Sunday, August 15, 2010

My College Advice: Two Recommendations

For Generation WI$E readers who are in college (or recently graduated), Karen Blumenthal's college survival guide published in the weekend Journal will be a very interesting read because it touches upon so many different areas - money management, health care and other important issues like buying insurance and dealing with costly textbook purchases.

As a college senior, I have personally experienced many of the hardships in going away to school - especially since I travel over 1,300 miles from home to school each year. Besides the fact that college teaches newly-minted Gen Y's the importance of being responsible, perhaps no other event in life outside of marriage and leaving home for good acts as a springboard towards personal financial independence (or disaster!). The temptations in college to spend frivolously are vast. After all, how many of your friends or family members succumbed to the temptations of independence and spent their semesters staying up late and partying constantly? While the number of college students who party wildly grows each year, the collective financial IQ of the Gen Y's who are going off to college keeps dropping due to a lack of financial education in schools. It's pretty sad, really!

With that said, there are two things I recommend all Gen Y's do when going away to college for the first time in order to teach financial responsibility and discipline:

1). Pay for your education with your own money (at least partially) 2). Work, work, work!

Paying for your own education ensures the necessary buy-in that will make your experience in undergrad a lot more worthwhile. After all, when you own something, you tend to take care of it - the same goes for your education. Secondly, if you get a job while at college, so as long as it doesn't conflict with your studies, you will have money to help pay for school, to spend on whatever you desire after all of your necessary expenses are dealt with, as well as a solid work commitment that will help you learn time management and be prepared for life in the real world. It's said that "there's a time and a place of everything and that place is college!" This is indeed true. The little stepping stones college - educational buy-in, time management and the like - that college offers you are also great ways to prepare you for what's ahead once you graduate and begin your career.

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