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Ten Topics to Discuss with Your 18-Year-Old

10-things-image Whether your children are heading off to college soon or not, reaching age 18 has consequences that can increase their – and your – risk exposure dramatically. Here are 10 topics to discuss with your 18-year old.

Whether your children are heading off to college soon or not, reaching age 18 has consequences that can increase their – and your – risk exposure dramatically. Now is the time to discuss:

  1. Responsible use of debit and credit cards: College-age kids will be pitched by credit card companies at least a dozen times. Discuss how and when to use both debit and credit cards properly to establish a solid credit history.
  2. How credit scores work and impact of bad decisions: Disputes with cell phone, cable, and health care providers can linger for years. And bad credit can cost your children jobs, apartments, cars, home loans, etc.
  3. Your need for a medical power of attorney so you can discuss medical issues with healthcare providers: Without one, HIPAA prevents you from getting any information at all.
  4. Your need for a general or financial power of attorney if you want to know their grades, financial status at college: Again, without the proper signed authority to act as your child’s attorney-in-fact, you can’t get the most basic information about them.
  5. Putting their car in their name with separate insurance: Isolating the risk where it belongs can protect your own hard-earned assets.
  6. Good renter’s insurance in their name: Whether they live in a dorm, an apartment, or a trailer, they need coverage for their belongings.
  7. Never signing or co-signing any obligations: Co-signing for friends, even on something as benign as a cell phone contract, can backfire badly.
  8. Protecting their identity: Identity theft has become the most common white-collar crime. Changing passwords frequently, monitoring accounts, even buying ID theft protection are all useful defenses.
  9. Following local gun laws: Laws governing gun licensing and the right to carry firearms vary dramatically by state – and by campus. Know the rules.
  10. Knowing their legal responsibility (contracts, statutory rape, DUI, civil suits): The difference between how the law treats minors and adults can be stark. Review the rules, and what to do if they should get arrested.