The following are steps students can take to avoid common money-management mistakes and build financial literacy for success after graduation. These steps, and more financial-literacy ideas, can be found at www.wallethub.com.
A good credit score will save you thousands of dollars per year on loans, lines of credit and insurance premiums. It may even help you land your dream job or lease a new car. And two of the keys to building a good credit score are making on-time payments and establishing a long track record of responsible borrowing.
- Credit cards report information to the major credit bureaus every month even when you don’t make any purchases. And while you may build credit faster by making purchases and paying them off by the end of the month, overspending and missing payments is counterproductive. So if you don’t trust yourself to spend responsibly with plastic, give your card to your parents for safekeeping. You could even cut it up. Just make sure to save your account number in case you need to call customer service.
- If you combine credit card use with a well-defined budget while in college, you’ll be well ahead of the curve. Only two in five consumers have a budget, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and that’s one of the main reasons why credit card debt levels are so high. To learn how to take this important step, check out WalletHub’s step-by-step guide on how to make a great budget.
- Most colleges and universities offer financial literacy resources of some sort. For example, there might be a personal finance class you can take, a money-management help center you can visit or online educational materials to peruse. Find out and soak up as much information as you can, especially if it will fulfill a curriculum requirement. Because unlike much of what you’ll learn in college, financial skills translate directly to everyday life.
- Taking out a bunch of student loans might not seem like a big deal now, considering how long you’ll have to pay them off. But too few students truly consider how big of a burden they can wind up being. Student debt increases the pressure to find a job and can delay major life events such as buying a home, getting married or starting a family.
No one wants to be paying off education debt into their 40s, which is all too common these days. So, try to supplement your tuition money with scholarships, grants and work experience. This will also give your resume a boost.
- Understanding how to manage money is an invaluable life skill. And you probably won’t learn much about in school. So, you’ll have to take things into your own hands. To get a sense of your current knowledge level and the areas where you can improve the most, get your WalletLiteracy Score.