Five money-musts for college students

Personal finance and money management are difficult, especially for college students. Fidelity provides personal finance tips for college students to help them succeed financially.

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If you're like most people, the most useful things you learned in college had nothing to do with the subjects you studied. Maybe it was learning how to get along with different people, how to do your laundry properly, or how to stay alive on nothing more than coffee and peanut butter and jelly—all truly vital life skills. While you were socializing, studying, and generally learning how to adult, you may not have gotten a lot of exposure to basic money management.

Why you should be thinking about money

The best things in life may be free but you will need money to do, a lot of things you want to do including but not limited to eating, wearing clothes, commuting to work, and enjoying modern conveniences like electricity and running water.

And that’s just the basics—you also need money to save for the short and long term. Your car may break down or you might decide to buy a house. You may want to travel for six months or retire from work one day. All of these require something like Personal Finance 101.

How Fidelity Can Help

We know that college students have a lot more on their minds than money. That's why we put together a crash course in finance: Fidelity's "Five Money Musts." We show you the basics of what you need when you're out in the real world, from budgeting and debt to saving and investing.

Here's what you'll learn:

  • An easy rule of thumb for managing your spending and saving—no spreadsheet required
  • The elements of your credit score (and why it matters)
  • How to pay down debt and still have money to save
  • Tips to help with long-term investing
  • Why you should start saving for the future right now

These are the topics Fidelity believes everyone should know at least a little bit about when they're first getting started on their own. Our website for college students covers all five money-musts—but Fidelity has also had the opportunity to educate students in person at colleges around the country. Kelly Lannan, director in the Young Investor program at Fidelity, has given workshops on the basics of financial literacy to groups of students in a fun setting. "Students no longer want the traditional lecture, especially when it's based on a topic that they don't feel the need to focus on at this stage in their life," Lannan says.

The best part is that students learn skills and behavior that can be used right away. "Often it is students who were encouraged to attend by a teacher or who came with a friend who get the most out of these workshops— they went in expecting to not relate to the material and came out with the realization that these topics are important and there are things they could be doing now to make the most out of the future, but also their present," Lannan says.

"I have had students tell me that because they are an art major, they never thought that anything having to do with finance applied to them," she says.

You don't have to be a genius or a millionaire—or even a thousandaire—to start managing your money and saving and investing. Getting organized and focused on using your money to help achieve your goals is a great step—and Fidelity has the resources to help you get started.

Take the Next Step

Visit our site to learn more about the "Five Money Musts," and download our action plan.

Learn more

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Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.
Views expressed are as of the date indicated and may change based on market and other conditions. Unless otherwise noted, the opinions provided are those of the speaker or author, as applicable, and not necessarily those of Fidelity Investments.

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Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC, 900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

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