Teaching Your College-Age Child About Money
When your child first started school, you doled out the change for milk and a snack on a daily basis. But now that your kindergartner has grown up, it’s time for you to make sure that your child has enough financial knowledge to manage money at college.
Lesson 1: Budgeting 101
Perhaps your child already understands the basics of budgeting from having to handle an allowance or wages from a part-time job during high school. But now that your child is in college, he or she may need to draft a “real world” budget, especially if he or she lives off-campus and is responsible for paying for rent and utilities. Here are some ways you can help your child plan and stick to a realistic budget:
- Help your child figure out what income there will be (money from home, financial aid, a part-time job) and when it will be coming in (at the beginning of each semester, once a month, or every week).
- Make sure your child understands the difference between needs and wants. Your child should understand how important it is to cover the needs first.
- Determine together how you and your child will split responsibility for expenses. For instance, you may decide that you’ll pay for your child’s trips home, but that your child will need to pay for art supplies or other miscellaneous expenses.
- Warn your child not to spend too much too soon, particularly when money that has to last all semester arrives at the beginning of a term.
- Acknowledge that college isn’t all about studying. While you should include entertainment expenses in the budget, encourage your child to stick closely to the limit you agree upon.
- Show your child how to track expenses by saving receipts and keeping an expense log. Knowing where the money is going will help your child stay on track.
- Encourage your child to plan ahead for big expenses (the annual auto insurance bill or the trip over spring break).
- Caution your child to monitor spending patterns to avoid excessive spending, and ask him or her to come to you for advice at the first sign of financial trouble.
Prepare and Enjoy
Before the start of every Concordia football game, Coach Terry Horan quotes Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
As we move through life, there are defining moments that we can prepare for and some we cannot. Moments that make us happy, sad, mad, proud, and a myriad of other emotions. Something as memorable as a summer weekend when we play the best golf game of our life with a great group of friends, or the exhaustion and uncertainty from a long health battle. These experiences shape our outlook on life, the stories we tell our kids, and how we plan for tomorrow.
In our line of work, we understand what people are going through because we experience the same things. Whether something is expected or unexpected, prepare for it and embrace those you trust to help you get through it.
What Coach Horan was impressing on the Cobbers before taking the field is that we have prepared for today. Not just in the days and weeks leading up to the game, but the months and years as well, whether we knew it or not. Every experience has shaped us, no matter how large or small. Get out there and enjoy the moment. We have a game plan, but also be prepared for the unexpected to arise for us to overcome. Be confident and strong and remember that someone will always have your back to help you through the hard times and enjoy the good times.
Meet Dustin Sobolik
Dustin is the Investment Officer at Heartland Trust Company. He oversees investment research, meets with analysts, and does much of the financial planning for our clients.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a north Fargo native and attended Minnesota State University Moorhead from 2007 to 2011. I guide discussions in our Investment Committee and have a mild obsession with statistics and analytics. Aside from working with clients, a large portion of my role revolves around conducting research and meeting with outside analysts.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Inflation Doesn’t Retire When You Do
The need to outpace inflation doesn’t end at retirement; in fact, it becomes even more important. If you’re living on a fixed income, you need to make sure your investing strategy takes inflation into account. Otherwise, you may have less buying power in the later years of your retirement because your income doesn’t stretch as far.
Your savings may need to last longer than you think
Gains in life expectancy have been dramatic. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, people today can expect to live more than 30 years longer than they did a century ago. Individuals who reached age 65 in 1950 could expect to live an average of 14 years more, to age 79; now a 65-year-old might expect to live for roughly an additional 19 years. Assuming inflation continues to increase over that time, the income you’ll need will continue to grow each year. That means you’ll need to think carefully about how to structure your portfolio to provide an appropriate withdrawal rate, especially in the early years of retirement.
Trusts Built Trust
Next year – 2020 – will mark 30 years that Heartland Trust Company has served our community.
As you might know, we started our business by managing trusts, serving as trustee for the benefit of our clients and their beneficiaries. And over the decades, these trusts led to your trust – and our growth.
Today, we still do trusts, but our largest group of account types includes IRAs and investment accounts. We also set up and manage 401(k) plans for businesses.
When to Consider Target-Date Funds
Since target-date funds were first offered in the early 1990s, they’ve become a widespread investment vehicle for retirement. Their booming popularity is no surprise. After all, a target-date fund (or TDF) is easy for novice investors to manage, and even experienced investors can appreciate the hands-off simplicity they can offer.
But do your research: a TDF may not always be the best choice for you.
TDFs are designed for individuals with particular retirement dates in mind. In fact, the name of the fund often refers to its target date. For example, you might see funds with names like “Portfolio 2030,” “Retirement Fund 2030,” or “Target 2030″ that are intended for individuals who plan to retire in or near the year 2030. The fund’s mix of investments automatically adjusts as time moves on, becoming more conservative as you get older and closer to retirement.
Teaching Your Child and Teen About Money
Ask your 5-year old where money comes from, and the answer you’ll probably get is “from the bank!” Even though children don’t always understand where money really comes from, they realize at a young age that they can use it to buy the things they want. So as soon as your child becomes interested in money, start teaching him or her how to handle it wisely.
Facing the Possibility of Incapacity
Incapacity means that you are either mentally or physically unable to take care of yourself or your day-to-day affairs. Incapacity can result from serious physical injury, mental or physical illness, advancing age, and alcohol or drug abuse.
Even with today’s medical miracles, it’s a real possibility that you or your spouse could become incapable of handling your own medical or financial affairs. A serious illness or accident can happen suddenly at any age. Advancing age can bring senility, Alzheimer’s disease, or other ailments that affect your ability to make sound decisions about your health, or to pay your bills, write checks, make deposits, sell assets, or otherwise conduct your affairs.
4 Ways to Avoid Common Investor Biases
It may stun some folks, but successful investing often relies more on managing emotions than on managing the market. I’m emphasizing this even after analyzing fund and macroeconomic data for the last three hours. Our biases and emotions play a strong role in our investment decision-making, often to our detriment.
Let’s start with recency bias, also known as, “markets are falling and they will continue to fall because they just fell.” It also happens to be my girlfriend’s bias toward my cooking. Just because I burned spaghetti 10 times in the past doesn’t mean I will burn spaghetti 10 times in the future. (Okay, I might.) However, it does apply to investing and the markets. This is also called zoom theory. It’s the tendency to overweigh recent experiences when forming a view of the future. It’s why folks think they can tolerate risk when returns are strong, only to sell when asset prices fall. They zoom in. Let’s zoom in on the most recent sell off for an example: