Yes, there are issues! It is an understatement to say graduating students are facing a lot of challenges today. They might be a bundle of nerves as they walk down the aisles to get their diplomas, and they are right to be nervous. Managing college debt, domestic and global economic uncertainty, income equality, and finding gainful employment, might just be a few of the issues causing their unease. According to this Money Watch article, this year’s graduating college class has the most student debt in U.S. History. Still, many will flock to two and four-year colleges right after high school, hoping that the investment in education will pay off. Whatever option they pursue, how do you talk to your own children or students about money? Do you share ideas and discuss financial issues at home and within your classroom? Having conversations about money may require a long-term investment, but they are worth having. They might help your future graduates turn their nervousness into optimism and confidence.
This Washington Post article shares that parents should talk to their kids about money from an early age, so that they can develop a healthy relationship with their funds. Healthy conversations about finances help kids learn how to feel in control of their income and expenses, and engender the belief that money is working for them and not against them. When parents’ financial situations are in jeopardy, and there is a lack of conversation, or positive discussions about the issues at hand, kids may absorb the emotional stress and develop negative concepts surrounding finances. Any fights, threats or fear over money could leave them anxious in the long run. Check out this Kids Health article on how to talk to kids, at various age levels, about money and how to instill positive conversations, even when times are tight on the budget. Families can be honest about their money struggles, which will hopefully avoid making the children feel like they are to blame or that they are being punished or threatened by difficult financial situations.
When College Comes Around
If and when college time comes around, aside from applying for various scholarships, families can also check out tips from this New York Times article on “Student Loan Facts They Wish They Had Known,” Or, Next Gen Personal Finance free literacy articles to help teachers, parents and students understand finances and how to better prepare for the future.
There Are Options
Students may continue to seek alternative options, ones that will save them money, give them time to explore potential careers, let them volunteer or work first, or take advantage of online degrees and certificates, in a pay-as-you-go fashion. Starbucks famously and recently posted that they would help fit the bill for employees’ undergraduate degrees through a partnership with Arizona State University’s online program, as noted in this CNN article. President Barack Obama suggested in his State of The Union speech from earlier this year, that the country should offer community colleges free of cost, according to this PBS article. That might be an option in the near future.
We Are Not Getting Any Younger
Hopefully the above mentioned tips will aid your children or students through adulthood. After all, they might have to care for you one day as an aging parent. Whether you are just starting out in your teaching career and have young children, or you are approaching retirement and your children are grown, have you thought about, planned or carried out a plan of action for when you are in need of care in your elder years? This New York Times article reveals many aren’t saving enough for their retirement years. For some helpful guidance you can turn to financial guru Suze Orman on managing long-term care costs. It’s prudent to start preparing now, long before you enter your elder years, as Medicare and supplemental plans might not cover as much as you think or hope.
Mentoring Future Money Gurus
Maybe you are a “better-off” parent because of your experience as a teacher, or you are a master of the dollar. Would you advise your students or children to still pursue teaching today as an avenue for finding personal or financial success? After all, no matter what young people decide to do in their adult lives, a good teacher or mentor can help them achieve success. Paired with healthy conversations about money at home, you will be influencing many lives in a positive way and will hopefully share in the continuum of healthy financial futures.
Teachers, how do you discuss money with your own children or with students? Do you create projects that focus on personal finance and budgeting? Tell us at TeacherCents.
Melissa Heule, Freelance Writer