Parents have already begun sending their kids off to college this year, but worrying about cutting checks and college parties isn’t all on their minds. The thought of their children’s financial independence (and total unfamiliarity with it) can be just as harrowing. While we can all remember cautionary tales from our parents often falling on deaf ears, credit cards, budgets, bills and allowances for these newly minted adults are no trivial matter.

Financial planner Karin Maloney Stifler wanted to make sure her son Colin, headed off to college, got off to the right start. She wrote this letter for him and posted it on the Financial Planning Association blog. On top of the usual motherly fare, there lies some great guidance for the fresh undergraduate student.

An excerpt of her tips to her son:

  • Your Money:
    • Give yourself a weekly allowance and stick to it.
    • Pay with cash or debit card.
    • Use your credit card for emergencies in the ways we have discussed.
    • Check your bank account online at least once a week.
    • Monitor automatic banking text and email alerts.
    • Don’t lend or borrow money from friends.
    • Protect your valuables – most of all, your identity.
    • If you lose or break something, replace it at your own expense.

Notice the bolded area above? “In the areas we have discussed” means that this isn’t the first time that the money talk has happened. That kind of preparation might be the most important note of all.

More than just a heartfelt mother-to-son read, Karin gives an interesting lesson in what others kinds of support one can proffer to the collegebound child.

What financial advice have you given your children heading off to college?