The Road to Financial Success in College

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Emily Cowal ’12 and Emily Goldberg ’12
Web A&E Editor and Web Sports Editor

On May 20, Elizabeth Cox, certified financial planner came to Staples High School in order to stress the fact that it is crucial to be able to manage ones money and not fall into the many traps that credit card and student loan companies set up primarily for college students. Cox attended Middlebury College and went to graduate school at Columbia University. At Columbia Cox received her master’s degree in international finance. The presentation discussed the five key points to achieving financial health.

1. Don’t delegate financial decisions to others

Taking control of an individual’s financial health can be compared to managing hygiene. Cox reminded students that they wouldn’t let someone else brush their teeth; similar to the way they shouldn’t let someone else manage their finances. Students need to know what is happening with their money. Cox stated this is even true when a person gets married; they should not just assume their spouse will take care of all the family finances.

2. Know your money values

Money means something different to each person. “To me money is a piece of mind, and a sense of security,” said Cox. After realizing what one’s value of money is, it makes it easier to decide how to spend his or her money.

3. Beware of credit card trap

While most students believe having a credit card in college is a benefit, it often has negative effects. Yes, with a credit card anything can be purchased at anytime, although, that money must be paid back with interest rates reaching 25 percent or more. People today are spending more money than they actually have by using credit cards.

4. Beware of student loan debt trap

Cox believes every student should be able go to college and receive an education, even if this means taking out a student loan. However, it is vital to have the ability to pay off that loan. The idea is “connecting the numbers to your style of living,” said Cox. For example if a student is paying off a recent loan, he or she should not be going out for dinner every night. Instead the student should save that money whether it be in a bank account or a simple piggy bank in order to responsibly pay back the money they owe.

5. Creating saving and spending plan

There are multiple ways to save money and be successful when managing finances. Cox offered numerous tips such as: Don’t carry around a lot of cash, don’t buy items just because there on sale, and pay bills on time to avoid late fees as well as bad credit rating. Another extremely simple yet effective strategy she suggested to save money is by not purchasing a cup of coffee every day. This method results in saving close to $120,000 over 25 years.

These five points should be utilized by all ages and income levels, especially young adults new to managing their own finances. College students should refer to these tips regularly in order to be financially successful.