College Connect: Financial Savvy Needed When Entering the Working World

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Russell Vandiver

College is a time in life to grow personally and to learn skills that will help establish a career. Although college graduates leave with greater knowledge in their chosen major, they often lack significant training that will prepare them for the financial decisions they will confront.

John Taylor, a recent recipient of undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting at the University of Georgia, is now working full time at KPMG as an associate in investigative and dispute practices.

He received a scholarship as a baseball player his freshman year, and received state scholarships for the rest of his undergraduate years. He also had a scholarship as a teaching assistant during graduate school, but he still had to take on some student debt.

“I had to take out a loan for $ 4,000 for housing expenses my junior and senior year,” said Taylor, explaining how he made up for a shortfall in his finances for college.

Swarn Chatterjee, an associate professor of financial planning, housing and consumer economics at UGA said Taylor’s experience is not uncommon. But he suggested that most millennials need to be more savvy when it comes to managing their debt and planning for their financial futures.

Chatterjee asserted that millennials might have a potential financial planning advantage over older generations due to technology, especially mobile apps that help them budget and stay on track with their money.

But Chatterjee also said that a lot of times people who recently enter the work force become stressed financially because they try to live a life that they were accustomed to when living with their parents, but can’t afford on their own.

“Between student debt from increasing tuition rates, living expenses, and keeping up with the Joneses of purchasing new expensive items, a lot of young workers become over stretched financially,” Chatterjee said.

Taylor acknowledged that paying for all of his expenses is difficult, but he makes it work, he said.

“I usually spend my income each month on three different areas. I make a payment on my student debt, I pay my bills and rent, and I have some money for discretionary expenses,” he said. “I also try to save 20 percent of my gross income and put it in my savings and checking account because you never know what expenses might come up.”

Taylor, although being new to the working world, feels confident about his financial future.

“I feel like I’m on track to pay off my debt and to be able to start preparing for my future. I hope to be able to retire at 60 and feel financially stable and secure,” he said.

Russell Vandiver is a student at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia

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