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Personal finance with Ralph and Al: Children need to understand family finances

This is another installment from Catawba College’s personal finance course led by retired (2002) Catawba College Professor Al Carter and Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner.
By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Talking about money, especially with your kids, can make some parents uncomfortable.
But before sending their children out into the world, parents need to share important financial information with them, retired Catawba College professor Al Carter said.
Carter and Food Lion co-founder Ralph Ketner are wrapping up a basic finance class aimed at teaching students how they can live on $3,000 a month, or $36,000 a year.
Before they leave the nest, children need to have a good understanding of family finances, Carter said.
And if parents don’t offer to discuss money with them, children should bring it up, he said.
As high school seniors or college freshmen, young adults need to know the answers to the following questions:
• How do I build a good credit score while in college, and how do I check my credit report each year? (Visit www.FTC.gov/credit to learn about credit score, credit reports and other financial issues.)
• Should I have a credit card or debit card, both or neither while in college?
• Should I have a local checking account with overdraft protection?
• If I have a car on campus, what coverage do I have and where is the insurance card?
• Does the family homeowners insurance policy cover property lost or damaged while on campus?
• Do I need an updated resume while in college?
• Do I have a student loan in my name? When does the interest begin? What is the interest rate?
• Do I have a medical insurance card and what coinsurance or deductible applies?
• Should my parents co-sign for a college loan?
• If I work while at college, who is claiming me on the income tax return?
• How much are my parents going to pay toward expenses? How much am I expected to contribute?
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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