What to Do When Your Kids Go to College



The day your children leave for college can be one of the most significant emotional moments of your life. On top of the mix of joy, relief, and anxiety, there can be a lot of financial stress. Planning for the big day will have you in the right mental and emotional state so they can start the next chapter of their lives on a positive note. Thinking ahead to the financial and emotional needs that your family will face can make that first trip to college easier for everyone.

Plan ahead

The days leading up to the start of the first semester in college can be hectic, with parents often having lots of packing, moving, and shopping to complete. Start your planning early, so you have things ready well before move-in. It can help to make checklists, a schedule, or a plan for moving in. Planning ahead can also let you enjoy the last few days together before your young one starts college.

Help them get ready

Your child will need guidance during this period of major change, and helping them get ready can give you a chance to spend quality time together before school starts. You can help them figure out what to pack, including bedding and other items they’ll need for their new room, and take them shopping for supplies. Talk to them about what college will be like or do research together on what they should expect at their new campus. Knowing what to expect once they get to college will ease the transition and may reduce the odds of homesickness.

Check the academic calendar

The school year will fly by faster than you think, so it helps to look over the academic calendar and discuss the important dates. The first day of school is obviously an important one to mark down, but also take note of which holidays are observed when the semester ends and any other notable days on the school calendar. Many schools have family days or family weekends when parents are encouraged to visit the campus, so keep an eye out for those dates. Winter break, spring break, and other holidays can be time to plan family trips and vacations.

Evaluate your finances

College comes with financial stress for both parents and students, from figuring out how to pay for tuition to covering essentials like meals and books. A little forethought can eliminate the surprises that may come with the first year of going away from school.

You may want to research student loans and financial aid early—many of those applications are due well before the semester starts. It can also help to make a budget for your child’s expenses at school and make a plan for how your family will cover tuition payments throughout the first year.

If you’re becoming an empty nester when your kid leaves for school, your personal finances will change too. You may want to reevaluate your financial goals and even modify your budget to help pay tuition. If you have a permanent life insurance policy, such as whole life insurance or universal life insurance, you may decide that this is a good time to utilize the policy’s cash value to cover tuition payments.

Get ready for your relationship to change

When your child is reaching adulthood and living independently for the first time, your relationship may change. It won’t necessarily change in bad ways, but college marks the start of a new phase of life. Between new friends, new classes, and new environments, they’ll be exposed to lots of experiences that will help them grow. All you can do is prepare them as best you can, then sit back and watch your hard work pay off.

The primary purpose of permanent life insurance is to provide a death benefit. Using permanent life insurance accumulated value to supplement retirement income will reduce the death benefit and may affect other aspects of the policy.


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