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Archive for the ‘Money Management’

Financial Aid For College In 5 Steps

By: Aurelia Category: Family, Money Management, Parenting A Teen

(BPT) – The majority of parents of high school students know that the future will very likely hold a college education for their child. But what is often uncertain is how they will pay for that education. About 60 percent of high school graduates enroll in a college or university for advanced studies according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The average price for a four-year degree at a state school during the 2012-13 year was $22,261. It was $43,289 for a private, four-year college, according to the College Board. With these kinds of prices, many families will need financial aid to help cover tuition and room and board costs.

Financial aid comes in many different forms. Students can pursue scholarships, fellowships and grants, which typically don’t require any repayment. Once these options are exhausted, students can also pursue loans.

When first reviewing the options for financial aid, it can be overwhelming for students and their parents to comprehend all the options and steps they might need to take to financially plan for college. Wells Fargo Education Financial Services created the Five Steps to Financial Aid video series featuring “Mr. Fellows” to help families navigate the steps to obtaining the needed funds to cover educational expenses beyond high school. These steps include:

1. Fill out the FAFSA – This is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and is recommended for all students planning on pursing college, no matter their family income. It is used to determine a student’s eligibility not only for federal student loans, but for work-study aid and some grants.

2. Estimate total cost – Colleges can provide students and their parents with an estimated cost for tuition, as well as room and board each year at the school.

3. Determine additional expenses –
College is more than just class, studying and taking tests. Other expenses like car insurance, gas money, memberships to campus organizations and even paying for a spring break vacation might not be covered by scholarships, grants and fellowships. However, students should apply all financial aid – even scholarships that might not have stipulations of how the money is used – first to educational expenses.

4. Learn about financing options – Create a list of private loans available through your bank, as well as federal loan options. Compare available loan amounts, interest rates, if payments can be deferred until after the schooling is complete and loan term lengths.

5. Know deadlines – There are deadlines for submitting the FASFA and for most scholarships. Keep these deadlines on a calendar so nothing gets missed.

View the videos on the Wells Fargo YouTube Channel at www.WellsFargo.com/fivesteps. Additional information about banking, credit, money management, financial assistance and financial matters connected with post-secondary education can be found at www.wellsfargo.com/goals-going-to-college.

Reviewing financial aid options early gives families a chance to best plan financial – and educational – options for their child. Also view the video series with “Mr. Fellows” to get a head start in learning about covering the cost of college education.

Additional Resources: 

Financial Aid Information Site:    One-stop shop for anything about college financial aid. Learn how you can quickly and easily get more Financial Aid without having to apply for thousands of scholarships!

Instant College Admission Essay Kit : Admission essay/personal statement writing kit with 33 downloadable templates that can save applicants hundreds of dollars.

Prepare for the SATs –   This article discusses how to help your teen prepare for the SAT.

Saving For College –  Your saving for college resource

College Preparation – Some very helpful college preparation tips.

College Planning For Freshmen

By: Aurelia Category: Money Management, Parenting A Teen, Teen Education

You may not be thinking of college yet, as your child enters his Freshman year in high school, but you should be. In fact, you can’t start planning too early if you want to get into a good college with maximum financial assistance. It’s important to understand the things that colleges look at, the one your child wants to go to in particular, so that you can start working on that all important “college resume”.

GPA — Everything that your child has accomplished up until this point is wiped clean. Colleges are going to look at your child’s combined GPA from Freshman year through the first half of their senior year for entrance. Time to start the year out on the right foot shooting for as many A’s as possible on that report card.

Class Schedule — Another factor that colleges look at, aside from GPA, is the difficulty of the courses. If your child has a 3.5 GPA in all honor’s courses this will be ranked higher than if your child took all of the easiest classes and had a 4.0. Your child should take the hardest classes he
believes he can take while maintaining as close to a 4.0 average as possible.

Caution: Some schools weight honors courses, but colleges will not weight them in the same way.

Class Rank — Where your child ranks with his classmates is also an important factor. Your child should shoot to be in the top 10 percent of his or her class in order to be competitive for more exclusive private colleges. Especially, if you need financial assistance for those expensive choices. If your family earns less than 45,000 dollars a year there will be great options for your child who is in the top 10 percent of his school.

Extracurricular Activities — Colleges want to choose well-rounded individuals to fill its student body. Try to pick only one or two and excel in them rather than picking many activities and being only mediocre. You want to stand out in your extracurricular activities. You want to be an officer in the club, or to have started the club yourself. You want to be the captain of the team, not a bench warmer.

Testing — Start now prepping for any tests that you have to take to get into your college of choice. Sadly, for most schools entrance and scholarships remain dependent on excellent test scores on the ACT or the SAT. In fact, you can have a 4.0 and do poorly on these tests and wind up without any scholarship money. Don’t underestimate the importance of these tests.

Jobs — Most colleges actually do weight a job positively in with the rest of the activities that you do. So, if your student does not come from a family with means, it’s okay. The fact that your child works will be weighted in there as a good thing, especially if your child has managed to
keep a job long term or chose out of the box type jobs that gives them experience in their chosen field of study.

In addition, start exploring college options. If your child is not sure what college he or she wants to attend, or what he or she wants to study, there is still plenty of time to explore options while focusing on taking the most difficult courses available in high school, especially when it relates to math and science. Don’t discount options that you may not have heard of in the past such as an accredited online college option, or a small private school that focuses on giving less advantaged children opportunities if you fit into that category.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Helping Your Teen Stay Focused on What’s Important

College Funding Advice

Creative Summer Jobs for Teens

By: Aurelia Category: Money Management, Parenting A Teen

When it comes to summer jobs for teens, a little creativity can go a long way. This is especially true this year, when the job market looks a bit dismal. With some creativity, you may be able to help your teen carve out an employment niche for him or herself.  It is important that during the summer months that our teens stay busy and productive.

Here are some ideas for creative summer jobs for teens.

1. Deliveries

Do you have a bike? You may find summer work making deliveries for local businesses. As businesses seek to keep costs down, a teen on a bicycle is a more affordable option than a delivery company. It also helps businesses avoid sending one of their own employees out of the office to make deliveries.

2. Pet Sitting

During the summer, a lot of pet owners are looking for an affordable way to have their pets cared for while they’re out of town. Boarding pets can be expensive, and some pet owners opt out of conventional vaccination schedules, making boarding impossible (boarding kennels generally require updated vaccinations). So you could potentially make money while savings other people money – a win-win! The more experience and references you have, the better; if you have horse-keeping experience, for instance, that can help expand your employment opportunities.

3. Look No Further Than Yourself

If you can’t work at a traditional company this summer, go into business for yourself instead. There are so many possibilities! Here are some thoughts for your own creative business this summer:

  • Website designer
  • Lawn and garden care
  • Mother’s helper (you babysit in the children’s home with their mother or a parent present)
  • Visiting shut-ins or those in nursing homes (family members would hire you to visit with their elderly relatives; no professional healthcare involved – just visiting and cheering them up)
  • House cleaning
  • Car washing
  • Portrait drawing

4. Farming

Okay, you probably don’t have a farm (if you do, even better!). But if you can find a piece of land, you can grow your own produce and sell it at your local farmers’ market. If you don’t have the land at your own home, some people who do have farms are willing to rent you a piece of land or let you farm a piece for a fee.

So, there you have it.  Some great creative summer jobs for teens that can help to bring in some cash during the summer months.  Think about what you’re good at and see if you can get someone to pay you for doing it. Find a way to make your skills useful to others.

Teaching Teens Money Management

By: Aurelia Category: Money Management, Parenting A Teen

Sometimes, it’s hard as parents to watch your teens squander their allowance or money they’ve earned from a job. You want them to do better, but how do you teach them? Or maybe you are just beginning with the basics of money management, and you want to make sure they get off to a good start. Wherever you are in the financial training process, it’s good to have some tips on how to begin teaching teens money management.

Teaching teens money management isn’t extremely difficult, but it will involve a little willpower on your part as a parent.

Implement an Allowance

You may already be doing this, but need some tips on how to help your teen save and control his or her money. (If so, read on for more tips.) If you’re not giving your teen an allowance, go ahead and start. There’s no better way to learn how to handle money than handling money!  Come up with a set amount that your child can earn for particular chores in and around the house.

Family Meetings

As you begin the allowance – or if you’ve already started one and need to get a handle on things – sit down with your teen and make your expectations clear. One possibility is to require the first 10% of the allowance or income to be donated to charitable cause(s) of your/their choice, 40% saved, and 50% for spending (always with an option to save).

Of course, this will depend on the amount and frequency of the allowance, and also on your personal family dynamic. The point is to give your teen money on a regular basis, while requiring specific discipline about handling it. This sets the stage for responsible budgeting later in life and really works well in teaching teens money management.  In fact, you might want to create a budget along with your teen to help manage his or her allowance “income” (or actual job income).

Let Consequences Happen

We parents often want our kids to be happy no matter what, and out of sympathy we might be tempted to bail them out if they’ve been irresponsible and spent their money too fast. But consequences are powerful learning tools, and it’s better that they learn about the consequences of mishandling money while living under your roof than when they’re out on their own with more at stake.

So within reason, let your kids take the consequences for their spending habits – once the money’s gone, it’s gone until next allowance or payday.

Teen Business Web Sites

There are sites springing up all over the internet for teens who want to earn money. These sites often have financial advice as well, and message boards and forums. Your teen can sign up with one of these and learn a lot about entrepreneurship, what jobs are currently available.  What better way to begin teaching teens money management than to have them manage his or her money. Such sites can be invaluable resources for teens who want to start earning.

Let Your Teen Pay for Certain Things Him/Herself

As you create your teen’s budget and lay down your expectations for his or her spending, it’s a good idea to make it clear what you will pay for and what your teen will pay for. For instance, you might make up a list with two columns – things parents are responsible for and things your teen is responsible for funding.

Parents may pay for necessary clothes, school supplies, and food, while teens may be responsible for paying for movies, video games, and “accessories” (such as special t-shirts and jewelry).

The above tips will really put you on the right path when it comes to teaching teens money management.  It is important to protect your child from graduating  book smart but money dumb  to help them avoid debt, financial stress and paycheck-to-paycheck living. Give your child the gift of MoneySmarts for a lifetime of financial Intelligence, Independence, Security and Success!

Practical Parenting Tips for Raising Financially Responsible Teenagers

By: Mary Lutz Category: Money Management, Parenting A Teen

Why is it that so many parents read everything they can about how to raise “smart” teens, but don’t take an interest in practical parenting tips for raising financially responsible teenagers? While it is important that our children graduate high school with good grades, it’s arguably more important that we raise financially responsible teens. Why? If teens go off to college without a clue about managing money, then the chances of them living a life without financial worry is slim. Therefore, if you are one of the wise parents out there who want their teens to be financially responsible upon graduation read the practical parenting tips listed below.

Make Your Teen Earn Spending Money: One of the biggest financial mistakes parents make with their teenagers is buying them everything. It’s perfectly fine if you want to help your teenagers out financially, but do so in a way where they are earning their money. After all, this is how it is in the real world. Your boss doesn’t just give you money, right? No, you have to do the work first. Therefore, teach your teens this.

You can do this by having your teen do odd jobs around the house, or you can require that they go get a job for their “fun” money. When you make your teen earn his or her spending money, you will not only be teaching them about the “real world,” but you’ll also be teaching them the value of money as well.

Help Your Teen to Bargain Shop: Now that your teens are working for their spending money, they will begin to see how fast money can go. See, it’s no big deal when it’s mom and dad’s money because there’s always more where that came from. However, teens think differently when they had to spend 30 hours a week working for that money. So, this is the perfect opportunity to teach your teens how to look for bargains.

Obviously, most teens want the name brand clothing and high-tech gadgets that all their friends have, but they don’t have to pay as much for them. Hard-working teens will most likely jump on the chance to buy these things cheaper. Therefore, help them locate the best deals by teaching them about internet shopping, eBay and other online auction sites as well as taking them to outlet malls where name-brand clothing is often found cheaper.

Set Up a Checking/Savings Account: There are many more practical parenting tips for raising financially responsible teenagers than the two listed above. One of them is teaching teens how to manage their own checking and savings account. The only way to do this successfully is by actually setting up a checking/savings account for your teen. While it’s important to teach your teens how to write checks, it’s probably going to be more beneficial to teach your teens how to balance their account while using a debit card.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your teen about saving money. Discuss the benefits of saving money and how depositing just $25 a paycheck will help them build a good savings account for the future.

Practice What You Preach: You can’t teach your teen about financial responsibility if you aren’t being financially responsible yourself. Therefore, make sure that you are leading by example – and that your teen is able to see it. Talk to your teen about your finances and how you got where you are.

As parents, it’s our job to follow practical parenting tips that will help our kids become the best they can be. Therefore, try to incorporate the above tips into your parenting style. Your teens may not like it now, but they will be grateful later!