Give you information about the keys to financial success. At the end of the program will be resources you can use to help you achieve the keys to financial success.
- Have a Plan for Your Money
- Organize Your Financial Life
- Manage Credit Wisely
- Manage Credit Wisely, Part 2
- Invest in Yourself
Have a Plan for Your Money
Steps to Success - The 2 most important things you can do to start on the path to financial success are to Set Financial Goals & Create a Spending Plan.
Setting Financial Goals - Setting financial goals can help you: Not Miss Out on Opportunities, such as studying abroad, because you don't have enough money set aside; Help You Achieve Larger Life Goals, such as buying a house, buying a car, or going to graduate school; and Control Spending because without goals, daily spending on unimportant things can keep you from achieving the really important things in life.
Using a Spending Plan - To be financially successful, you must live within your means, which means spending your money wisely. Having s spending plan can help you: Identify money you can save and money you can spend; Shows if you do not have enough income; and Helps you determine where to cut back in certain areas.
Stick to a Spending Plan - When trying to stick to a spending plan, the biggest thing is to determine your wants vs. your needs. For example,coffee may be a NEED, but having a $5 latte every morning is a WANT. There are almost also less expensive options for your wants, such as coffee you brew at home.
Other Ways to Stick to a Spending Plan - Two other things you should do when trying to stick to a budget include: Avoid Impulse Buying - When shopping, make a list and stick with it to prevent you from buying things just because they are new or on sale and Think About Major Purchases - Consider major purchases for at least a week before buying to give you time to determine if you really want it or need it.
Real UNL Student Story:
"I felt like my financial life was out of control - I didn't know where all my money went. I also couldn't even seem to save any money. I started to control my impulsive spending by determining what I really needed to purchase and what I really only "wanted." I then gained greater control over my spending and saving by using a spending plan and setting financial goals. When I'm out shopping and deciding if I really want to spend money on something, I think about my financial goals and it helps curb the urge to splurge."
Organize Your Financial Life
Create a Filing System - The best way to start organizing your financial life is to create a simple filing system to store all your financial documents. Example filing categories include: Auto, Credit Cards, Loans, Student Loans, Banking Account Statements, etc. It's also important to know how long to keep documents.
Use Banking Services Effectively - Be sure to keep accurate records - Reconcile your statements monthly to help you avoid overdrafts! Take advantage of any helpful tools your financial institution offers, such as online banking, direct deposit, and Smart Phone apps.
Read Your Account Contracts - You need to know about fees you may be charged, such as: Overdraft fees (Ex. $35 per day for up to 4 items); Fees if you don?t transfer from checking to savings so often; Fees if you transfer from savings to checking too often; Fees for using another bank?s ATM; Charges for Cashiers? checks and money orders; and Fees for International transactions (usually around 3%).
Eliminate Financial Catastrophe - Make sure you have adequate health, dental, vision, and auto insurance to cover the potential for large expenses. Renter's insurance is also a good idea - it will cover what you bring to the dorms.
Prevent Identity Theft - Identity theft costs victims time and money. Be proactive about preventing identity theft by copying the front & back of all your credit and debit cards and keep the copies in a safe location. You will have all the customer care numbers available in case you need to cancel the card ASAP. If you do lose a card, notify the card issuer immediately. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized withdrawals if it is reported missing before any transactions are made. If you report the loss within two business days you will not be responsible for more than $50. Report the loss after two business days and you are held accountable for up to $500.
Real UNL Student Story:
"I've had two major financial catastrophe happen to me - I got my identity stolen and didn't have car insurance when I was involved in an accident. The identity theft was a mess - it tool me about a month to get everything in order and cost be around $200. Not having car insurance was an even bigger mistake. It cost me over $1,000. In hindsight, I wish I would have been more proactive about managing my finances. I would have saved myself so much time and money."
Manage Credit Wisely
Understand the Importance of Credit Management - The most important thing to understand is your credit management habits will affect your credit score. People with low credit scores will pay more for: Health/Dental/Vision Insurance, Car loans, Car insurance, Mortgages, Rent. Low credit scores can prevent you from: Getting an apartment and, in some cases, getting a job. Credit scores are an indicator of how responsible you are.
Good Reasons for Using Credit - Credit includes credit cards, store credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, mortgages, and student loans. There are good reasons for using credit: The use of credit will create value in your life, such as student loans; You will be able to use credit to live within your means; You want to build up your credit score because you would like to be able to use credit in the future for large purchases, such as mortgages.
Choosing a Credit Card - Here are some key tips for finding a credit card: Find a credit card with a low APR (annual percentage rate), which is the interest rate or the amount you are charged to borrow money; Investigate low ?teaser? interest rates before signing the contract and know when the introductory rate expires and what happens when it does; Limit the number of cards you have - Financial experts often suggest having no more than two or three credit cards ? including store credit cards.
More Important Credit Management Tip - The most important thing to do when managing credit cards is to PAY THE BALANCE in full each month. This will prevent you from wasting money on interest payments.
Real UNL Student Story:
"I got a credit card my freshman year and it was not a good idea. I used it to buy stuff I couldn't afford. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I tried not to think about the bills lying on my desk. Eventually I could barely make the minimum payment and had to ask my parents to bail me out. They were disappointed in me, that I was in debt that much. My advice to other students is to only use credit cards if you can pay off the bill in full each month. Otherwise, stick to cash. And before you buy something, really try to determine if you need it. All the stuff I bought my freshman year is sitting in my garage. I can't even sell it - nobody wants it."
Manage Credit Wisely, Part 2
Following are the key things you can do to manage credit wisely and build a good credit score:
NOTE: Realize that credit scores DON?T just include credit cards ? Rent, Utilities, Student loans, Auto loans, Personal loans
Pay bills on time
Only use 30% of credit available
If you have been managing credit for a short time, don?t open a lot of new accounts too rapidly
Once you have an account opened, leave it open to maintain a long account history
Know that installment type loans raise scores - Auto loans, Student loans, Personal loans, Mortgages
Real UNL Student Story:
"I forgot to pay my credit card bill a couple months in a row. Then I needed to get a new car because my old car died and no one would give me a loan because my credit score had dropped so low. I finally found a bank that would give me the loan, but the interest rate was so high, I ended up wasting so much money just to borrow money. I just wish I had paid those bills on time."
Invest in Yourself
Understand the Difference Between Good Debt vs. Bad Debt - Good Debt is investment debt that creates value in your life, such as student loans & mortgages. An example of Bad Debt is purchasing disposable items or durable goods using high-interest credit cards and not paying the balance in full.
Research Your Potential Career Field - Know the potential starting salary and outlook for jobs in your chosen career field. This can help you when you are setting financial goals and determining how much debt to take on while you're at UNL.
Become a Desirable Employee - Work to build your marketable skills (the skills your potential employers desire), leadership skills & work experience through internships, campus leadership positions in student organizations, and part-time employment.
Become Financially Savvy - Before graduating, gain knowledge about the following financial topics: Choosing employee benefits; Renting vs. buying a home; Auto loans & mortgages; Cost of living in different cities; Creating an investment plan; Importance of saving early for retirement.
Real UNL Student Story:
"I learned what a 401K was while I was in college. Once I got my first job offer, the first thing I asked about was my company's 401K. I knew it was important that I started contributing to it as soon as I could so I could get my employer's match, which is free money."
To learn more about money management, schedule a one-on-one money coaching session at the UNL Student Money Management Center.