Financial planning is essential for students

Sarah Rich

Creating a financial plan early on can help students start on the road to monetary success.


Kimberly Suckow, a senior in adult and family services, said to start saving early. Though students may think that long term saving, like retirement, is something to put into a plan today, Suckow said, “[Saving early] creates less headaches in the future.”


According to Jeanna Nation, a financial counselor in the human development and family studies department, creating goals is the first step when planning. Nation said that students need to set short term and long term goals and then incorporate these goals into a budget.


“Even if they seem too far to fathom, list them now, and start building the achievable goals into [the] budget today,” Nation said.


Getting into the habit of budgeting can be difficult, and it may take time, but the most important part after creating the financial plan is commitment. Without commitment, the plan quickly falls through and students are more likely to overspend. Many students are used to spending money as soon as they get it, and this practice is hard to break. There is no shame in starting small and working up to a more concrete budget.


A budget can change with the situation as well. Nation said that the people need to have a realistic budget, stick to it and revise it when necessary so that it is up to date.


“Once their financial situation changes, review the goals and see what else they can build into their monthly savings plan,” Nation said.


Planning for the future can look very different for each person, and not every student budgets the same way. Nation said it is important to talk with others about various ways of planning and budgeting to find out which way works best. Each student will have a different way of planning that is tailored to fit their needs, and there is not one plan that will fit everyone.


Heather Stueven, a junior in event management, said that she budgets by percentages. Stueven said that she begins with the necessities: food and fuel. She then inserts small amounts into her budget to treat herself and for weekly outings. After that, Stueven said that she tries to save the rest of each paycheck.


In addition, Stueven keeps track of her money through an app on her phone, which monitors how much money she has saved. This allows her to see the physical numbers drop so she knows when her spending has reached its limit.


Stueven said future financial stability depends on creating a good sense of  accountability now. “For kids in college, my advice is to practice self control with your money and learn responsibility because you’ll be out in the real world soon,” said Stueven.