If any of you are hitting high school and/or college this week, this post is for you. If you’re a dinosaur like me and that ship has long sailed, don’t worry, you’ll still need to pay attention for your future kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. We’ll never stop learning and teaching :)
Here’s the email that came in, followed by my response below it:
I’ve just about made it through college and am about to start my senior year! I’ve had a fun time at school and still have a good size chunk of change in the bank, something that makes me think I’ve got this whole money thing down pretty well.
I’ve been thinking lately about my money and what led me to do so well. I’d have to say it boils down to three skills for me, if you can call them that. They are:
- The discipline to save 10% of everything I made for emergencies
- The discipline to give 10% of everything I made to those less fortunate
- Being able to distinguish (most of the time) between wants and needs
With school just about to start back up, I was wondering what’s your take on the top three personal finance skills you would recommend that college students try to master?
Hey man, congrats! Just the fact you’re *thinking* of money in college is pretty amazing to be honest with you. It took me like 5 years after to start ;)
I think during all schooling the most important part is just getting into the habit of tracking where all your money goes – both in and out – and getting a good rhythm down so that when you get your first “real” job and start making tons more you’ll already know what to do. And really whether you make $300/mo or $300,000 a month, it’s all the same for managing. So keep paying attention and working on those %’s with what goes where so as your $ scales it’ll continue being easy and smooth for ya.
Other than that, make sure to have FUN and soak up the entire experiences of school too because socializing and networking
can be is just as important in general life. Once it’s all over you’re plopped into a sea of old farts like me for the rest of your life and you’ll soon realize how good you had it ;) Albeit with much smoother networking skills.
So keep it up! You’re already ahead of 90% of your peers.
What 3 personal finance skills do you guys think are important? I obviously went a little off track from the reader’s original question :)
Photo by NazarethCollege
Killer resources and apps:
- Best Budget Templates & Spreadsheets (FREE)— The best free budget templates from around the community! Including the ones I use :)
- Personal Capital* (FREE) — A great app to track your investments and net worth. You can see an in-depth review we did here from a millionaire who checks it daily 😂
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)* (FREE TRIAL, then $14.99/mo or $98.99/year) — One of the BEST budgeting methods in the space, with new users saving $600 on avg their first two months, and more than $6,000 over their first year! Check out my friend Vic’s review of YNAB here that went on to completely change his finances 💪
- Digit (FREE 6 mo. Trial, then $5/mo) — This is one of my favorite apps for automatically saving money, and I even came on board as an advisor I believed in them so much! You can see my full review on Digit here.
- Acorns* ($3-$5/mo) – Similar to Digit, this app helps you automatically INVEST money by rounding up all your transactions to the nearest dollar and then investing it right away for you. My full review of Acorns can be found here.
- Honey (FREE) — By far my favorite coupon service out there! Click the Honey button any time you're about to buy something online, and BOOM - any discounts it finds will be automatically applied at checkout. You can see my write up on them here.
- Credit Karma* (FREE) — An easy way to check and monitor your credit score AND report! See my full review of these guys here.
- My Favorite Blogs + Books < -- Click here to see all my other recommendations!