Best Graduation Gift for Boomerang Kids

College graduation season is here and you know what that means. You have to give up your mancave, junior is moving back home! Boomerang kids are returning home to save money.

Here is a simple idea which will:

1) Allow you to steal a little extra time with your grad before they leave the nest for good

2) Teach your grad to establish a habit of monthly money communication

3) Establish a strategy for your grad to accumulate cash for their own place

Treat the arrangement like a practice run for “the real world” with parents playing the part of the landlord and the grad playing the part of the tenant. On the first of each month the grad pays “rent” to the parents. The parents deposit the “rent” to a savings account for the grad to later use to get their own place.

In the beginning this is about establishing the monthly habits of talking about money with the important people in their life and paying rent, even if the amount is minimal. Then, when the grad has a job, the “rent” should increase making sure it remains affordable. The goals is to eventually get the monthly “rent” up to an amount that is equal to the amount that the grad will be paying once they are out on their own. Do some online research to see what local apartments cost, preferably with roommates.

Agree in advance on a term for the “lease.” Will it be for six months? A year? By the time the “lease” is up on the grad’s childhood bedroom, they should be well on their way to having established a nest egg for a deposit on an apartment and first and last months’ rent. Consider extending the “lease” so they can set aside enough for an emergency fund of six months’ living expenses to set them on a firm foundation.

If you have an especially responsible young adult, let them handle the monthly deposit into the savings account. The real key is to pull out the bank statements and have the monthly discussion about savings and bill-paying. This will establish the habit for future money conversations with roommates and more importantly, one day, a spouse. Savings in the bank and a monthly habit of open communication about money; what a great graduation gift!

It’s on your To-Do. Let’s get it To-Done!

Financial “To-Do” items

Often times, when I call someone they say to me “It’s funny that you called, because I have been meaning to call you” or “You are on my To-Do list”.  I have heard these types of comments for many years.  I have a theory about this.  My theory is that just about everyone has important financial To-Do items sitting on their To-Do list.

Generally, the items at the very top of a To-Do list are items that are urgent, like fixing a leaking roof; or they have a looming deadline, like buying a birthday gift.  Whereas, the financial To-Dos, such as “what should I do about college planning?”, have a tendency to rest near the top because they are important but, just can’t quite seem to get all the way to the top of the list because their deadline isn’t just around the corner.   Usually something has to happen to nudge that To-Do higher on the list, hopefully it isn’t the fact that college suddenly has a looming deadline.

The definition of “To-Done”

When it is time for you to go to the dentist, you put that on your To-Do list.  Once you have seen the dentist, you check it off – To-Done!  Does that mean that you never go see the dentist again?  Of course not.   When it is time for you to set your next appointment, you will put it on the To-Do list again.  The same holds true for financial planning – it isn’t a one and done type of thing.  While there are a few financial To-Do items that you do once and forget it, most financial topics need to be reviewed on a periodic basis.  For example, portfolios need to be rebalanced, employee benefits have annual enrollment periods, taxes are filed once a year, etc.

There are a variety of reasons people don’t tackle their financial To-Dos.  Many people lack either the time, confidence, or desire to handle their finances, for those people, professional advisors are a good solution.  And for others, who want to tackle some of this on their own, I hope to provide some simple To-Dos within some of my blog posts because I find it very encouraging as a financial advisor when I find consumers who have an interest in financial planning.  I hope that these posts are of help to consumers that are looking for assistance from an advisor as well as consumers that are looking to manage their own financial affairs.