College Connect: Lessons in Money from New York City

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Kanak Jha, Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

kanakThis past summer I had the opportunity to move to bustling New York City. New York is full of life lessons, especially for a young student working their first full time internship far away from home. Some of the most prominent lessons the city taught me was about money.

When I moved to the city I finally opened a savings account. I think this is one of the best decisions I could have made. When you are trying to pay all of your own bills, without the help of your parents, I learn that you also have to be your own insurance. Outside the comfort of your own home, your comfort zone and school, emergencies and accidents can be much more overwhelming.

I broke my phone a total of two times over the summer. After exhausting my phone insurance, the second break would not be covered at all. It meant needing to purchase a new phone after the New York City crowds had trampled it. Luckily, I had been saving so I knew that even though my account was about to take a hit, I had enough to get myself a functioning phone of my choice. It is pretty common for people to live paycheck to paycheck.

However, about 67% of Americans who are 22 or older are saving their money. Savings should not just be about saving for that car you’ve always wanted, or that pricey handbag. Savings should be about your future, when life gets rough, and when you decide to eventually take a step back from work and retire.  Saving is about financial security, a step towards a secure adulthood. In expensive cities, with glamorous sounding jobs without glamorous paychecks, saving can be difficult but is essential. I have set myself a goal to save at least 35% of my paychecks. I plan to hold to this even though I am back in my own comfort zone, where I know my family can help me in emergencies. It’s just a good feeling to know you can take care of yourself, rain or shine, city or suburb.

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