If you are a college student, chances are you’re financially illiterate

Adriana Lara

April is Financial Literacy Month, but if you are a college student, chances are you’re financially illiterate. But “adulting” is a buzzword that, one way or another, we have all come across. Saving is part of Adulting 101 and we all need to learn how to do it.

College students are still learning how to manage money. We are used to spending money often and not saving, and the word “invest” rarely crosses our minds when we are just barely paying rent each month. However, young adults need to familiarize themselves with personal finance so they don’t suffer from its consequences.

Though it seems a long way off, saving and investing our money is imperative to retirement. The key to a good plan is to start early and think ahead. Social security helps, but since there are more people retiring than working, retirement funds are running scarce. Our generation will have to rely on our personal savings and investments for retirement.

One of the main reasons young people don’t invest money is that they feel that they need it in that moment. Dr. Robert Duvic, a distinguished senior lecturer in the department of finance, explained that, “If you lose 100 dollars you’re in agony, but 100 dollars in 40 years doesn’t exist for you. You don’t think about it. It is not there.”

Young adults, especially students, tend to think more about the short run than the long run. However, what we do in the short run has a much greater influence on the long run than we realize.

We can help our future selves by minimizing daily expenses. For instance, instead of paying for everything with your card, experts recommend withdrawing a set amount of cash to spend every day. That way, you can see how much are you using.

Dr. Duvic says another way students can build their future is by investing, particularly by using mutual funds. Programs funded by shareholders such as fidelity, which he recommends for young adults, can help you start investing in a mortgage or retirement thanks to their generate compound interest. Other perks of investing your money in mutual funds include not having to pay taxes on that specific interest and not having to keep investing every year to generate money. Students can start saving now — several employers such as UT will even match the money you invest.

With adulthood fast approaching, it is imperative to take initiative and care for our future selves. We can’t control what the government does, but we can manage ourselves. Think ahead, plan it out, don’t generate more debt than you need by budgeting and not spending more than what you earn, and invest in your future.

Just like you are investing in your education for a better future, save money, invest it and make more money out of it.

Lara is an arts and entertainment technologies sophomore from Mexico City, Mexico. Follow her on Twitter @adrilandd.