Start Your Saving Goals – Before You Even Start Saving
The end of high school is nigh. Beyond the horizon lies opportunities, challenges, and the great unknown. You, on the other hand, are freaking out. You might wonder if you will make enough money while in college or university, if you will be ready for the work world, or how to even start when you still feel like a kid. It is scary, but it is a fright that many people face. There are steps you can take to start thinking of your savings goals now in order to make them happen in the future.
First of all, get thinking! Take an honest look at your current situation. Are you entering the post-secondary world carrying the weight of student loans? Will you be living on campus? Are your parents assisting you in any way? Make a list of all your expenses and calculate how much you will be spending each month. It is important to know the terms of your student loans, how much you have to pay, and for how long. When you have a clear understanding of your financial situation at the moment, it makes it much easier to create realistic and helpful savings goals.
Get banking! If you do not have a chequing and savings account with a bank, register straightaway. Look into online banks, such as Simplii Financial and Tangerine, that offer no-fee accounts and higher interest rates for savings accounts than traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. This way you are keeping track of your money, and taking the first steps with a simple but effective savings method. Getting a no-fee credit card is another crucial step. Yes, the woes of credit card debt are well-known and have many articles written about them. However, using a credit card now will allow you to build a strong credit rating that will help you with future milestones, such as being approved for a mortgage for your first home. By banking and using a credit card, you can keep track of your funds electronically and work towards your goals.
Get working! College and university will keep you busy, but the flexibility of class hours will grant you the flexibility to find part-time work. Even if you are supported by your parents or do not need the money, getting a job will build your experience, get you into the habit of saving part of your income every month, and help you decide the career path you want to traverse. The more experience you have handling income and expenses, the clearer your savings goals will be. You will have a better understanding of how much you should put away for the future, and how much you can spend now on things you want, including vacations and other adventures. Although not saving is problematic, saving without living is even worse.
Finally, think ahead! Talk to financial advisors, family, and friends to get a sense of what budgeting and saving will look like after you are done school. Consider the sort of work you will be looking to do, where you want to live, and the type of life you imagine for yourself. Do you want to buy a car or a house? At what age would you like to retire, if ever? It may seem daunting or impossible to truly answer all these questions. Starting early is the best way to get it right.
Passy, Charles. “7 money moves smart graduates make in their first year after college.” MarketWatch. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-first-year-after-college-7-tips-for-a-better-life-2015-05-20
USA Today College. “5 money moves every college senior should make before graduation.” http://college.usatoday.com/2015/02/05/5-money-moves-every-college-senior-should-make-before-graduation/