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5 Ways Parents and Grandparents Can Help College Bound Children, or Children Already in College, Succeed within a New Economic Reality: CNN Interview with Joe Johns and Felicia Joy on Sunday, August 7 at 4pm Eastern

August 7, 2011

Debt crisis. Congressional gridlock. Credit downgrade.

The United States — and in fact, the world community — is experiencing economic and social unrest not seen in generations.  This is creating an overall feeling of uncertainty.  What’s next? Could it get any worse? How can I prepare for the unknown?  These questions and others are swirling around everyday.

We’ve moved beyond a merely “tough economy.”  We are dealing with a new economic reality — one that is here to stay (not the tough times, but the way in which companies are structuring their workforce; employees are going to be increasingly nomadic).  Today (Sunday, August 7), on CNN, I discussed with Joe Johns what parents and grandparents of college bound children (and those currently in college) can do to help their children succeed within this new economic reality.

My advice:

1. Encourage them to start a profitable business while in college.

2. Give them a jumpstart on an investment portfolio by making a down payment on a foreclosed house for them, near their campus, instead of pouring an average $6K to $10K per year into dormitory or apartment housing. They can rent the vacant rooms out to other students.

3. Don’t give them the answers to life’s tests.  Get in the habit of coaching them to think through and solve their own problems.

4. Strongly encourage them to study abroad and connect with students and acquaintances in growing economies like China and South America.

5. Let them know it’s okay, in fact it’s better, to start small: Work at a small business, or event a start-up, upon graduating. These less structured environments will give you a lot more experience so that after one or two calendar years of work you are likely to have four to five years worth of cross functional experience. This will put you ahead of the competition if you decide to go after a big corporate job.

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