Financial concepts to know before college

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Three key concepts I wish I understood before entering college

Budgeting

The concept of budgeting may be an easy one for many people to grasp, but adults to this day still don’t understand how to budget and still have no idea where their money is going.
In college, I am constantly dealing with controlling my budget. I didn’t realize how important it was until my sophomore year of college. Between having to pay for food, entertainment, and social activities, I would turn around and end up being broke by the weekend. This cycle continued on for a couple of weeks until I realized that I had to start budgeting my money. So I finally decided to create a budget and download this magic app called Mint, by Intuit. I linked all of my bank accounts to it and it showed me what I was spending my money on and if I was over-spending. This app helped me manage my money and it showed me my spending habits. If only they taught me the correct ways to budget in school, I could have avoided all those weeks with seeing a big fat zero in my bank account.

Credit and Debit Cards

Teaching kids about these two very important cards at an early age can drastically benefit them for the future. It can teach them to not only spend responsibly, but also provide an understanding of the meaning behind each card. I received my first debit and credit card at the age of about 17 years old, but did not really know what the difference was between the two. To me, they were just cards that could buy things, and I didn’t really know the meaning or difference between the two. I had no idea what a credit score was, except the fact that there were many commercials about it. However, as soon as I learned about credit scores and the difference between the two cards, my life changed for the better. Knowing all of this helped me pay off my credit card debt in full and on time. Understanding something this simple at a young age will help gear kids towards financial success.

Saving

Saving goes hand-in-hand with both budgeting and investing, and is equally important. At a young age, saving every penny and dime may not seem like a lot, but it will increase their wealth for the future. Even buying a penny jar or a piggy bank for your children will help them save money. Many kids are huge spenders and don’t understand the value of money. They look at money like it’s a bottomless object that can be found in their parents pockets. Enhancing their knowledge of saving at a young age will truly set them up for their future.

Ryan Ding

Ryan Ding is a senior pursuing a bachelors degree in Finance at California State University, Chico. He wants to pursue a career in the financial services industry and wishes to become a successful investor.

Ryan lives in the Bay Area. Some of his hobbies include traveling, playing sports and hanging out with his friends.