If you want your empty nest to stay empty after your child heads to college, you need to let your teen develop some everyday money muscles while they are in high school. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner has more in her ongoing series "Money Matters: Teach your Children" and filed the following report.
By the time they're in high school, it's time to start weaning your kids away from the bank of mom and dad. Donna Rosato of Money Magazine says you can start by detailing what you'll pay for and what they'll pay for.
"If your child knows that they are going to have to pay for eating out with friends, buying a special outfit, they know that they need to budget that money for those things," says Rosato.
Budget. There's a new concept. The best way to illustrate it: Show them yours, assuming you have one.
"Actually have them sit down with you and do some household bills," suggests Carmen Wong Ulrich, president and co-founder of ALTA Wealth Management.
And as they get older, put them in charge of some.
"What happens is the kids grow up, you're paying the cell phone bill and all these other bills and not necessarily making them a part of the process," adds Ulrich. "Make them responsible once they get to high school for paying some of their own bills."
This probably means it's time for them to get a job and that first paycheck opens new opportunities for lessons in banking.
"Give them their own checkbook, give them a debit card and you manage it with them. You must do these things before your child goes to college," recommends Dr. Barbara Nusbaum, a registered psychologist.
Ah yes, college. Like it or not, that's also a financial decision -- a huge one that can affect their lives for decades.
"We have a trillion dollars worth of student loan debt and I think a lot of students are clueless to the fact that colleges cost different amounts and their parents are going to have to go deep into debt and they'll have to go deep into debt," says Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life".
Kobliner's advice is to start the conversation about costs early and have it often to avoid any unrealistic expectations from taking hold.
"Let's think about different colleges and let's be realistic about what they cost and what we as a family can afford to spend and I think as a nation we're going to have to start having those conversations by freshman year of high school," says Kobliner.
Of course, getting a teenager to have a conversation about anything can be a challenge, but when it comes to talking about money experts say it's a challenge parents are just going to have to overcome.
"We have to tell kids that what we are teaching you is a life skill. This is something that you are going to have to exercise every day in your adult life and that is why it is important," says National Endowment for Financial Education Spokesman Paul Golden.