Dear Lexie,

On your first day of college, let me congratulate you on your well-earned freedom. No more curfews. No more being dragged places you'd rather not be. No more of Dad's teachable moments about responsibility, And no more boring lessons about after-tax income, saving, borrowing, compound returns and growth stocks.

While we're on the subject of "no more," let me gently mention that it applies to the car you've been driving too, and my gas card and your allowance. Freedom, you see, has its price. Sorry, I couldn't resist one more teachable moment.

I know that you will study hard and explore all the great things that a university has to offer. You are ready for this and, frankly, so am I. Your freedom and a degree of mine come wrapped together.

Yet I can't help but worry that you may get tripped up with money issues. It's easy to do, especially when you're just starting out. But happily, it's also fairly easy to avoid. So if you'll just indulge me one last time, I'd like to offer some parting financial wisdom for your first semester and beyond.
This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of Money magazine.


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