College Bound Concerns

Anyone who has a child getting ready to start college for the first time probably has a list of concerns a mile long.  Among the worries is the handling of money.  Whether your child is going away or staying home, there is a real opportunity to start your son or daughter on his or her first journey into financial responsibility.  While it might be hard to look at your “baby” as an adult handling money, there’s no time like the present to learn these important lessons.  These tips will help your child get off to a strong start.
1. Consider what income sources are available.   Will your child save money over the summer or have a job while at school?  Will you be supplying extra money?
2.  Decide on who is paying for what.  Sit down and be clear about what you are paying for, and what you are not paying for. This will allow your child to ballpark what his/her expenses might be.  Go shopping together so your child can get a real sense of what things cost; then put together a rough budget.
3.  Look at ways to shave the expenses.  For example:  Does your child really need a car?  Is public transportation an option?  Can used books and supplies be bought on line or at the book store?  Can a roommate share the costs of a refrigerator or rug?
4.  Make a final weekly budget.  Based on the figures from the three previously mentioned points, put together what can realistically be spent each week and allow for 5% savings as a cushion.  I recommend a weekly budget, because it is a big task to stay balanced for a whole month; breaking the task into a series of smaller ones may be more manageable.
5.  Use cards with caution.  Explain how debit cards work.  There may be fees associated with them and, if lost, they can pose a danger to the account if not reported promptly.  Using ATMs at another bank can get expensive, as well.  Credit cards also require caution.  Show your child why finance charges are not an option because they make the cost of purchasing goods much greater. If credit cards are used, have him/her keep the minimum low, and keep spending below the minimum.
6.  Record keep.  Encourage your child to always balance the checkbook.  All transactions should be entered in the checking account ledger (cash/debit card transactions, checks written/deposited, and credit card purchases).  This recordkeeping should be done immediately, and not when it hits the bank/credit card statement, so that your child always knows what actual funds are available.
These steps will lay the foundation for good money habits for years to come.

Authored by: Anthony Dina Isola

Dina Isola, President of Real$martica, Inc. - COO and Director of Investor Relations, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. Following a successful career in marketing communications in the financial industry, Dina and her husband, Anthony, founded a registered investment advisory firm, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc., and ultimately the idea for the educational company Real$martica, Inc. was born. In dealing with investors and hearing their concerns, she spearheaded ATI’s investor education efforts, coordinating with local libraries and townships to offer free investor education seminars. She has volunteered her time, writing financial articles and has conducted investor education classes geared to family financial matters. She is President of Real$martica, Inc. and is COO and Director of Investor Relations for ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. and personally handles all communications for both firms. She is active in her local business community and serves on the Brookhaven Business Advisory Council and is a member of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. She earned a BA in English and Communications from Fairfield University. She is a registered investment adviser, and is a licensedreal estate salesperson in New York State.  Prior to founding Real$martica, Inc. she was a Vice President in charge of marketing communications for a privately-held investment management company in New York City.  She has worked in the financial industry since 1987. thumb_tony_isolasAnthony T. Isola,  President, ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. Anthony has married his passions, investing and education. He is President and founder of ATI Investment Consulting, Inc. (“ATI”) a registered investment advisory firm. His vast knowledge in matters of finance brings a well-rounded perspective to all that he does. As an educator, he has a natural ability to explain complicated economic and financial concepts and make the practical application of these concepts come to life. In working with clients, he recognized how overwhelming building a financial plan can be, especially when most investors are vulnerable due to their ignorance on financial matters. He prides himself on empowering investors to understand how to look out for their interests and not fall prey to financial arrangements that will take them off goal.  In addition to managing assets for clients, he has counseled investors on social security benefits, retirement income assessments, and college planning. He teaches history at Plainview Old Bethpage Middle School and oversees students’ participation in The Stock Market Game and financial literacy for the Plainview Old-Bethpage Central School District. He has taught financial related courses to children, parents and staff members in the district, as well as to Long Island residents. He holds a New York State Permanent Certification (in Social Studies). He earned a BA degree in Economics from Boston University and a MS degree in Secondary Education from Hofstra.  Prior to teaching, he worked as a foreign currency trader in New York City for large international banks.

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