Did you know? The estimated total amount of U.S. consumer debt today: $2.5 trillion The percentage of undergraduate students with at least one credit card: 78% The average credit card debt for these students: $2,748 The average interest rate for a student credit card: 14.57% Sources: Federal Reserve, NellieMae, and IndexCreditCards.com
In this session Knowing where your money goes Distinguishing between needs and wants Minimizing debt Investing in your future Keeping good financial records
Establishing a spending plan Determine your expected monthly income from all sources, including: –Financial aid (paid directly to you) –Wages (after tax, take home pay) –Family contributions
Establishing a spending plan Determine your expected monthly expenses: –Housing –Food –Loan/credit card payments –Savings –Utilities –Transportation –Other
Average monthly living expenses Source: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Clothing 5.2% Housing/Utilities 33.2% Healthcare 2.5% Transportation 20.1% Education 4.5% Entertainment 4.8% Charity 2.2% Food 13.9% Misc. 5.5% Insurance/Pension 8.1%
Know where your money goes Keep a daily spending diary. Use a monthly payment calendar to be sure you are able to cover your expenses as they are due. Use a computer program to help you track income and expenses.
Getting organized Organize your financial records and keep copies of important documents. –Receipts –Bank account records –School transcripts –Pay stubs –Insurance forms –Investment logs –Loan documents –Tax returns –Legal decrees
Comparing needs and wants Needs Food Housing Utilities Tuition Books Clothes Child care Transportation Wants Eating out Cable TV MP3 player Vacation Movies/music Video games Wireless Internet
Following through with your plan It’s not difficult to distinguish wants from needs. The difficulty comes in sticking with your plan and resisting the temptation of unnecessary spending. Short-term sacrifices can bring long-term rewards.
Ways to reduce expenses Get a roommate. Shop at thrift stores. Use discount coupons. Go to matinee movies. Use public transportation.
Ways to reduce expenses Eat meals at home. Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. Cancel your gym membership. Wait for sales and avoid impulse purchases. Find free stuff.
Ways to increase income Take advantage of all types of financial aid. Get a part-time job. Ask for practical birthday/holiday presents, such as: –Household items –Phone cards –Gift cards to school bookstores
“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.” — Mad Magazine
Borrow conservatively Don’t automatically borrow the full amount offered to you. Consider your earning potential — total student loan debt should be less than or equal to your starting annual salary after graduation. Use student loans for educational expenses only.
Borrow conservatively Look for other types of financial aid, such as grants and scholarships. Take advantage of the federal student loan programs before considering private education loans to take advantage of lower interest rates and better borrower benefits.
Undergraduate credit card behavior Percentage of undergraduates who have a credit card = 78% Average credit card balance for undergraduates = $2,748 Percentage of undergraduates who have credit card balances between $3,000 and $7,000 = 16% Source: Nellie Mae, “Undergraduate Students and Credit Cards,” May 2005
Whenever you can, try to pay more than the minimum payment due for your credit card. If you have a $2,000 balance at a 14% interest rate — and make the minimum monthly payment (2% of the total balance) — it will take you more than 14 years to pay off that debt plus the interest. Pay more than the minimum
Credit card strategies Limit yourself to one credit card for emergencies and to establish a good credit history. Understand all credit card terms. Know applicable fees and interest rates. Pay off your balance every month.
Beware of credit card fees Annual fee Cash advance fee Balance transfer fee Late payment fee Over the credit limit fee Credit limit increase fee Set up fee Return item fee Other fees Source: www.federalreserve.gov
What to do if you fall behind on your credit card payments Cut recreational expenses. Call the credit card company (they may be willing to work out a repayment schedule). Develop and stick to a spending plan. Consider credit counseling services.
Maintain bank accounts Use both checking and savings accounts. Balance your checkbook regularly. –Deduct bank fees and service charges –Add interest earned –Keep track of your balance with online bank services Compare your checkbook to your monthly statement.
Check your bank balance frequently Know that debit card expenses and ATM withdrawals are deducted from your account the same day. Remember to have sufficient funds in your account when automatic payments are scheduled.
Important financial records Remember to keep copies of: Paid bills for the last three months Paystubs and W-2s for tax filing Car insurance paperwork, repair receipts, and registration All bank statements, either paper or electronic
Get into the habit Write down all of your expenses including ATM withdrawals and upcoming automatic payments. Balance your accounts every month.
Tools can make it easier Keep a filing box handy for receipts and other financial documents. Organize categories with labeled folders. If you bank online, keep electronic copies of monthly statements. At the end of each year, store the past year’s documents in an envelope and file them away.
Questions? This presentation is available for download at www.tgslc.org/tgconference.