More About the Money


Over the last few weeks our blogs have been focused on money. We have covered cheap and free things for students and identified ways for you to grow your rainy day fund. While learning to be frugal and save money is an essential skill, the next step is figuring out what to do with all of that money you have saved. Should you keep it all rolled up in a tiny wad in your sock drawer, let it sit in a bank account, invest in assets such as a new car or take it all and put it into stock market? The opportunities to manage your money are endless. Here are some things that you should think about.

What is Your Goal?

Do not save money just for the sake of saving. If you identify short and long term savings goals you are much more likely to take financial action Part of setting those goals is writing them down!! Make a list of what you would like… a new car, a house, money for a trip. Once you have them written down start figuring out how you are going to get there!!

Savings Account (not just a clever name)

Instead of keeping all of your money in one account, open a second savings account. A savings account is a great tool to help track your short term savings goals!! Let’s say you want to take a trip for March break next year and figure out that it will cost you $2500. You simply start putting money into your savings account, trying to reach that goal. When you get to a milestone (enough money for the flight for example) you take the money out and use it immediately. Not only will having a savings account help you reach your goals, by pre-planning the trip you avoid putting it on credit.

Future Retirement

Nobody likes to think about retirement when they are 21. That is however the best times to start thinking about it. Understanding compound interest will help you understand why. This might be a good point to take a deep breath, especially if math is not your thing.

Imagine if you invested 2,000 a year every year and your rate of return was 10% compunded annually.

  • In year one you would  put in $2000. At the end of the year you would earn $200 in interest ($2000 x 10%) leaving you with $2200.
  • In year two you put in another $2000, bringing your total to $4,200. At the end of the year you would earn $420 in interest. ($4000 x 10%)

What is important to see is that in year 2, $20 in interest is earned off of the interest you earned the year before. ($200 x 10%)

This is the concept of compund interest. Essentially you earn interest on interest.

So why does this concept show how important it is to invest at an early age? See the table below outling two different saving scenarios. Continue to assume $2000 per year at 10% rate of return.

  Age (Start Investing) Age (Finish Investing) Total Years Investing Total Personal Investment Final Value of Investments at Age 65
Scenario 1 21 27 7 $14,000 $664,000
Scenario 2 28 65 37 $74,000 $660,000


  • In Scenario 1, you start investing at age 21 and stop completely at age 27. Although you have only put in $14,000, by the time you retire compound interest will have grown your investment to $664,000.
  • In Scenario 2, you wait until you are 28 to start investing and you invest every year until you retire at 65. In this scenario you will have contributed $74,000 and when you retire you will have only grown your investment to $660,000

This shows how important it is for students to start investing in their future today. By starting at 21 years old you can save less but earn more!!

It’s All About the Money, Money, Money

I know all too well the struggles students face with money management. I remember once I had decided to go out with classmates knowing that I was not going to get paid from my part time job for another week. What happened? I ended up spending all of my money and had to go a week with nothing. Luckily I was able to scrounge up enough change to buy 12 buns and a pack of hotdogs to last me the week. Needless to say, that week was not a highlight of my university experience. Eating hotdogs for breakfast was a sobering reminder of how important it is to manage your finances.

For most students one of the biggest obstacles you will face is money, in that you will never have enough. Whether it is for going downtown with your friends or buying groceries, most students feel like they are on the wrong side of the poverty line. So what do you do? The first thing to remember is that we are often the instruments of our own demise. We often spend money without thinking, hoping that we will have more when we need it. Here are some simple steps to help you make sure you always have a rainy day fund when needed.

These are some easy tips to get you started on your money management path. Watch for our blog next week as we continue our discussion.

Turns Out…It is Who you Know!!

When given the opportunity, someone is going to hire someone they know over someone they don’t. It may feel crappy when it happens to you, but if you think about it objectively….of course they hired the person they knew. Let’s be honest, most of us got our first job not through our skill but because the person who hired us knew (or were) our parents.

Hiring people is no fun at the best of times. You have to post your job, get resumes, screen candidates, interview, select and then start all over again if the person does not work out. There are so many unknowns…Will the person fit in?  Are they truly a hard worker? Have they been completely honest? Facing a decision between someone that seems amazing that you do not know at all and someone you know is good… is no decision at all….you go with the person you know.

So as a student what can you do to even the playing field?

Do all of this and you will become the person that was hired because of who you knew. It is is more fun defending why you were hired than complaining about why you were not!!

You and Your Professor….Best Friends?

A professor can be one of the most terrifying people you meet during your university career. After all they are there to judge you and potentially hold your future in their hands. The truth is that most professors are not really all that scary (although there are a few!!). If you look really hard you may just find an ally who is willing to go the extra mile to help you reach your goals.

So how do you turn that unapproachable curmudgeon into your best friend? Here is some helpful information that will forever cement you and your prof as the best of friends.

After taking the above actions, you will now have a friend and ally for the rest of your scholastic career and beyond. Does that mean they should be invited to your next kegger?  Probably not. A few key things that your new friend can help with include…

  • Keeping you updated on opportunities within the school community
  • Providing you with references for your next scholarship application or job interview
  • Introducing you to people in their network that can help you achieve your goals

Now heed the advice doled out by mothers on their children’s first day of school, get out there and make some new friends!!!


Top 5 Apps And Social Platforms To Keep You On Task At School

Okay, there seems to be an app for everything these days. The vast majority of them are very distracting! But, not all of these apps are terrible, some might prove to be very useful. In a sea of apps and websites to choose from we have chosen the best of the best. Inside Higher Ed says, “Citing survey findings and market data, the report found that 38 percent of prospective adult students prefer to study fully or mostly online. That portion remains virtually unchanged since 2006, when 37 percent said they preferred online learning”. While more adult students are studying online, the apps marketplace is slowly customizing educational experiences for high school and college students. Below are our top choices and 3 ways to use them.

Summer Job Blues

The winter is starting to make way for spring. It is the time of year when certain questions occupy the mind of the student…. “Why would they book two exams on the same day?”, “Am I going to pass?”, “Where will I work for the summer?” and “Why didn’t they hire me?” To address the final question, this week’s blog will share the top 6 reasons you were NOT hired.

Follow these tips and it will not guarantee you get the job, it will simply increase the odds of getting put at the top of the list. Good luck on getting the job of your dreams. Make sure you take the time to visit and check out the job opportunities that may be perfect for you!!!

A Course on What???

Once you enter university and college one question will be asked of you over and over…. from your parents, to your friends to that new potential paramour you just met at the bar. ..“What are you taking?” For most of us we are able to elicit the quick standard response. A Bachelor of Arts or Science or Business complete with all of the required courses. While awesome as part of your degree, telling someone you are taking an accounting course does not really elicit many ooohs and ahhs!!! So when it comes time to pick your electives, I challenge you to dig deep into your academic calendar and find something different and exciting. Don’t just look for an easy credit. Look for something that will engage your passion!!! You would be surprised at some of the courses offered at your school that could add texture to your university degree. Here are some interesting ones…

These are just a few of the interesting courses out there. Electives are designed to allow you to pick courses that YOU find appealing. Spend time looking and you may just find the coolest course you will ever take. The next time someone asks “What are you taking?”, the reaction will be much different.

What do you think would be a cool course?

What Experience?

You do not get the job because you do not have enough experience, but you cannot get experience because you do not get the job. As a student entering the workforce I am sure this exact thought has run through your head at one time or another.  Even if you have not thought it, I am sure most of you would agree with the statement. Most of us take at face value that it is difficult for students to find work, and the majority of that difficulty is due to a lack of experience. To borrow a quote from the recent Vice President debates, that’s a bunch of malarkey.

Experience is not the problem, never has been. The true challenge lies in a student’s inability to identify where experience comes from.  Most students believe that the only experience that matters is the experience we get from working. That is simply not true. We develop skills through the breadth of our activities be them at work, at home or at school.

As a student you have to realize that everything you do builds your skills and experience. Work on a project at school with classmates; you just enhanced your teamwork, problem solving and leaderships skills. Play a video game online; you just increased your communication and critical thinking skills. Eat a sandwich…okay not all things build your experience.

Once you have identified where you get your experience make sure you adjust your resume to ensure that you promote it. Tell perspective employers about the things you do and the experience those things provide you. When asked if you have ever worked as part of a team, tell them about what you did in school. When asked about your leadership skills, tell them about helping a neighbor organize his move. When asked about your business experience, tell them about selling stuff at a yard sale.  The ability to connect your activities to your skills is essential to your success.

Pretty soon you will be too busy talking about your hobbies, volunteering and classroom activities to worry about your “lack” of experience.

Michael Sanderson is the VP of Education and Training for Equals 6 and is committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of everyone