Best Resources for Student Financial Literacy
Know the Score
As a student, you need to focus on your financial literacy and on your academic performance. A recent survey found that only 65% of the students taking loans actually have a plan to return them on time and in full. Another assessment showed that 1 in 5 students does not have even the basic financial skills.
These stats do not bode well for students’ mental health and educational attainments. Bad financial management leads to excessive debt, ensuing stress, and an inextricable link to poor grades. Simply put, you have to bump up against financial literacy lest you want to risk the quality of your education and long-term career aspirations.
Set aside time to search resources properly, and build in specific slots in your schedule dedicated to learning. There’s no shortage of guides, books, and online resources, and we’ve done some legwork for you so that you don’t have to start from scratch. Below, you’ll find a list of recommended resources well tested and used by thousands of students.
Finance Course in College
It would be a safe bet to start with what your college has to offer. Most likely, your school has finance classes available for students, so make appropriate inquiries. Talk to peers or tutors to find out more. Those classes are usually tailored to student needs and the types of services college students require most.
Don’t miss out on the government resources on financial management, budget planning, or financial literacy writ large. A lot of investment has gone into developing them. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission created a user-friendly educational website where you can browse through the basic financial concepts. You will also be able to find games and fun activities about money designed for youth.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s education program is another great resource to improve your financial skills and learn about developing effective banking relationships. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also put out regular online articles and print materials about financial services and financial management.
Unprecedented growth in financial technology and concomitant diversification of financial services led to the development of great apps. If you want to be smart about managing your income and expenses, get a top-notch personal budgeting app to track money and make sound financial decisions.
It will help you keep tabs on your daily expenses by optimizing daily expenditures and increasing your overall savings. The app is also designed to let you link all your accounts in one place and negotiate better rates on your bills.
Books and Publications
Don’t discount books and magazines. Print materials still offer an impressive range of financial topics suitable for any learning level despite technological innovations and advances. You’ll find information on budgeting, credit, saving and investing, and taxes.
Some books have also proved to be more reliable, as the information contained therein has been carefully reviewed before publishing. In contrast, you need to be more cautious about which online resources you can trust.
Many banks and credit unions offer free tools and resources, which are handy to use. Some companies also offer articles, blogs, FAQs on their websites to educate their current and potential customers about a range of topics on financial literacy.
The topics include borrowing and loan management, expenditure planning, strategies to increase savings, banking services, and others. Have a look through your bank’s website and talk to your credit officer or personal banker to find out more.
At times, you might need professional advice to deal with complicated financial matters. If you are entangled in your debt management or if you are planning to apply for a loan, it is always a good idea to avail of their services to avert common pitfalls and unnecessary financial risks.
Your college might be able to help find professionals at discounted rates. Some civic centers also host presentations for students and inexperienced investors run by financial professionals. Some professionals might also be offering free services for those in need.
Nonprofit and private entities also offer free resources. They will help you increase your knowledge of how financial institutions work and what types of services they offer. These resources are a good alternative if you cannot afford professional advice. Some such services include:
Online Resources for College Students
In your spare time, browse through the web to learn more about a host of other online resources that are not covered here but which you might find more applicable to your needs. There is a good range of podcasts and YouTube videos on financial management and basic budget planning skills available for college students.
Just make sure you don’t take anything for granted or take things at face value. Not all information in cyberspace is necessarily based on evidence or verifiable data. Double-check the information and advice you come across for reliability and rigor.
Many students would make a different decision if they were given the opportunity to reconsider their initial financial decision about borrowing. You don’t have to be one of them. Act now to increase your financial literacy, making sound financial decisions part of your routine.
By investing in your financial literacy, you increase your chances of improved academic
performance while lowering potential stress levels caused by burgeoning liabilities. Also, this is a long-term investment with lifelong returns. Prudent financial decisions and sound choices will help ensure your mental health while supporting rather than disrupting your career aspirations and professional development.