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Personal Responsibility

Fall 2009; Vol 5

Personal Finance

Upcoming Events:

As the semester progresses and you get into the groove of college, you may notice that money is more of an issue than you may have guessed or hoped for. Some students are a little short on cash, and are vigorously searching for jobs in order to maintain financial stability throughout college. Other student may have money but are not really sure how to spend if efficiently. According to About.com, financial issues, there are 4 top money mistakes made by college students. Let’s explore these mistakes and find ways to avoid or improve them. College Student Mistake #1: Getting Into Credit Card Debt. In addition to student loans, the average undergraduate college student in 2004 had four credit cards and $2,169 in credit card debt; with interest rates of 15 to 18%, you may be paying off this credit card debt into your 30s and 40s. Credit Cards are a huge responsibility that you should think long and hard about before committing to. College Student Mistake #2: Squandering Your Student Loan Money. Use your student loan money to finance your education, not your lifestyle. Tuition, room and board, and textbooks are smart ways to spend your student loan money. Eating out, buying CDs, clothes, going on spring break, or otherwise bankrolling your social life, are not; you'll be paying these loans off for ten to 20 years, so use the money wisely. It may seem like its free money now but once you start paying it back with interest, it won’t seem free. Use only money that you actually need. College Student Mistake #3: Ruining Your Credit Score. The way you handle your credit card debt will follow you for many years. If you max out your credit line, don't pay your bills on time, and collect credit cards, you will have a poor credit score after you graduate that could make it difficult to get an apartment, obtain a car loan, get a home loan, or even find a job. Learn how to handle credit cards responsibly and then do so. College Student Mistake #4: Not Budgeting. A budget is a planning tool that empowers you to handle your money smartly; it's not financial handcuffs. It helps you plan ahead by knowing how much money you have coming in and going out. It gives you the peace of mind of knowing you won't run out of money. Not having a budget is like sailing a boat in the fog without radar. With growing into an adult, learning how to manage your own money is apart of your responsibilities.

Be Credit Smart

Tuesdays @ 7pm in the underground

Oct. 6: Concert/Lecture Anne Feeney & David Rovics Oct. 21: James Scurlock & Film Maxed Out Nov. 2: Barbara Ehrenreich, author Nickel and Dimed Nov. 13: Janet Zandy, Seeing Beyond Dirt Dec. 3: Emory Douglas: Black Panther Party & Concern for the Community

When you sign up for a credit card, you and only you will be responsible for paying the bills. Follow these rules of credit management and you'll lead a financially healthy life: * Read all application materials carefully—especially the fine print. What happens after the "teaser rate" expires? What happens to your interest rate if you're late with a payment or fail to make a payment? What's the interest rate for a cash advance? * Consider using a debit card instead of a credit card. Money is deducted directly from your checking account, so you can't spend more than you actually have. * Use credit only if you're certain you will be able to repay the debt. * Avoid impulse shopping on your credit card. *Save your credit card for a money emergency. (Using your card to pay for a spring break vacation doesn't count.) * Carry only the cards you think you'll use. * Pay bills promptly to keep finance and other charges to a minimum..

For more information on the FYE Nights Program, contact: Travis D. Schilla, ACD (L/W/G) td-schilla@wiu.edu Megan Thurston, CD (Thompson) me-thurston@wiu.edu Kathy Mortensen, CD (Bay/Henn) kl-mortensen@wiu.edu


FYE Newsletter 5 - BayHenn