The job market is tough.
And so is the financial education landscape.
But according to Harvard Business School’s “Fiscal Education Workbook,” it’s possible to make college graduates more financially savvy.
“College graduates have an incredible array of skills, which include: financial literacy, financial literacy with data and data analytics, and financial analysis,” the manual states.
Here are some of the key points: 1.
Be a data nerd.
While data analytics is the most common way to get paid to analyze data, it can also be a daunting task to master.
And if you’re not a math genius, you might not be able to answer the question “Why is there a $4,000 tuition bill?”
If you’re a math geek, however, you can get a quick grasp of the problem by figuring out what a $400 tuition bill would look like if it came from the federal government.
For instance, a typical student with a high school degree in math would be able in less than 10 minutes to answer that question, according to the manual.
Be able to calculate your own expenses.
For the average college graduate, that’s a good start, but it can get much trickier if you want to calculate a student’s actual costs.
The Harvard Business Review explains that “some college students don’t have the skills to do this, even if they know that there are things they can do to reduce costs.”
In other words, if you can figure out how much your parents spend on groceries, that can help you calculate the difference between what you pay and what you need.
Learn to budget.
Even if you have a college degree, you’re likely not going to be able as a college student to manage a big chunk of your finances.
As you get older, your income can’t keep up with your expenses, which can be even more of a problem if you don’t pay them enough.
You need to be a good budgeter.
And the financial workbook advises that you should “learn how to plan for the future,” so that you’re better able to pay for college and to save for retirement.
Learn how to pay down debt.
There are a number of free financial tools out there, including those from Credit Karma, but if you need help with debt, you’ll want to start by taking some time to learn how to budget your money.
As Harvard Business notes, you need to think about your finances as a “total package” — and it’s important to figure out where each piece of your total package comes from.
“What’s your income?
Where are your savings going?
What are you going to pay off?” the manual says.
Get a free accountant.
A college student can learn to budget by studying financial accounting courses, and some of these courses are free.
And although some courses might not work as well as others, you may also want to take some courses on how to get your finances in order.
Don’t be too aggressive with your payments.
Some college students might not understand the concept of debt and can pay for the school’s tuition and fees with their own money.
But for those who do, the manual suggests that they should consider how much they’re willing to pay and whether they can make payments on time.
Make sure you’re in the right place at the right time.
While the manual recommends that you “keep track of how much you’ve borrowed” and how much money you’ve saved, it also suggests that you make a good-faith effort to keep track of your money and be able “to track your expenses.”
Pay attention to what you have to pay back.
The manual says that you shouldn’t take a loan to pay tuition.
And even though some students may not realize it, you should also consider how you’re paying back your loans and whether you can meet your payments if you default.
It’s important that you don.
“Be diligent and honest about your payments and your debt,” the Harvard Business review explains.
If you make bad payments or are underused by your loan company, it may not be worth the risk.
But if you do pay your bills and make regular payments, the Harvard College review says, it’s worth the extra effort.
The last thing you need are a bunch of college students who are paying back the government.
“Students with no other options are often the most at risk of defaulting on their loans,” the report says.
“These students are often able to avoid default because they are more financially skilled, or they have a degree from an elite college or university, or their parents have good credit.”
You can find the “Finance Workbook” here.
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