Dear Dave: My son is about to go off to college, and I’m concerned about how he’ll handle his money when he gets there. We’ve taught all our children how to use your envelope system, and to save and give, but I’d like some advice on how he can safeguard his finances a little better.
Dear Ashley: If you haven’t already covered it, he needs to learn to utilize a debit card and reconcile a checking account. Set the account up in your name and his, so you can follow what’s going on in the account. If there’s an issue, this gives you easy access so that a minor incident doesn’t become a huge problem.
Right now, the best way for him to learn is to make educated, informed decisions on his own and to stand on his own two feet. You’re there for guidance at this point — not control. I’d let him use a debit card, cash, and have a few simple envelopes for expenses. Also, he needs to report back to you monthly what’s going on with the budget. What I’m talking about here isn’t control; it’s a simple, regular review and coaching session on finances. This is an exciting time in your lives. You’ve laid a foundation, and it’s time for this little one to spread his wings a bit. Together, you can make sure he’s learning and living the way a young man should!
Dear Dave: What is your opinion on leasing cellphones?
Dear Monica: In most cases, leasing something is just another way of financing. I wouldn’t lease anything, apart from a building or office space for a business in the short term.
There are almost always hidden conditions and a few “gotchas” hidden in the fine print of leases. Besides, leasing a cellphone? Really? Come on! If you can’t pay cash for something like a cellphone, it means you can’t afford the phone. It’s as simple as that!