Long-term Financial Planning for Students
As a university or college student, you’ve likely got a lot on your mind. However, when you’re looking at your education as a bigger picture, don’t forget to factor in your finances—as tempting as it may be to (not) do so. Many students are already strapped for cash with the increasing costs of tuition and stockpiling student loans. Responsible and long-term planning may help you avoid financial emergencies in the future.
Here are some things to consider when planning your financial future.
A good credit history can help you down the road if you ever want to take out large loans from the bank, or make large purchases such as a car or a home. To start accumulating good credit, you can sign up for a credit card and start using it to pay for your groceries or your textbooks. If you can demonstrate to your bank that you can reliably make your monthly payments—in essence, replace the money you’ve “borrowed” from them each month with your own savings—you’re well on your way to building good credit. Of course, make sure to know your limits: never overspend on your credit card unless you can hold yourself accountable and pay back the money. A lot of people are in debt today because they take advantage of this aspect of the credit card- don’t let that e you.
Setting up a savings account is also a smart idea, particularly if you have a part-time job or some other form of income. Each time you get paid, you can set aside a portion of that money and deposit it into your savings. Depending on the deal you’ve struck with your bank, the amount of money you have in that account may grow (probably slowly) over time. But even if you don’t accumulate growth, having some money set aside for emergencies is still a responsible thing to do. This will also ensure that when you get your paycheque, you don’t spend it all in one place!
Finally, a long-term financial plan is something that should be in the back of your mind as you go through your education. Unfortunately, degrees and diplomas are usually very expensive. Think about how your education is going to be financed (part-time work? student loans? bursaries and scholarships?), not only currently, but in the long run. Furthermore, think about whether you are going to enter the workforce right after graduation and start paying back any borrowed money, or whether you are going to pursue further education, such as graduate or professional schools. These decisions will determine the kind of financial steps you will have to take to ensure you will be able to pay for your schooling.