Should my college kid look for paid internships or work while in school, or should I support him so he can focus on his studies instead?
From the Editors
Should my collage kid look for paid internships or work while in school, or should I support him so he can focus on his studies instead? There is no golden answer. But if you are helping your child with expenses, create a reasonable budget with him or her that simultaneously teaches responsibility. “The child should understand that they must run their college career the way they would if they were receiving the income from a job,” says Denise M. Zapata, CEO and President of Zapata Private Wealth Management, receiver of the 2011 Celebracion de la Mujer award. “Teach kids good habits, because bad ones are easy to take on.”
Encouraging part-time work college will help get your child’s feet wet in the “real” working world, while managing money they worked hard to earn. Another invaluable lesson: Building multi-tasking skills — a crucial strength in today’s working world. A good place to look for part-time work is at the college bookstore or other local business that will work with their academic schedule.
Paid internships and tutoring related to their field of study will not only help him pay for expenses, but prepare him with resume-building experience post-college. “Many college students end up making a side income by doing something they are interested in and enjoy doing,” says Zapata. Suggest your child visit a professor they trust or the office of their academic major for ways to find paid internships.
Zapata also recommends continuing to save for your own retirement before thinking about supporting your child during college. After all, there are loans for college, but no loans for retirement. If you decide to support your child during college — tuition and beyond — “It’s okay to take a short-term vacation from retirement savings in order to help your kids,” says Zapata, “Try not to borrow it though.”
Lauren Fischer is a freelance
writer who has contributed to Woman’s World, People, Makeup Deal of the Day and SavvyMiss.com.