decisions for his future. We are about to start college application season.  There is no college fund sitting out there to pay for all of the expenses.  We are fortunate to live in a state with a lottery funded state school “scholarship” for all residents who meet minimum requirements.  But even with that, a full year of a state school, including room and board, starts at $12,000 depending on the school. Jr. will have to get student loans to pay for his education.  Assuming he has to borrow all of this cost, he could graduate owing $50,000 or more!  That’s a heavy burden for a 22 year old.

We will be researching options including:

  • Living at home and commuting to school – at least to begin
  • Going to a community college (while living at home) to get some of the core classes completed. Besides, no one cares where you went, just where you graduated from!
  • Finding schools that will accept his lower AP scores so he has less classes to take
  • Looking into as many scholarships and grants as we can find

The other idea that came to me during this process is wondering whether or not I could develop a training plan for parents to assist them in preparing their kids for the world.  I’m going to try and document how we are doing and use that to develop a product for parents to use to break down teaching about money into short lessons. What do you think?

How did your parents teach you about money?  How do you teach your kids?

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