In the real world, it’s never too early to build a financial safety net. College students, for example, would benefit greatly from investing in their financial acumen even before they graduate. Since most of them have student loans to pay, they’d do well to learn how to effectively manage their finances. However, repaying debts shouldn’t be the endpoint of their financial goals. They must also learn how to build up a nest egg that will fund their future endeavors — from a small business all the way to their retirement.
Without further ado, here are some of the proven ways college students can start building a nest egg right now:
1. Identify and Live Within Your Means
First things first, you need to stop patronizing needlessly-expensive commodities. Expensive coffee, the latest smartphone, a brand new car — embracing these discretionary expenses into your lifestyle could have crippling effects on your finances in the long road. That said, you need to track every single expense you commit on a monthly basis and shave off the ones you can live without. Leave no stone unturned and also look at old memberships and services you don’t really need.
2. Set Financial Goals
For inspiration, set financial goals by concretely visualizing where you want to be in the next 5-10 years.
Ask yourself questions such as:
- Where do I want to live?
- What car do I want to drive?
- Do I want a family within this period?
From there, break down your goals into smaller objectives and try to develop strategies on how to accomplish each of them.
3. Lower Interest Rates on Loans
The mere thought of repaying student loan debts is enough to make college students flinch. The average student loan debt in America is $37,217. This includes loans made on 2 year associates degrees which are much less expensive than a 4 year degree or doctorates. If you are studying for a higher degree such as a masters or doctorate, the student loan amounts skyrocket. With Federal Student Loans having a maximum amount allowed to borrow, many students look to private student loans for help funding their dreams.
The key in looking for private student loans is the interest rate and repayment schedule. Most college students have very little credit history which makes getting a low interest rate difficult. Using a cosigner on your student loan is a great way to lower your interest rate and pay off the debt faster.
4. Seek Multiple Side Hustles
In the digital age, the “follow your passion” advice is more doable than ever. Everything you need to put your talents and skills to use is within reach. For example, art-inclined individuals may take on design work in marketplaces like Upwork and Freelancer. If, however, you think you’re not blessed with many talents you can monetize, there are still a couple of moonlighting opportunities you can consider. Signing up as a driver in a ride-sharing service, for example, is a great option if you own a car. For brilliant hagglers, they can also get their hands dirty in the art of flipping products on eBay.
5. Open an Investment Account
Let’s face it, a savings account is not an investment vehicle and shouldn’t be treated as such. If you haven’t already, try opening an IRA, brokerage, or insurance account with an investment component. Scared of investing? With the help of resources like Investopedia, you can equip yourself with the fundamental knowledge needed to make better investment decisions.
Learning is just one step in a thousand-mile journey. Now that you know the steps on how to build a nest egg as a college student, get out there and apply them. Eventually, you’ll realize that it’s not really that hard to take control of your life. Get out there and dominate!