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A Crash Course In Personal Finance

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Stack Of CashYoungMoney101: An Introduction

My name is Matt and I’m a senior in college studying finance. Over the past few years, I’ve spent a ton of time learning about financial products, investing, budgeting, and what every soon-to-be post grad SHOULD know about money. The problem is most do not. This is due to the fundamental issue that in the United States, schools are not required to give students a basic understanding about how to manage money.

During high school, students are taught subjects like advanced calculus, environmental science, European history, physics, literature, and even Sex Ed. Just to name a few. Yet, there is not a standard in any state that requires high schools to give students a basic financial education that will benefit them upon graduation.

Just to name a few:

  • How to budget
  • Opening a checking/savings account
  • Bank fees
  • Retirement products (What’s the difference between a Roth IRA, Standard IRA, and 401(k)?)
  • Building good credit (And how to track that credit!)
  • Creating an emergency savings
  • Getting an auto or home loan
  • Investing in the stock market
  • Putting money into a mutual fund, money market, or certificate of deposit
  • The list goes on and on!

Now you might say: “It’s a parents job to teach their kids about these things”, or “They’ll find out in college”, or “Everyone picks it up along the way”

WRONG.

I can’t emphasize how incorrect this thinking is.

  1. It is not a parents job. Why? Because some parents may not be taking the time or may be misinformed themselves. Look at Sex Ed. For years it was left to parental discretion before State Education Boards realized parents may not be explaining the birds & the bees properly to junior for a variety of reasons including misinformation, didn’t explain early enough, or didn’t explain it at all . The problem with asking parents to explain basic money knowledge is they were probably not fully taught themselves and have just done their best to figure it out as they grew up. People need a proper financial education. The younger they get it, the better of they’ll be.
  2. They wont learn in college. Look, I’m a finance major. Over the last couple years, I’ve spent hours in investments, corporate finance, tax, accounting, operations, and other business classes. How much of my financial knowledge comes from them? Probably 5-10%. What about the students NOT going to business school? I can promise you they’re getting less than me. University’s teach the theoretical. My finance classes haven’t even prepared me for how to write a resume, let alone advised me on how to invest my retirement funds in a proper asset allocation.
  3. People don’t pick it up along the way. Look no further than the current retirement crisis. With Social Security set to run out in 2034 under current benefits and funding, people are beginning to realize they have saved too little to retire when they wanted to. Almost one-third of all workers have no savings at all. Median household retirement savings for people aged 55 to 64 in 2013 amounted to $14,500. The average 65-year-old in the U.S. can expect to live almost 20 more years. Why haven’t people saved more? No one told them they needed to. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Credit card debt is out of control in the Unites States, rates of auto loan default are ballooning, and many people don’t have an emergency savings account.

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS.

Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on basic financial knowledge. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and for the rest of your life.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from people my age is that they don’t know where to find the information. Let me first tell you that information is wildly available for you to access. The internet is an amazing place.

BUT…people still feel like they don’t know where to go.

So I made this site. There are hundreds of other finance blogs out there. But none from what I have found, are from the perspective of a college student. Other sites I’ve seen can also mislead you with hundreds of depressing articles on why you’re eternally doomed. You’re not. I promise you.

I get questions from friends and family all the time on how I budget, save money, and have set myself up for the future.

Why do they ask me?

  • During college, I’ve saved (so far) $30,000 in cash. Cash. Not from my parents, relatives, or by selling my body organs for money. I’ve done it by diligently saving.
  • I spend 2 hours EVERY DAY reading websites to find the latest financial news, knowledge, and tips.
  • I’ve created an emergency savings that will support an event of job loss after graduation for up to a year while I would be finding a new job
  • I already have a 401(k), an IRA, and Roth IRA.
  • Finance is my favorite.

Look, I’m no expert. I’m not a certified financial planner. But I’ve learned a lot and read a lot. It’s set me up.

I want to share what I know and see if I can help someone else along the way. I’ve had friends tell me they’re down to 3cents in their savings accounts. I don’t want you to be that person.

You deserve to feel secure in your money!

Life shouldn’t be spent worrying about it. You don’t have to be a broke college student like everyone says. Get educated on money and how to manage yours so you can get back to enjoying all the great things life has to offer at our age.

I’ll do all the research. I’ll cite it all.

FOR FREE.

You just read. I hope it helps you in any way. If there is something you want me to cover in a post, comment or email me!

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Thanks for visiting!

Matt Dalton