Helping college students with financial planning

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – For many college students, it’s the first time they’re handling their responsibilities on their own and it can lead to a lot of debt and bad credit.

Leading Edge Financial Planning CPA Kevin Gormley teaches a personal finance course at Maryville College. He teaches students how to manage their money and work toward making money while in school.

“I think it’s about expectations. I think parents and students need to have expectations. You shouldn’t really wait until you go off to school. I think that’s probably too late. I think parents need to have honest conversations about how much money they have,” says Gormley.

Gormley believes coming financially confident starts with having your child get a job in high school, so they understand the value of a dollar and how basic banking works.

Also, they should start paying bills. Starting in high school will take the sting out of doing it for the first time in college.

What do you do when your college student makes a money mistake while on their own? 

“What I would prefer parents to do, the advice that I would give parents is to let your children know if they make mistakes you are there to help. You are empathetic. You’ve made mistakes. As a matter of fact, I don’t know any of our clients that have not made mistakes. We all make mistakes. I think the best thing parents can do is say if you make a mistake come to me,” says Gormley.

Gormley’s “best financial tips” for college students and parents:

  • Don’t compare. Your friends are not that cool and their parents may be giving them more money. It’s basically the collegiate version of “Keeping up with the Joneses.”
  • Eating out too much is a “financial killer.”
  • Spend with intention. Basically, if you have something you enjoy, it’s ok to indulge in it but you have to be frugal with everything else.
  • Budgets are boring, but technology can help. There are many of apps that can help your spending and manage your debt.

Gormley recommends two books for college-age students to read: “I Will Teach You to be Rich” and “Get a Financial Life.”

XY Planning Network, can also help young people that may or may not have money to invest.  Young clients can also look at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and the Garret Planning Network.

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