Quick Recap: My husband and I came up with four different categories and related skills that we felt S was going to need in order to be successful starting out as a young adult heading off to college. The categories are physical, educational, financial, and spiritual.
a. Career research: For the past few years, we have asked S what interests him for possible careers. We have constantly told him that if you love what you do it will make going to work fun. He has done some career interest inventories although he has been known to not answer the questions truthfully (Example: Are you interested in cabinet making? Yes. - He has never shown any desire to do any kind of woodworking.). He has expressed interest in being a Military Analyst which lends itself to his love of history and his ability to connect events taking place (thank you ADD mind). The past few months he has also expressed an interest in doing mission work. Very interesting. We have told him to pray about it. We are interested to see the path he will take in life. We do know that he will start with college though, so he has time to see this through. Still working on this step.
b. Keep track of checkbook with some kind of computerized tool: He has been using the "Checkbook - Spending, Income, Cashflow, and Account Tracker" app; however, he isn't good about keeping up with it. He often waits until his checking statement comes in before he wants to input anything. We have told him this isn't an effective tool to keeping track of your money. We will continue to push this issue because this is important. Still working on this step.
c. Scholarship research/plan to pay for college: S needs to continue to research scholarship opportunities and apply for as many scholarship as possible. He knows that the more scholarship money he receives then the less he has to pay for himself. He has money set aside for college. He knows that whatever is left when he is done with school is his money to start his adult life with. That is incentive to look for scholarships and find affordable schooling. He has been looking up opportunities this past month. Just need to get his search efforts organized. Still working on this step.
d. Start paying for own things: We want S to be aware of the cost of "things" in life whether it is clothing, toiletries, food, insurance co-pays, etc. He has to know how to conduct transactions in the store. Because of his limited fine motor skills, signing for purchases is a little more difficult. He has to know how he will handle these situations. He knows that cash is much easier for him. Still working on this step.
e. Make co-pays: This was a pertinent goal when he was going to PT every week. He knows that he has to pay co-pays at different providers; however, it's a non-issue for him right now. All of his other medical care is at military medical centers, so there aren't any co-pays. Still working on this step.
f. Budget: He knows what a budget is, and he doesn't spend much money. We feel strongly that he needs to start a budget when life is simple, so his first attempt at budgeting isn't when he's out on his own in the real world and completely overwhelmed. This will definitely be put into practice this year as he has recently finished the "Foundations in Personal Finance" by Dave Ramsey. To help him with his budget, my husband and I have an automatic deposit into his account every month to help cover clothing, toiletries, and medication expenses. This way he has real money to cover real expenses. We are going to have him start purchasing some groceries, so he is aware of the costs associated with eating and it will help him to develop a menu for himself. Still working on this step.
g. Search summer jobs/volunteer opportunities: In the summer of 2013, we told S that he didn't get to live a life of leisure. He was going to do something productive. He found a volunteer position at the Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe. This is valuable experience for him. He is volunteering as a Greeter, and he has many opportunities available there. He has volunteered there since 2013. He would like to get a paying job next year after he graduates. For now, volunteering is fine. It's been a good opportunity for him to do something that interests him, send in times/dates for a schedule, have to respond to a supervisor, etc. He has met some very nice people there. DONE!! In the spring, we will revisit this category.
i. Applying for SSI: This is a bone of contention for S. It was addressed by his DARS counselor to apply for SSI to help with living expenses while he is attending college. With his limited understanding of the program, he has no desire to apply for SSI. He doesn't want to receive money from the government. He doesn't want to receive money because he has a disability. He doesn't want the government dictating what he can and can't have. We told him if he doesn't apply, the answer is definitely no. He might still be denied SSI if he applies. Ultimately, it will be up to him. The recommendation was to apply once he turned 18. He is there now. We will see. Still working on this step.
S knows that if he can keep his finances in order, no matter how big or small, he will be successful and eliminate a lot of stress in his life.