Marco Punzo-Academic Research and Writing. Financial health and literacy suggestions for Concordia students with links to articles and podcasts.

Financially Successful Now!

High school and college are meant to prepare students for adulthood, but this preparation often forgets the most important aspect of adulthood: our financial literacy. 

No matter the career, we need to know how to fill out W-4 forms correctly and how to balance our accounts.  Young adults who are just becoming independent are expected to make big-time money decisions for our futures, yet we lack knowledge of even the most basic financial skills. 

Solution? Require high school and college students to participate in a formal financial literacy program for everyday finances, investing and saving. I participated in this type of program in high school, and it is changing my present and future financial health. 

Why We Should Act Now

I learned the three basic rules of financial planning and saving for retirement: act now, be consistent, and seek advice from podcasts like these: Podcasts. While the impulse to save 10% of earnings is a common rule of thumb, most young people can save 30% of earnings and live off of 70%. This is far more beneficial in the long run. 

Remember, changes in advances in healthcare lead to longer life expectancy, which means more money withdrawn from funds such as social security that are supposed to last much longer than they can at our current rates of withdrawal.  The fact that the government may not keep social security funded should act as a wake-up call for high school and college age people to get out there and find a plan for the future. This .gov site explains why: Is Social Security Guaranteed-.gov?

Save Now (yes, right now) For Retirement!

Investing hard-earned money is risky, but usually because people are confused with all the options, so they opt out of many ways to make their lives better that involve some risk at an early age which pays off later in life. Young people often do not understand the advantages of giving into a 401(k) in the first years of their full-time careers. These funds are private, so they cannot run out like government-managed social security. Also, individuals can seek socially and environmentally responsible investments. Read this: Ethically&SociallyResponsibleInvesting

Younger Americans ignore money issues because we do not have access to the necessary education and tools to tackle our finances.  This information can be hard to access, which is why formal financial literacy programs early in life and professional advisors later on are so important.

Savings Next Steps 

Once a high school or college age person has a good savings habit in place and moves into the workplace, finding a professional financial advisor is the best next step to ensure long-term financial success. We might understand a professional financial advisor as the best person to help us succeed on our financial literacy and success journey. Read: Moneyunder30

Professional advisors serve many functions. First, they advise businesses on how to set up appropriate 401(k) plans. Also, they provide investor education to employees eligible to participate in such plans. Finally, they provide advice to investors and entrepreneurs on subjects like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s) (Fisch, 2016). While high fees and conflicts of interest have turned people away from professional advisors in the past, they still offer the best opportunity for long-term financial success (Fisch,2016). 

When trying to find an advisor, remember, the people handling our money have to understand the outcomes we envision, whether it’s saving for retirement or saving for children in the event of a death in the family. Financial advisors get paid when we get paid; they get a percentage of whatever money they make when investing for us. They won’t succeed unless everyone succeeds. This motivation often results in plenty of money for an investor’s future.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that young people need to start learning and planning sooner. Understanding one’s current finances can increase financially prosperous. You can create a system for yourself with just a little online research on how to start early, be consistent and, later, seek advice.   

Start Early: Talk to other students, faculty, advisors, family members, read blogs

Be Consistent: Stick to your plan-go back to your plan 

Be Informed: Talk to a financial advisor and people you trust about how to save

*Warning: before giving anyone personal information, talk to your mentors or family

Bibliography

FISCH, J. E., WILKINSON-RYAN, T., & FIRTH, K. (2016). The Knowledge Gap in Workplace Retirement Investing and the Role of Professional Advisors. Duke Law Journal, 66(3), 633–672. Retrieved from EBSCO.

Farley, Alan. “Why Should I Consider Investing?” Investopedia, Investopedia, 26 Sept. 2019, www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/why-should-i-invest/.              

Gallo, E., & Beacham, S. (2004). ’Tweens, Teens, and Money Dreams. Journal of Financial Planning, 17(8), 24–26. EBSCO

Garcia-Santillan, A., Zamora-Lobato, T., & Ramos-Hernandez, J. J. (2019). Budget Plan to Manage Income and Expenses in College Students: Some Features That Explain It. European Journal of Educational Research, 8(3), 809–826. EBSCO.

Henager, R., & Cude, B. J. (2016). Financial Literacy and Long- and Short-Term Financial Behavior in Different Age Groups. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 27(1), 3–19. Retrieved from EBSCO.

Holland, C. (2002). Keep On Investing. Business & Economic Review, 49(1), 23. EBSCO.

Kennon, Joshua. “Remember the Most Important Rule of Investing.” The Balance, The Balance, 17 July 2019, www.thebalance.com/the-most-important-rule-of-investing-357325.                 

Shagrin, S. S. (2002). Retirement Saving and Financial Planning: Different from a Decade Ago. Generations, 26(2), 40.  EBSCO.