How Parents Can Have “the Money Talk”

It may seem like only yesterday that you dropped off your child at kindergarten. But even as they get older, students of any age still need and seek your guidance, both emotionally and financially. This is especially true as they navigate their first year as post-secondary students and test their newly found independence.

According to a recent student finances poll, more than one-third of first-year students agree that “it’s a good idea to talk to parents about money and budgeting” and that “it’s ok to tell parents about things that don’t work out.” This research shows that first-year students are particularly worried about not being able to pay back debt, overspending, and disappointing their parents.

“Open and ongoing two-way communication that covers a range of financial topics should be at the heart of your game plan with your child and their post-secondary education,” suggests Laura Plant, director of student banking at RBC.

Almost half of first-year students say they talk to their parents at least once a month. Use this opportunity to foster your child’s growing financial independence by talking about the following top concerns:

• Budgeting. Ask if they’re tracking their plan and if they are surprised by the cost of extracurricular activities or textbooks.

• Credit card use. Find out if they know how to pay their cards online, what types of expenses should be charged, and how to stay on top of monthly payments.

• Cash flow. Explore other sources of income such as scholarships and seasonal job opportunities.

• The future. Discuss what’s worrying your student about graduation and plans for next year and beyond.

Find more resources for parents of post-secondary students at