The new year is merely days away, and resolutions abound. Fox Business has compiled a list of recommendations for college students as they struggle with finances, studies and career goals.
- Consider Student Loans
Student loan debt can be paralyzing. It’s important to know the specific policies of the loans and repayment terms.
Shelley Solheim of CapitalOne explained: “One thing most loans have in common is that you must be in school at least half-time to be eligible. If your class load falls under half of a full time load, you will have to start repaying the money immediately.”
Vincent Turner of PlanWise added: “Go over federal and private loan clauses with a parent- do all the research you can before making a big purchase, and understand to the best of your ability how it will impact your future.”
- Saving is a top priority
Solheim states that although saving in college is hard, it is important to set realistic saving goals every year.
“If you find yourself reaching this goal in January and February, bump the amount up by 10%,” she suggests. “If you tend to spend money just because it’s in your pocket, don’t allow yourself to carry around more than is necessary- put saving at the top of your to-do list every month.”
Setting up an auto-deposit is a great way to boost your savings account without really ‘missing’ the money at the end of each month.
- Build good credit
Strong credit scores will enable graduates to make big purchases, such as a house or a car. A great way to get started is by paying the bills on time.
“Setting up online billing payment for your monthly bills might help you keep track of paying your bills. If you don’t pay your bills on time, you’ll end up paying more than you owe because of the late fees and finance charges.”
Kimberly Foss of Empyrion Wealth Management adds, “Piggyback on your parents’ card to establish credit with them, convert your cell phone bill from your parents to your name to help build credit history, apply for a credit card on your own and use it to build credit, but always pay it off entirely- on time every time.”
- Increase Your Financial Knowledge
Learn the basics of investment, budgeting and personal financing now, to avoid big mistakes later.
“The earlier you start contributing to an account, the more you’ll end up with when you retire, thanks to compounding interest,” explains Scott Gamm of HelpSaveMyDollars. “Even if you can only contribute $30 per month, that will still make a huge impact.”
Solheim adds, “The best way to build wealth is to make your money work for you. Stocks, bonds and mutual funds are all common investments that can build wealth over the long-term.”