A Guide to Personal Finance for Students

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FinanceStarting Young Helps Students Find Their Way to Economic Freedom

In April 2014, President Obama declared National Financial Capability Month with the goal of helping Americans achieve financial happiness and freedom. Obama isn?t alone; many states have their own ideas. For example, Oklahoma in February 2014 passed a law mandating that students take personal finance classes. With finances becoming increasingly important in schools, here is a guide to personal finance for students.

  1. It?s never too late to start learning, but start as early as possible. You should learn about finance the same way you learn other life and social skills. Instead of using birthday and holiday money to buy fun items you?ll have forgotten about in a few months, invest in stocks or CDs. If you get a weekly allowance, set aside part of it every week for short-term and long-term savings.
  2. Follow the example of San Francisco?s Kindergarten to College program and deposit $50 in a college savings account as early as kindergarten. You may need an adult to help you set this up. Allow family members and friends to add to the account. Set your own goal for contributions at least twice a year.
  3. Keep budgets. Since you?re a student and don?t have any (or many) expenses, you can budget for the future and help your friends and family members budget. Work together to come up with household plans. Along these lines, record how much money you get. For example, how much you get in your weekly allowance and/or job, how much is left over after taxes, how much goes into short-term savings, long-term savings and how much is available instantly.
  4. Look for business opportunities: raking leaves, babysitting, selling duct tape wallets and more.