Money Management & You
Hi friends! I am here to let you in on a really awesome conversation. Jesse Checkman, the Financial Literacy Coordinator for the Money Management Center, talked to me all about what students can do to get help with adulting and finances. Have you ever used your credit card to buy books only to wonder how you are ever going to pay it off? Have you ever struggled to complete your FAFSA or avoided filling it out altogether because it’s just too scary and overwhelming? Have you ever thought you might need a budget but didn’t know where to start? Below Jesse answers questions about how he can help you with these situations and more.
Why should a student come to the Money Management Center?
Adulting can be hard. Sometimes you need a little bit of help. Part of Jesse’s passion for helping students with money management comes from mistakes he made in his life; he wants to help students avoid those mistakes and plan for a financially secure future.
At the University, you're not expected to know about the subject before taking the class. Jesse and his team feel the same way about money management. Though it feels like one of those things that you should instinctively know how to do, most people need training. The Center is a judgment-free zone. Students can feel comfortable coming in and asking questions, no matter how stupid. Jesse and his team can provide help with many money related topics such as:
- Scholarships/Pell Grants
- Home/Car purchasing
- Credit cards
- Student loans
One of the really cool things Jesse and his team can help you with is having enough money to pay for college. They start by looking at the free money that may be available to you. This includes Pell grants, school-sponsored scholarships, private scholarships, and more. Then, if you need to take out loans, they work through the options smartly with you. Your plan needs to be reevaluated each semester as life changes. At the end of the conversation, you will know exactly what you are getting into 6 months after graduation when you have to start paying back your loans. They can help you be realistic about the salary you will be making to be sure that you can make the payments on the debt that you may be taking on.
What are mistakes that students make in their money management and how can the Money Management Center help?
One of Jesse’s goals is to have all students graduate with no debt or as little debt as possible. Student debt is not a bad thing, but it can get ugly and out of hand fast if you do not have a plan. At the center, students can get help making a plan that takes away the stress that comes with debt. Having a plan can help you to sleep soundly at night. One thing to keep in mind is that there are many more options at the beginning of the semester than there are at the end. Jesse wants to help you to make a plan while you have the most options available to you.
Everyone knows it’s good to have a budget, but it’s hard to know where to start. Or maybe you tried a budget--one that might have worked for your parents--and it just didn’t work for you. Jesse suggests having a real conversation with yourself about how you handle money. Are you a spender, saver, or maybe an investor? Once you have an answer, the Money Management Center can help you find a budgeting tool that you like so that you will actually consistently use it. Finding what works for you will help to avoid many stresses like not knowing if your debit card has enough money to pay for your trip to the grocery store.
Students fall into trouble with credit cards because it is easy to think, “Oh, I will pay that off at the end of the month.” Then Murphy's Law happens--“anything that can go wrong will go wrong”--and you are not able to pay your debt back. So you take out another credit card and start robbing Peter to pay Paul. Eventually, the debt will catch up to you and put you in a bad place. Jesse and his team want to help students avoid this common trap. It is as simple as a 30-minute conversation and teaching you about credit cards and how to stay on top of them.
Not Planning Ahead
Many students start spending in hopes that they can learn as they go. However, they quickly figure out this is not a good plan when they run out of money and find themselves in debt. It would be better to be proactive and go to the Money Management Center and come up with a strategy to meet your future goals such as figuring out how to pay for school, looking into buying a car or even planning for retirement. The earlier you start planning, the better off you will be in the future.
Time To Make An Appointment!
There are lots of ways to sign-up. Do what is comfortable to you!
What an appointment looks like is totally up to you. This can be anything from a quick five-minute conversion to an hour planning session once a week for a month. Jesse and his team want every student to come in as soon as possible to work proactively on things like budgeting and making large purchases. When you come into the center, it will not always be good news that you are receiving. However, the team can help you to make the best of the situation that you are currently in and make a plan of action going forward to the future. They then can help you to re-evaluate this plan each semester as life shifts and changes.
I want to thank Jesse for taking the time to have this conversation with me. I really loved learning more about the Money Management Center and the wonderful ways in which they are helping students. I would like to issue a challenge to myself and you, reader. Let's take a look at our calendars and find a time to meet with Jesse or one of the other amazing staff members at the Money Management Center.
Come back next week to learn from Rachel how to stop procrastinating (it’s going to be a good one ;).
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