College Prerequisite: Preparing an Undergrad to Handle Their Own Finances

Now, more than a decade after graduating from college, Casey Van Zutphen can admit it: The time his parents — and especially his father — invested to teach him about managing his finances as an undergraduate has paid off in a big way.

“I probably didn’t appreciate it then as much as I do now, but I’m grateful they made the effort to help me understand how to handle my money,” says Van Zutphen, who these days manages finances not only for himself but for others as a Certified Financial Planner® just like his father, Neal Van Zutphen. The younger Van Zutphen is in line to someday succeed his dad as head of Intrinsic Wealth Counsel in Tempe, AZ.

Young adults who go to college armed with a solid foundation of basic financial know-how tend to be better prepared to handle their finances after college. And those who actually share in the financial responsibility of paying for their education come out ahead, too, asserts the elder Van Zutphen. “Many of our clients expect their children to financially participate in funding their education specifically, because they know the child will value their education more and will come out of college with a real feeling of accomplishment. To have some skin in the game fundamentally alters how they value their college education.”

Here are seven tactics the Van Zutphens and other financial professionals suggest using to help college students and undergrads-to-be gain a grasp of the money-management basics.
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