14 Jul Financial tips for freshman students
There are a few critical financial choices college freshman will face. I suggest you compare your current health insurance plan with the options available through the college to identify savings opportunities.
Auto and renters insurance can greatly impact your finances. Review your policies so you know how protected you are and how much an incident driving or at next year’s off-campus housing could cost you.
It is a great time to start building and protecting your credit. Talk to your parents about your credit and how it can be protected via freezing your score with the various credit bureaus. Consider holding a bank account at a local bank to build credit.
Finally, it is essential to read and understand student loan documents including future interest rates and repayment programs so you can not only appreciate the cost of education but plan accordingly for future borrowing and budget decisions.
After your first year of college…
While you can skip filing tax returns under certain income limits, I usually recommend you file your return anyway. Payments for federal student loan borrowers CAN be calculated based on income. As such, disclosing low income as a graduating college student will allow you to slowly phase into loan repayments and gain credits toward forgiveness and/or interest subsidies.
If you are able to put some money aside, use some of your earned income to get an early start on retirement savings. There are a variety of plan options that have tax benefits for you now and some that have tax benefits down the road.
And try your hardest to avoid credit card debts and high interest rate loans which can set you behind and have long-term consequences on your financial health.
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Chris is a CLU, ChFC, RICP, AIF and CFP with 15 years of experience in financial advising and owns a financial firm in Pittsburgh.
Our team has broad experience with helping professionals and business owners with streamlining their finances to suit their needs. We advise on liquidity planning, debt management, and tax strategies to help you achieve your goals.