How to Help High School Grads Make Smart Money Moves

Posted on 04/27/2012

High school graduates may think they know a thing or two about the real world, but in reality, adult guidance could help them avoid costly mistakes. Before they head off to college, squander away the summer or start punching the time clock full time, here are some ways you can help.

Show Them Employment Numbers Earning a bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean you’ll follow up by earning a decent income. New reports show that half of recent college graduates are either jobless or underemployed. That means high school graduates need to analyze their job market prospects before choosing a major. Showing them data that reveals the fields with the most opportunity will help boost their earning potential post-college.

Explain that Debt Equals Slavery
For some teens, making the transition to adulthood means getting a credit card, car loan or pricey apartment. Understanding that debt limits your freedom can make that new car or wardrobe seem less appealing.

Encourage Weirdness
Student debt is nearing $1 trillion. According to the Project on Student Debt, the average student loan debt is $22,250. It’s not too late for high school graduates to make smart financial decisions. Encourage them to be weird since “normal” means being in serious debt.

Give Them a Survival Guide
This may be the perfect gift for a graduating senior—especially one that you want to see succeed financially. The Graduate’s Survival Guide, $24.95, includes a DVD and two books to help them get ready to leave home for college.

Expose them to a Financial Education
Sometimes teens need to learn lessons themselves. While you may not be the best one to teach them about money, at least you can point them in the right direction. By simply exposing them to great resources like, they can get the financial education that high school probably didn’t offer.

By Alison Storm

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