Efficient money management importance overlooked
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 20:02
Students and the economy could greatly benefit from a little more instruction surrounding money management techniques.
If college is supposed to prepare us students for adulthood and future monetary security, isn’t now the perfect time for us to learn about personal finance? Banks, loans, taxes, credit cards—nobody wants to think about these issues because they are so foreign to us. Yet, so was being a freshman at a big university.
The university’s First Year Experience class (a one-credit class required by most majors and taken first semester freshman year) offers an alcohol safety class, as well as classes on safe sex and conflict resolution knowing many incoming students might be unfamiliar with these topics. The program is great because it answers questions that first-year students don’t know they have, such as, “What is medical amnesty?” “How do I manage the delicate relationship with my roommate?” But someone must have forgotten that these huge tuition bills, student loans and tax returns are all very new to us too.
As far as I know, the university does not offer classes on personal finance, and I know for a fact the FYE program doesn’t have one. Sure, guest speakers might swing by to lecture, but a school or college that offers personal finance classes is almost unheard of. It seems absurd that they don’t offer these classes because everyone could benefit from that knowledge regardless of their wealth standing.
I’m not trying to make it sound like the university is attempting to hide something from us—it’s just odd that nobody teaches personal finance. Money is the reason why all of us are here pursuing a degree that will enable us to get a job that earns more money than flipping burgers. Yes, our personal health may be more important, but we should know how to take care of ourselves financially, just like we know how to take care of ourselves physically. And with that in mind, it is important to note that not everybody drinks or has sex, but everyone deals with money. So I’m wondering if there is something a little bit backwards in what’s being stressed.
When the university sends me bills, it addresses them to my parent or guardian stating, “Now is the time to pay for your child‘s meal plan,” as if I don’t have access to my own money to pay for my own meal plan. Of course, most parents do pay for their son or daughter’s college expenses, so that’s where the assumption comes from. But the problem lies in the fact that this assumption perpetuates financial dependency, when we should be moving towards financial independency at this age.
With graduation right around the corner, our parents aren’t going to get us jobs and pay for our houses, cars or families. We all know it’s going to be tough to get a job and pay off student loans and it’s going to be even harder if we don’t know what to do about our financial situations.
While I don’t think the university has a responsibility to teach us, I do think a lot of people could benefit from learning techniques on budgeting and how to take advantage of banks and credit cards. It’s similar to the way we benefited from upperclassmen telling us how to stay safe and out of trouble while finding a good party in our FYE class. The guidance of older students’ knowledge helps make a safer campus, so could you imagine how much more successful university graduates would be with the competence to effectively manage their money?