June 3, 2019, Albion, MI (AMN) — So you’ve graduated high school. First of all Congratulations!!! Whether you’ve decided to pursue college, trade school, military or jump straight into the workforce we are proud of you. No matter what you’ve decided on it’s time to begin a conversation about who is responsible for your new found responsibilities in life like room, board, phone, transportation, insurance, office, and even utilities. What does your college cover if you’re living on campus? Who is covering what if you find yourself with roommates in or out of state. The questions are limitless. Over the next few months will focus on overcoming life’s new set challenges put forth for new successful young adults to conquer. Don’t fear the unknown. Ask questions and learn from parents, family, and mentors.
For teenagers moving away from home one of the first cost that will usually surprise you is food. Don’t be tempted to eat out all the time. Splurging on fresh fruits and meats is always a surprise to the budget. Even the little staples at home like spices and oils can be a mini-shocker once you’re away from home. Be involved and show interest in family budgeting. This will lessen the shock of transitioning to college. The family will always have your back but learning vital budgeting skills is key. If you have a habit of being glued to your game controller or mobile phone put them down and ask questions. Lastly, concerning budgeting learn how long it takes for different financial processes to fully cycle from beginning to end. That is – How long does it take for your paycheck, tuition assistance, grant, loan, wire transfer or any other transaction to hit your account? This is key to helping you plan and manage things as a growing adult. Also be aware of the factors that may delay or hinder such transactions such as holidays, fraud, major events, or system outages and plan for them. You don’t want to be surprised if you’re at a gas station, grocery store, financial aid office, or Taco Bell (yeah…..you’ll go there) and the banking system is down. Your institution will be as surprised as you are and will be busy fixing whatever error or computer attack (hack) is causing havoc. Always carry a little cash and always have a backup. Remember pay the utilities and your rent before splurging on those other items and eating in the dark with no power wondering if you paid the electric.
Many people are adapting to mobile payments. Making things easier for you also makes things easier for thieves. Protect your data and the devices that hold it. You’ll always want to use features such as two-factor authentication and biometric features now available on smartphones. Don’t pay people you know. Never send money to people you don’t know and always delete the email from the Nigerian Prince or long lost European relative. Assure your passwords are secure and not something easily bypassed with your pets name or mothers maiden name. This information is easy to find online with all the people searches available to any devious person out there with free time. They’ll hack more than your WiFi hot spot or your COMCAST and WOW accounts. Be vigilant.
If you’re lucky or unlucky enough to be on your parent’s insurance there are a few things you should know. First – Have you ever made your own doctors appointment? If not, do it. It’s not that hard. If you don’t have a vehicle you’ll have to work your appointment times around a family member that does. If you don’t have a license, get one. Whether you decide to get a vehicle or not you can always at least have the ability to drive, especially in an emergency. Let’s get back to insurance. You can be on your parent’s insurance up to age 26. You’ll need to become more aware of what your co-pay is and if there are any deductibles for certain types of appointments. Filling a prescription for the first time is filled with interesting obstacles, especially on refills for regular but essential medicines. So introduce yourself to the various insurance cards and account numbers you’ll need. Do a walk-through with your local pharmacist or doctor office. They’ll be happy to assist even if they know you’re just learning. This also helps prevent confusion when scheduling future appointments. If you’re on campus become familiar with what the college or University covers and what you or your parents may need to cover. When in doubt- Ask.