In college, it can be hard to look ahead to the future. We tend to live in the moment and save worrying for later. However, college is the most important and beneficial time to look at long-term goals. What are your plans once you graduate? What state do you want to live in? When do you want to retire? Where do you start?
Begin by saving money
Even if you don’t have the slightest clue about what you would like to do in the future, you should still save money. Only good things will come from saving, and no one looks back and wishes they had saved less. If you have a job, set aside a certain amount of money from every paycheck into a savings account specifically for the future. When you decide on your plans, you’ll have already given yourself a head start.
Contribute to a retirement account
If you have a job, you should be contributing to some sort of retirement account. It may seem like it is a long way down the road, but remember the sooner you start saving, the more money you will have for expenses like retirement and vacations. There is a big difference between being able to retire when you’re 62, and having to wait to retire when you’re 82.
Compound interest is a wonderful thing. Investing small amounts of money into a certificate of deposit (CD) now will accrue interest and turn into large sums of cash over time. Those who start investing now will actually contribute less money overall than those who wait until later.
Building credit in college is important. The easiest way to build credit is charging small amounts on accounts and paying it off every month. Not paying credit card or student loan bills will hurt your credit though, and could prevent you from obtaining car loans, mortgages, rental housing, or even employment in the future. Make sure to use your lines of credit responsibly.
Create a financial plan
Even if you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing in the future, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan for it financially. Create a plan on how you want to save and spend your money. Map out how long it will take to pay off your student loans, and know what the payment will be each month. If you plan on moving away from the area once school is finished, calculate estimated moving costs and add that to your savings plan. The best way to plan for an unknown future is to be prepared for anything.