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Time to have the financial "talk" with your kids is now

A new poll finds it’s more important than ever to have the financial talk with your post-secondary bound son or daughter.

The latest 2014 RBC Student Finances Poll found while nine out of 10 parents say they know roughly how much debt their child has, only 78 per cent of students agree.

More than half of students (55 per cent) say they’ve sometimes hidden how much they spend from their parents but only a third of parents believe their child has sometimes hidden their spending habits.

A large majority of students (76 per cent) say they’re confident in their ability to manage finances but most (87 per cent) also believe they still have a lot to learn.

RBC Student Banking Director Melissa Jarman says she meets with both parents and post-secondary students often in hopes of fostering that dialogue.

Jarman says the ideal time to have a chat with your children is now while they have summer jobs and are saving for their education.

A big reason for having the conversation is about eliminating the financial stress factor and allowing students to focus on their schooling.

“There was about 57 per cent of parents who thought that kids were stressed about finances but in fact 71 per cent are,” she told 660News. “We believe you should have that financial talk every year and have that financial talk with your kids whether you’re helping them pay for school, all of it, a portion of it or none because either way as a parent you’re still able to give advice.”

Her advice: have a budget and revisit it often. It’s the best way to stay in good financial shape when you are away at school.

Do your research; check online sources to see if you qualify for free money that you don’t have to pay back.

Only borrow what you have to; your budget will include all the money that you have for education, like savings, RESP’s and scholarships.

As well, take advantage of your student status, using discounts wherever possible.