My kid called from college and is broke…again

There are two ways to deal with this situation



From the September/October 2016 issue of the magazine.


Some parents never get this call. Others find it’s a monthly tradition. Ultimately, you’ve only got two options: Bail him out with an emergency cash drop or drop off a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of Wonder Bread and let him sweat it out until the next payday.

Truth is, by the time your kid is calling from college, you’ve probably already missed your first opportunity to teach this crucial life lesson.

Basic budgeting is a skill that’s best taught early, says MoneySense Approved financial planner Heather Franklin. With her own kids, she started years before they graduated from high school, by doling out their allowance less often and in ever greater increments.

“That way they learned to manage their money for movies and clothing for longer stretches,” she says. “If a person is sent off to university without basic skills how can you expect them to magically develop? It doesn’t happen through osmosis.”

But that doesn’t quite answer the question. This does: Peanut butter is cheap and an excellent source of protein; beer is not. Besides, monodiets are all the rage with the celebrities these days.

More tips on how to raise money-wise kids:

Ages 0 to 6: My first money moves »

Ages 7 to 12: Saving not spending »

Ages 13 to 17: Big kids, bigger budget »

Ages 18+: Preparing to launch »

How to explain…

Basic budgeting to kids »
Compound interest to kids 
Net worth to kids »

Ways your kids can earn and save

Run a successful lemonade stand »
Save money at school  »


How can I avoid money tantrums? »
Should you pay your kids to volunteer? »
Should I buy my 10-year-old a smartphone? »
Does my kid need a clothing allowance? »
Should I give my teen a credit card? »

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