Financial Literacy: Save Now or

Wait Until Later?

By Ashley Moreda

Posted on October 19 2017 at 12:23 PM PDT

Photo via Black Enterprise

Photo via Black Enterprise

Money. It’s why many people attend college. But are finances something students should be worrying about now, or once they actually get that job they have been striving for? With students racking up debt with little to no income, planning in advance certainly seems like a daunting task, especially for retirement. According to Joshua Bolkon’s article on Student Loan Debt, “The average balance on student loans is $34,144.” Statistics show that students owe $1.4 trillion in student loans in the United States, reported by Student Loan Hero.

Corey Hayashi, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, shares some of the biggest mistakes that he sees college students make with their finances and gives some recommendations how to achieve financial literacy.

The first thing he mentions is Credit Cards. They are one of the first money suckers that students can get themselves trapped in. Mr. Hayashi recommends shopping around for a card and to not get blinded by perks that offer iTunes rewards or tickets. “Many times students don’t know interest rates, which adds debt,” he explains, “it’s important to shop around.”

Another place college students forget to shop around, is with their student loans. There may be better rates or fee waivers out there, and this can vary between school years. From year to year you might find a better student loan with a different company.

Mistakes regarding student loans also fall on the student’s understanding of their loan’s terms. It’s imperative to keep track of them and understand when payments are due while in school or after graduation.

Other things students should stay away from are flashy things like bitcoin. Also, be careful of financial creditors. You should always read the fine print and do your own homework when taking out a loan.

There may be some students who have college funds that were set aside for them through a family member. A huge mistake is blowing that money on material items and eating out. Corey recommends talking with a financial advisor or expert on how you should handle that money, especially if students are the owner of a custodial account. A custodial account can be used for college funding, however unlike accounts that are required to only go toward college tuition, people have the freedom to use custodial account money toward anything they please, which can be dangerous if they don’t spend wisely.

For those who might not have money set aside for college, one of Corey’s biggest recommendations is to, “never stop looking for financial aid.” FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is not the final word, and students can apply every year. There are also many scholarship opportunities options out there, Fastweb is just one place you can look for one. It’s free money, why not?!

When it comes to savings and retirement, often students have part time jobs which don’t provide 401K, but if students were interested in saving for their retirement now, they can start a ROTH IRA.

If someone at 20 years old were to put away $1,000 a year, roughly $83.36 a month, at a 7% return they would have saved $329,224 by the age of 67.

If someone put away the same starting at age 30, they will have only saved $94,460 saved. That’s a $234,764 difference!

You may want to think twice about waiting to save for your retirement.

If you’d like to delve further into educating yourself regarding your finances, feel free to check out The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. If books aren’t your thing, try a podcast such as “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer, or “Fast Money.”

If you want to start stashing your pennies the new fashioned way, there’s an app for that. Acorns.com will do all the work for you by rounding your purchases up to the nearest dollar. You wouldn’t even have to think about it.

Dominican students are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid office. They are a great resource to review options pertaining to each student’s different situation.

So what should students truly be worried about when it comes to securing a financial future? A few less lattes might make a difference, but putting in the effort is really going to make the difference for your financial literacy.