For a number of college graduates who have just entered the career or job markets, many of them are already strapped with debt from their 4 years they spent earning their degree (or student credit cards). The average college graduate today launch their careers with literally no cash flow and during college nobody had an investing 101 course to put them on the right track. This is due to a number of circumstances including the following:
- credit card debt
- no money saved while in college
- school loans which become due once you have graduated
Not only is this lack of personal finance knowledge already widespread problem, its growing rapidly. Additionally, during economic downturns like the current one we have been experiencing, this makes finding a job and launching your career even more difficult.
Changing the current mentality is critical
It should be obvious that changing the above involves changing the overall mentality of those students who are entering college so that this process can be reversed. Although it is easier said than done, the only way to correct this is to save money while you are in college rather than spending your way through your education. Additionally, and if you do things right, you might be able to do some investing towards your own future in the process.
Flexibility is the key when you are starting out
What you want to remember where investing for a college student is concerned is that you need to be flexible with the different investments you decide to make. It’s a given that most college students today like flexibility where saving any money is concerned. This is especially the case because of the extreme cost levels of an education that currently exist. Fortunately, banks and other financial institutions have recognized the necessity of offering financial products that are flexible enough to accommodate a college student.
4 essential investment strategies for the college student
The following is a list of the 4 primary recommendations that we advise where college students and investing towards, their future is concerned:
Open an interest-bearing checking account – this is by far the most flexible type of account you can open if you can qualify for one. If there are none available in your area try an online bank like ING DIrect (see our ING Direct review for more info) It allows you to deposit or withdraw your funds any time you want so your account is readily accessible.
Open a savings account – despite the fact that most standard savings accounts today are only paying 1% to 3% interest, this is still a smart and very safe idea for what to do with your money. There is virtually no risk of losing your money and if you keep depositing money without ever withdrawing any, you will be surprised at how that small interest rate has increased the value of your investments.
Consider either a CD or a Money-Market account (the Ally Bank Raise Your Rate CD is a great one) although not every entry level college student has the financial means to do this, those who do have the means to do so should consider this. Just like with a standard savings account, if you can discipline yourself well enough so that you never touch these while you are pursuing your degree, you will be amazed at the rewards that will be waiting for you when you finish college.