Preparing youth to be money smart after graduation

Budgeting and saving are life skills needed for youth as they prepare for post-secondary education.

What comes to mind when you hear preparing for post-secondary education? Other than filling out applications for colleges, trade schools, financial aid or scholarships, you may think of working hard to get good grades, studying to make high scores for the SAT or the ACT, or, for student athletes, improving skills to get a scholarship. What about preparing students to manage their money while they are in post-secondary education

According to a study on college students and personal finance by LendEDU, statistics show this can be an important topic to teach to students entering into post-secondary education. For example:

  • 58% of students reported they were not saving money each month.
  • 43% of students stated they don’t track monthly spending.
  • 29% of students stated they saved 0 percent of their monthly income each month.
  • 81% of students stated they do not have an emergency fund.

What can parents, schools or community organizations teach or emphasize to students as they enter post-secondary education? First, for the statistics above: budgeting and saving. Other than paying for the costs of college like tuition, room and board, and other academic expenses, other expenses such as the costs of hanging out with friends, going to restaurants or sporting events can affect the budgets of students (please see “1. Don’t deposit and dash” in “4 Steps to Financially Prepare Your Student for College” by U.S. News).

Some tips to assist students in money management for college from “6 Must-Follow Money Tips For College Students” in the U.S. News and World Report are:

  • Create a budget.
  • Separate wants and needs.
  • Set up a checking account.
  • Use, don’t abuse credit cards.
  • Do your homework on loans and financial aid.
  • Shop smart for textbooks.

The National Endowment for Financial Education also provides a helpful resource with “40 Money Management Tips Every College Student Should Know” to help provide strategies and resources for young people before and during their post-secondary education.

Also, Michigan 4-H Youth Development through Michigan State University Extension has resources for youth money management. Parents and caring adults can use resources such as National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program and Michigan 4-H Youth Money Management to build personal finance skills that will help youth not only in college but also through adulthood.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparation, money management and entrepreneurship programs, read the 2016 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Careers and Employment.”

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