Essential Money Management for Youth in Transition

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If you're transitioning out of foster care or another youth program, it's OK (and perfectly normal) to feel a little overwhelmed.

But don't sweat it.

You have a huge arsenal of resources at your disposal to help you along, including guides on finance, higher education, housing, and more.

Set yourself up for long-term success by reviewing each section below, or even bookmark this resource guide to come back to later.

Remember: You got this.

Aging Out

A smooth transition into adult life is within your reach. Find essential tips written just for those aging out of the foster care system, including guides written by former transitional youth.

While you map out your long-term career development, consider a flexible online job to earn money. Our round-up of the best online jobs for teens offers options for everyone.

Financial Literacy Basics

For transitional youth entering adulthood, learning about financial literacy is one of the best things you can do.

Discover the essential info on banking, taxes, credit, and more in this list.

  • Foster Youth in Transition: Finances: Information on money management, banking, credit tips, bills, bankruptcy, and taxes written for young adults who are in or who have been in foster care.
  • Money Calculator Tools: A collection of practical finance calculators: a budget calculator, an income-based repayment calculator, a savings calculator, and a student loan debt/salary wizard.
  • Consumer Tools: Guides on common financial terms and what steps to take when making major financial decisions like getting an auto loan or buying a house.
  • Consumer Protection Basics: An easy-to-understand compilation on consumer protection concepts and how to apply these into one's daily life.

Banking

Credit Scores and Reports

Taxes

Fraud and Identity Theft

Investing

  • How to Invest Money: Explains the basics of investing and how to get started, plus the best types of investments for beginners.
  • The Stock Market Game: A simulation game that teaches students to invest in the stock market.
  • Tips for Teens: Investment: Basics of investing, including the stock market, liquidity, risk, returns, and diversification.

Money Management Tips

Now that you know the basics of finance, find out which actionable steps you can take right now to achieve better financial health.

Saving and Spending

How to Budget

Healthcare Resources

The subject of healthcare may seem daunting, but you don't have to go it alone.

We've compiled a list of resources to help you keep your mental and physical health in check, plus info on substance abuse assistance and sexual health.

Mental Health Resources

Substance Abuse Resources

  • Tools to Quit Now: Tools to help someone quit smoking; includes the SmokeFree App that provides help to keep you motivated to stay on track.
  • Start Your Recovery - Teens: Info on the challenges of substance abuse; includes tips from former addicts and a search tool to find rehab centers near you.
  • Just Think Twice - Get Help: Tips on how to get help for substance abuse; includes hotlines and intervention resources to help you manage addiction.

Sexual Health & Family Planning

Housing

The importance of having a safe place to rest your head at night can't be overstated. If you're looking for affordable transitional housing, start your search here.

Disability Resources

If you're living with a disability, there are plenty of resources to take advantage of. Discover your options for housing, insurance, and financial independence below.

Continuing Education

Education is an essential part of having a rewarding career. But where to start? Discover handy checklists, guides, and tips for college preparation, expenses, and potential career paths.

  • College Preparation Checklist: Checklist for students of any age on how to prepare for college both academically and financially, plus an overview of the different types of aid offered by the government.
  • Resource Compilation for Preparing for College: Resources provided by the Federal Student Aid to help students determine their career path to school selection all the way to budgeting their way through college.
  • Guide to Understanding College Costs: List of typical college expenses to help future students estimate how much money they will need to cover the whole semester.
  • College Navigator: An advanced search engine designed to help future college students find post-secondary schools based on their preferences, including short- and long-term programs offered by public and private institutions.
  • Get My Future: A navigator for users who would like to explore the different possibilities available as a next step for their career.
  • College Scorecard: A search engine of colleges, the programs they offer, and the corresponding costs and admissions, plus info on apprenticeships and career options.

Loans and Financial Aid

A loan can help you take big steps in life, like going to college or buying a car.

Below are some resources to help you know what to expect when applying for different types of loans and financial aid.

  • FAFSA Form: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form necessary for federal financial aid for college or graduate school.
  • Complete the Financial Aid Process: A guide on what needs to be done after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, including how to compare offers.
  • Loan Simulator: The Loan Simulator is designed to assist future students in making decisions regarding student loans.
  • Types of Financial Aid: General information on financial aid, particularly the different types of financial aid sources.
  • Scholarship Finder: A comprehensive list of different financial aid sources categorized by the level of study, award type, location, and eligibility requirements.
  • FAFSA 4Caster: An estimator that will aid users in weighing payment options for college.
  • ETV Site: A website run by Foster Care to Success that finds scholarships for those who have come from foster care.
  • How to Get an Auto Loan: Tips on how to budget to make owning a car affordable, and things to remember to include in the budget after obtaining the loan.
  • Take Control of Your Auto Loan: A Step-by-Step Guide: A guide about budgeting for an auto loan and factors to consider so you can afford it.

Insurance Resources

Insurance provides essential protection for various parts of your life: your car, your home, and your health (just to name a few.)

Get the protection you need with these resources below.

State-Specific Resources

It's smart to seek out resources provided by your own state too. Start your search for state-specific aid here.

State Opportunity Passport Programs
This program provides financial education for transitioning youths and provides access to the matched savings program.

State Resources for Higher Education
Hoping to get your degree? A good place to start is your state's Department of Education website. Find yours on this list.

Bottom Line

Whether you're on the hunt for affordable housing or learning the ropes of financial literacy, there is plenty of info out there to help you get ahead and thrive.

And, yes, it's a lot to process. But don't worry about nailing it all right away. Adulthood is a journey, not a destination (I read that on a fortune cookie once).

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