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Prepare your child for the future with a financial checklist

Even when high school graduation is over, the learning continues - especially when it comes to financial knowledge.

SEATTLE — After your child celebrates their graduation from school, a new stage of their life begins. Insurance, bank accounts, credit and other financial realities sets in. 

Having conversations about how to save money, what needs to be paid for and what they can do to start off financial independence on the right foot can sometimes be hard to navigate but necessary.

"They may be faced with choices they've always relied on you for a little bit of help with," Certified Financial Planner Dana Twight of Twight Financial said. "It can also be a new opportunity for peer pressure."

She suggested sitting down with your graduate to help them develop a budget. It does not need to be complex, but she said that writing it down can help your child remember it.

She also cautioned parents to discuss how a credit card or loan money should be used. 

"Beer and pizza is expensive," Twight said. "Beverages and pizza that you're paying off from three years ago is even more expensive."

Twight said that one of the first things parents and their young graduates should do when considering a credit card is to look at the child's credit score. She suggested using annualcreditreport.com, which is the only site authorized by the government and is operated by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Although the younger generation may have different beliefs about data privacy than their parents, it is still an important conversation to have. Parents should still talk to their children about what data privacy means to them, especially if they are a co-signer on any financial accounts, Twight explained. 

Twight also advised young people to begin thinking about retirement, insurance and savings emergencies. 

"Everyone should have an emergency fund. I always suggest the cost of a set of tires," she said. The emergency fund could be a different amount though, depending on one's lifestyle and income. 

She encouraged young people to start thinking about retirement too, even though it may seem far away, by opening a Roth IRA savings account. They should also consider what kind of insurance they may need, like health, car or renters insurance depending on their situation. 

As your child enters the next phase of their life, careful financial planning while they're young can help them thrive. 

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