For Mark Roberts’ Use:

If there’s one thing most parents want to pass on to their children, it’s financial wisdom. You’ve been young yourself, you’ve made some financial mistakes, and you’re hoping your kids can learn from them.

That can often be the case, since financial mistakes aren’t subject to quite the same generational value differences as other lifestyle choices. Still, talking about money can feel challenging to some. These topics should give you some jumping-off points for discussion.

Roommates with liabilities. Living with one or more roommates is a great way to cut back on living expenses while paying down student loan debt or building a career. But if you choose the wrong roommates, you could be on the hook for their end of the rent and bills. Make sure your adult children understand the difference between good friends and good roommates; they’re not always the same thing.

Overlooking the importance of a rainy day fund. Everyone needs to save for emergency expenses. Otherwise, a sudden car repair or medical bill will end up on a credit card, along with months or even years of interest.

Overuse of student loans. Many students will need to utilize loans for tuition and fee expenses. But if it all possible, it’s better not to use loans for living expenses during college (and yes, that includes a car). These days young adults are spending anywhere from 10 to 25 years paying off their student loans, so borrow only what is absolutely necessary.

Failing to use credit responsibly. Your credit score affects everything from your car insurance rates to your ability to purchase a home someday. But because your score depends upon more than just making payments on time, young people would be wise to learn how the system works. And most importantly, never fall behind on student loan payments. This debt will not be discharged in bankruptcy, and those who are still in default upon retirement can even see their Social Security benefits garnished!

Failing to save for retirement. Don’t you wish you had started saving for retirement earlier than you did? Make sure to tell your kids about this regret! Even a small amount of savings early in their career can really add up, thanks to employer matching and compounding interest over the decades.

On that note, we would be honored to help your adult children just as we’ve assisted you. Pass along our number, and we’ll help them get started on a path toward greater financial independence in the future.