Most people are encouraged to start creating goals from an early age. From remembering to do your homework to attaining grades that you'd be proud to submit to your parents, your schooling years are full of goals. These educational goals, such as getting high grades and being admitted into your dream college, typically grow larger and more important as you get older.
Similarly, financial goals progress from minor milestones to larger, more substantial ones. When you initially start managing your finances in college, your primary goal could be to ensure that you can live comfortably with the little or much you have - and avoid some common money mistakes college students make.
Goals such as saving for an emergency, planning for retirement, or paying off all of your debts gradually become bigger objectives as you grow through school and transition to the career world.
Setting and accomplishing these goals is crucial for ensuring a stable financial future. To get ideas for your short-term personal finance goals, hop in.
From a financial investment perspective, the main aim of seeking higher education is to increase your chances of making money - college graduates are typically going to earn higher than those with only a secondary high school in the general population.
You pay a lot of money to attend college in order to make money for the rest of your life in the career path that you choose to study. If you're studying something only because it's fun or easy but has limited earning potential, you may not be doing it right. Of course, you should strive to find a career that's not only interesting, but that is also in-demand and can give you a source of income.
It is unsurprising to hear students describe how they choose their career paths with words like "I'm supposed to" or "my parents told me to." That's how you end up with a degree that doesn’t give you the satisfaction you want in life or make it difficult for you to land a good job that can pay you well and enable you to repay your student loans if you took one.
With an average of three and a half years in college, there is plenty of time to learn how to make money. The most natural route, which is the ideal - is to learn how to monetize your degree - can you be the best candidate for openings in the biggest companies in your field? Or can you learn how to start a company in your area of training?
The second route is to gain skills in a different are while pursuing your degree, if that area is where your interests best align - it is quite common to find students disenchanted with the degrees they are pursuing since they did not have full knowledge of what they entil.
This could be a complete career pivot or a bold move into entrepreneurship in all its shapes and sizes.
This financial goal applies to both students and those who are already in employment because we all have to live within our means. Even better, it helps you to budget and stick to it religiously.
The phrase "living within your means" refers to your personal financial resources. However, as a student, you may not have a source of income - hence, it’s nearly impossible to live within or below your means you may think.
So, what are your options? The main goal here will be to reduce your living expenses to the greatest extent possible. This is because when there's no constant flow of money coming to you either from your parents or guardians, your expenses can quickly add up and get you into unnecessary debt.
Here are some of the ways you can reduce your expenses in college:
Most people choose to change careers or, at the absolute least, take on side jobs to augment their income at some time in their lives. College is a great time to try out different things and see what you like while also helping to pay for your school expenses.
Learn video editing or Photoshop on the side if you need to until you're ready to start executing freelance work. Create a blog with the sole purpose of learning how to write better and having something to show potential clients and employers in the future.
Learning about a side hustle and actually doing it while studying may appear difficult, but for most college students, this is an excellent opportunity to gain skills that are unrelated to your major career just in case things don't go as planned.
See if you can save some money. Many college students complain of being broke and not having money to save but there are numerous financial goals that students can set for themselves in order to save money.
Before the money from your parents/guardians or your side hustle starts coming in, decide what you're going to do with it; otherwise, it will go to waste.
Below are some savings-related goals you can consider while on campus:
The amount of money you choose to save is entirely up to you. It does not have to be a significant chunk of money. Start with as little as you can comfortably and consistently save and discipline yourself while at it. Remember if you start saving early, you can turn that into a habit that will benefit you in the long run.
College is an excellent time to learn the fundamentals of finance and build positive money mindsets. For many, it’s the first time you’re living away from home and are in charge of your own finances. If you are ignorant of the basic principles of finance such as budgeting, saving etc., when you eventually decide to take your finances seriously later in life, you'll be saddled with debt and a long, difficult path to recovery.
If you want to be financially independent, regardless of your major, you must understand personal finance.
While in school and in the mood to learn., don't underestimate the value of financial education. So get yourself a personal finance book. Consider taking a personal finance class on YouTube. Read, listen to TED Talks and Podcasts. Spend some time reading finance blogs.
Learn! Learn! And keep learning.
Now that you've read all of the above short-term financial goals for college students, you can start thinking about your own financial path. When it comes to financial planning, it's critical to set goals that are specific to you. These financial goals can be long-term or short-term, but they must be reachable.
During your college years, you can budget well, devise a savings strategy, learn a money-making skill, or even pay off debt. These goals may appear far away, yet they will be closer than you think. You might be surprised at how many financial goals you can attain with consistency, and effort.
Make sure your goals are both attainable and measurable.