What Financial Health Means to Me
How the talk from my parents saved my financial health
By: Alex Minton firstname.lastname@example.org
The summer before my freshmen year of college my parents sat me down and had the talk. Now, as you can imagine, this was just as uncomfortable for them as it was for me. They warned me about all of the urges I was going to feel, and how tempting it would be to give into them with my newfound independence. As I was getting ready to start a new chapter in my life, 472.3 miles from home, they wanted to make sure I was using protection financial protection.
As a rising junior in an urban setting, the urge to splurge is all around me. For instance, from the moment I stepped foot on campus I had credit card companies throwing me shirts left and right if I signed on the dotted line. As tempting as this was, partially because my mother only allowed me to bring 10 t-shirts to college, I remembered my parents’ words of wisdom and kept on walking.
It’s time I strip down and share every dirty detail with you, because if it were not for my parents baring all — I would have ended up in financial turmoil. Here are their financial secrets:
- Cut your check in half. After I got settled into campus I began my work study position and when the first payday rolled around my dad advised me to put half of it in savings. He reminded me that every time you make a dollar, save ten cents for a rainy day. Before I knew it, I had a small stash of cash to cover my spring break trip.
- Nothing is more attractive than a good credit score. When the day came to open my first credit card, I was worried. Suddenly I had a piece of plastic that could fulfill my immediate desires in a single swipe. However, my parents were smart and together we developed a plan of action. I only used the credit card to pay for groceries. I made the minimum payment for the first three months to establish good credit, and from then on immediately paid the bill before the due date. Gradually, my credit score became my number one plug while speed dating.
- Never be afraid to ask for help. My parents advised me that financial counseling resources for college students were at my fingertips, starting at my university’s financial aid office. They recommended us to nonprofits who specialize in developing payment plans for little to no cost, and warned us about the dangers of payday lending. Help is out there, you just have to ask for it.
Overall, maintaining financial health while balancing a full time academic schedule is challenging. According to a report published by the Center for Financial Services Innovation, “Fifty-eight percent of community college students are enrolled in school part-time and 66 percent work more than 20 hours per week” (Garon & Ladha 10). This workload may seem overwhelming, but that is why the CFSI created Financial Health Day. #FinHealthMatters is a nationwide movement which provides support resources for consumers to be financially healthy.
To me, financial health is all about daily dedication to saving for the future, protecting your assets, and always reaching out to a helping hand.
What does financial health mean to you?