College Student Money Mistakes

As my oldest son, and college student, is finishing his second year of college I am always aware of the mistakes that he could have made. To his and his parent’s credit he hasn’t made any yet.

This article by Jeremy Vohwinkle came out last summer but the principles are timeless in the day and age of ever increasing college debt. It seems costs will increase as long as they are able–until consumers stop buying.

The executive summary of Jeremy’s article:

1. Find an inexpensive or affordable college. The more you save and invest for college, the more colleges will be affordable. If you are worrying about trying to get college aid and tuition assistance, it may be too late for many colleges. Save early, save often if college is a priority for your family. Don’t put your retirement savings on hold for college expenses. After all, they are not your expenses. A 529 plan is not a retirement account and vice versa.

2. Have a budget. This can be hard, but it is necessary for many students. Budgeting can be taught throughout childhood. A bank account should be given early. Saving and giving should be taught very early. When part time money comes in, teach your student to plan ahead and give, save, and spend with forethought. When college income and expenses arise, spending within their means will be second nature.

3. Avoid college debt as long as possible. This is possible. I’ve got more in this blog on college debt.

4. Be careful with credit cards. Credit cards can be avoided for a very long time. Credit is a tool that is misused by many.

5. By avoiding loans and credit cards, you can easily avoid the last problem–poor credit scores.

Do good in your training, Dan