August 26, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 11 �������������� Discuss money management with students (NAPSI) Before you move your child into a dorm, it’s important to have a discussion about financial matters and your expectations regarding the use of credit ����������������������������� and general money management. It is very important to start independence off on the ������������ right foot. The following concepts can be �������������������� a road map for parent and child in establishing solid financial practices. Maintaining a credit score is as impor������������������ tant as maintaining a GPA. Discuss the importance of good credit and how this is integral to your child’s ability to achieve future goals (renting a first apartment, starting in a profession, buying a home). mation on it is accurate. Helping your child choose (and properly Having a healthy credit score and an accurate credit report are important to establish- use) the right credit card and build good ing good credit, suggests Loretta Abrams, credit habits are vital to successful future from HSBC - North America’s Consumer borrowing. “Graduate” your student from an allowAffairs department. Help your child ance to an expense reimbursement plan. remember: • Plan to pay off-or at least pay more Rather than a monthly or weekly allowance, introduce an expense reimbursement than the minimum on-all bills on time. • Keep balances below 50 percent of system. In this way, you engage your child available credit limits (30 percent is even in discussions as you establish expectations, encourage ongoing communication about better). • Don’t open credit accounts that are not financial decisions, and require formal needed. Too many requests for credit can expense tracking before reimbursement. Encourage savings with a little incenlower a credit score. • Request a free report at www.annual- tive. Encourage your child to open a savings and make sure the infor- account and establish a regular savings pattern by agreeing to “match” all or a portion of the savings above a certain threshold. Partner with your child in finding the right financial institution by discussing considerations such as branch locations, number of ATMs, costs, services, fees, and product offerings. You can provide oversight by including yourself as a joint account holder. Most banks encourage online banking and have interactive sites to manage or transfer funds, set electronic limits, and avoid overdraft fees. Teach smart spending and credit use. Students should learn to use credit wisely and live within a budget. Smart spending doesn’t mean having to give up their social lives. Encourage them to be imaginative: Rent a video and ask friends to bring drinks and snacks. Take advantage of free campus activities. Shop around to compare prices on books or basic necessities. Help them retain their identity. The FTC estimates that as many as nine million Americans have their identity stolen each year. Reestablishing your good credit and name if you become the victim of identity theft or fraud can be a lengthy, costly, and time- consuming process. Here are some “dos and don’ts” to help protect your child against fraud and identify theft: Do: • Shred receipts and financial documents. • Protect personal information such as date of birth, driver’s license number, social security number, account numbers, and passwords. • Conduct online business on a secure website. Don’t: • Discuss financial matters in public or on cell phones. • Write passwords or PINs on the back of ATM cards or credit cards. • Mail bill payments from your home mailbox. The college years can be a great opportunity for parents to introduce effective and business-appropriate systems for budgeting, saving and accumulating wealth. “WOW! My Children Have Changed.” ���������������������� ����������������������������� ���������������������� ������������������������������������������������������ ���������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������� ������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������� ����������������������� Join Us with your family and friends NOW! Special Family Class! ��������� 854 Franklin Avenue, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 • ������������������������������� ���������������� �������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������� ��������������