Financial Lessons for College Students
Almost 2 million students are expected to graduate this year, and according to some reports, they’ll be entering a very positive job market. Along with many other freedoms graduates will experience once they end their school career, they will also have to manage their own finances, probably for the first time.
Here are five financial lessons graduates will need:
Look into options at different banks. Open an account at the bank that offers no fees, no monthly minimum balance needed, and at least one ATM on campus. Keep track of spending, so that you don’t run out of money and end up with overdraft charges. It’s important to know exactly how much money you have in your account at all times. Almost all banks have website account services now, and you can keep track of your balances simply by logging in to their system online.
The best way to control your spending is to have a budget. Figure out what you need, what expenses you will have, and how you plan to cover those bills. Getting a part-time job can help – even at minimum wage. Working 15 hours a week pays for a lot of extras, and the experience will look good on your résumé when you graduate.
It’s handy to have a credit card for emergencies, but use it only in a real emergency. Getting into debt is never a good idea. It’s easy to get a credit card today, and it can be a good way to build up your credit history. It requires discipline, and if you run up the card and can’t afford to pay it back, it will backfire on you.
Starting your life with a mountain of student loan debt can put a serious damper on your future plans. When you graduate, your income might be higher than someone without a degree, but it’s not going to make you wealthy. Keep your student loan debt as low as possible, or those payments will take a chunk of your salary each month.
Identity theft is the most common type of fraud, and college students are especially vulnerable. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people aged 20 to 29 are among the most frequent victims and account for almost 20% of complaints.
Now that financial information is on your phone, make sure that you keep it secure. Put an app on the phone that lets you log in with a fingerprint, and check that your bank provides alerts for suspicious behavior on your account.
Going to college can be fun, exciting, and give you a sense of independence. Putting these financial lessons into practice will help ensure that you enjoy it all.
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