After years of careful saving and planning, the time has come for high school students to transition to college — a transformative milestone and the beginning of their journey toward independence. As you prepare for this next step, certain planning essentials are suitable for any age but especially helpful for your young adult’s financial and legal well-being.

Durable Power of Attorney: Regardless of your age or assets, having a durable power of attorney can protect you in various circumstances. For your college-bound teen, this legal document will allow your student to appoint a trustworthy individual to manage their finances and make financial decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated due to a sports injury, illness, or accident. It also enables the appointed agent to sign important documents for them, such as leases or tax returns, when at school.

Budget Creation: Going off to college involves independently managing income and expenses. Creating a comprehensive budget encompassing expected college expenses and discretionary spending can help curb monetary concerns, allowing students to focus on their studies and extracurricular activities. There are several helpful budgeting apps, including Simplifi, Spending Tracker, and Goodbudget, to help with this. If desired, see if your child is interested in getting an on-campus or off-campus job or internship in an area of personal or professional interest for supplemental income.

Periodic Expense Reevaluation: Sound financial planning pays dividends in terms of peace of mind and realistic spending plans for parents and families. Regularly revisiting and adjusting estimated college expenses to account for inflation and changing circumstances can prevent overextension of finances. Current inflationary conditions can affect the cost of housing, food, transportation, and other essentials. Empower your college student to make informed financial decisions and adapt the financial plan as needed by periodically reassessing their needs.

Resource Allocation: Review your available financial resources for college expenditures, including your savings, investments, and 529 plan. It can be helpful to identify opportunities to reduce or defer low-priority expenses while exploring additional financial resources to support planned expenses. A proactive approach can ensure your college-bound student’s financial needs are balanced and supported throughout their academic journey.

By prioritizing these personal financial management essentials, you can equip your college-bound young adult with critical skills for achieving financial independence and confidently navigating their collegiate experience.

To learn more about how we help families prepare for significant milestones, contact Buckley Fine’s team at 847-381-0011 or email us at