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Money Talk

Realizing that it's not always easy to get the ball rolling, we've put together a number of handy tips to help families discuss finances. And while they are a great place to start, be sure to take advantage of the many useful resources and information available throughout this website.

Get involved. Get involved.

While post-secondary education is a time for your son or daughter to explore their newfound independence, it doesn't hurt to guide them along the way. That's especially true when it comes to identifying other sources of funding, such as scholarships, grants and bursaries. By taking an active role, you may be able to alleviate some of the financial responsibilities for each of you.
Foster mutual respect through sharing the financial burden. Foster mutual respect through sharing the financial burden.

Perhaps you're not prepared to foot the bill entirely. Or maybe you'd like your child to cover all entertainment and incidental expenses with student loans or a part-time job. Instilling a sense of autonomy and responsibility in your child will benefit them long after they've completed their studies.
Strongly encourage sitting down, planning, and writing out a budget together. Strongly encourage sitting down, planning, and writing out a budget together.

Make a date to do it, and have handy any RESP statements or other financial documents, which can help you plot out the next 2, 3 or 4 years. It's one thing to talk about finances, but seeing it on paper helps reinforce the realities and potential limitations involved, both for you and your child.
Put all your cards on the table. Put all your cards on the table.

The more your kids know about the realities of your financial situation, the more realistic their expectations will be. You don't have to reveal every little detail, simply provide the big picture.
Make it fun. Make it fun.

Few of us genuinely enjoy discussing finances, and that's especially true for teenagers and young adults. Try establishing an agenda, stick to it and plan afterwards to go out for dinner, see a movie, show, baseball game or whatever appeals to everyone involved. That way, it's something you can all look forward to doing.
Review your child's course selection. Review your child's course selection.

Many courses carry extra fees that may not be readily apparent in their curriculum guide. These can range from additional textbooks and study aids to lab and/or materials fees, all of which should be factored into the overall cost of their education.
Set boundaries. Set boundaries.

Make sure your child knows what you're prepared to pay for and what you're not. There's no end to extracurricular activities and diversions – many of which can be enormously beneficial to your child's overall breadth and development. But there are typically costs involved and you should be clear about limits.
Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your own personal financial situation. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your own personal financial situation.

This is especially important if you'll be co-signing a student loan. In this instance, be clear with your daughter or son that you're also responsible for any money borrowed and that any complications with their credit behavior may impact your financial situation as well.
Establish a time for updates or "status meetings" in advance. Establish a time for updates or "status meetings" in advance.

By creating a routine around financial discussions, your child will learn to come informed and prepared. It will also be easier for them to adhere to a written budget when they have targets and goals within a specific timeframe.
Be sure you and your child stay informed about any changes in contact information regularly. Be sure you and your child stay informed about any changes in contact information regularly.

Students are ever-changing creatures: today's e-mail address is often yesterday's news. This is especially important in the event of unforeseen circumstances, where you may be required to send them money at a moment's notice. Remember: being financially accountable sometimes means being physically available.


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