How to put your college student on the right financial track
The fall semester is in full swing at college campuses across the country. New and returning students everywhere are juggling full class schedules, part-time jobs and packed social calendars. On the other hand, parents are hoping that they've positioned their child for success. Strong financial futures are built upon the solid foundations developed early in adulthood, and there is no better time than college to begin forming smart money management habits. Here are some tips that could have a long-lasting impact with students:
* Budgeting. College is the first time that many young adults are living on their own, so it's important to have a basic proficiency in budgeting and tracking spending. This includes accounting for known and unknown upcoming expenses, from rent and football game tickets to textbooks and burgers. For a refresher on budgeting tips, visit Better Money Habits, Bank of America's free online financial education platform.
* Checking. Many young adults start banking with a checking account, but not all checking accounts are created equal. When evaluating banking options, students should note which ATMs are on campus and close to their dorm or apartment; whether their bank offers a mobile banking app; and the terms and conditions of the checking account. Some good features to look for include waiving monthly maintenance fees and preventing overdraft fees. Bank of America's Advantage SafeBalance Banking provides these features, which is one reason why MONEY Magazine named Bank of America the "Best Bank for College Students."
* Mobile apps. Technology has made it easier to keep tabs on bank balances. Since most college students are already married to their phones, it's an obvious next step to download their bank's app and ensure they're set up for mobile banking.
* Saving. To develop responsible saving habits, students can start as small as necessary. Even if it's just depositing $20 each month, sticking to a specific, attainable goal is in itself rewarding. In addition, look for a savings account that doesn't have any fees. For example, Bank of America waives the monthly maintenance fee on Rewards Savings for eligible students.
* Credit. College is a great time to start building credit history, yet it's also a period when students have been known to bury themselves in debt. It's important for young adults to understand how and when to use credit cards, to pay off their balance on time and in full, and to never charge purchases they're not able to pay back.
Growing into financial independence can be a rewarding and empowering experience for students. By providing guidance and advice early on, parents can ensure they're putting their kids on the right track.