College Student - Special Situation

Saving & investing, frugality & simple living. They're all part of the wealth equation.
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Re: College Student - Special Situation

Postby YoungGun » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:15 pm

You are getting a good amount of advice already, so I won't throw my 2 cents out on that, but I did want to echo a comment on some college students have fun on less, and some have fun on more.

I graduated a year ago, worked three+ jobs while a full time student the whole time. I had a semester where I averaged 3 hours of sleep a night for the last 2 months of it and I was always working.

That being said, I went to every basketball game at my school (its our football here if you will), I was in a full time relationship for 3 out of 4 of the years, I had very good friends that i still see weekly, and I graduated Magna Cum Laude from a top 5 ranked program in the nation. I did all of this with less then a couple hundred dollars of money a month, and I have a higher disposable income then you (specially in the last two years.) I am not saying any of this to brag, but to show that you don't need to spend money to have a good time.

Also, if you can find ways of having a great time with little money, it makes life easier if you ever hit a rut, or even if you don't, it will help you alot later in life. I am in my early 20's and have a very nice start on my retirement accounts, a fully funded EF, and am looking at buy my first house with 20% down.

I will add one thing though, don't stress too much about your money. I did this at times during college, and looking back, it was unnecessary. It's one thing to be well educated and have a plan, its another to be looking over your accounts everyday (in all honesty I still struggle with parts of this, my retirement accounts I never look at anymore, but I think I may personally be over focusing on all my other accounts right now, but maybe its just cause I am looking at getting a house.)

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Re: College Student - Special Situation

Postby J.Voel5 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:27 pm

I agree with Young Gun. You should enjoy your time in college, but you don't want to become complacent with it. It is important to always save a little. That is a tremendous mindset to have and it will help you later in life. You don't have to put away a lot to be technically saving also. You can put away as little as $100 a month. Just put it in a savings account that you won't touch. You can still have spending money and have a good time, you just don't want to have the mindset where having fun means throwing money away. Good luck and have a great time at college!

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Re: College Student - Special Situation

Postby jac » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:32 am

I didn't even know that there existed full-ride ROTC programs that didn't require full time service afterwards, I hope you've double checked everything.

But if you're not planning on going in to the Army when you graduate, you'll have a whole lot of expenses: finding an apartment to rent, putting down a security deposit, probably picking up some furniture and a wardrobe that you can teach in. If you graduate in May, you might find yourself with three months between the end of your scholarship and your first teaching paycheck in September, if you even get a job first thing. How much money would you need to get through that? Will you be on your parents insurance still after you graduate? What if you don't get a job that first year at all? Do you own a laptop/computer/iphone? Will you pay for a new one if it breaks or ask your parents? If you don't own one now, will you need one when you graduate and don't have access to all your school resources?

While in college, do you plan to go on vacations ever? Do you need to travel back and forth to see family for major holidays? Are you interested in going on a trip when you graduate, perhaps in that three month period? Is it likely or even possible that you'll have to move to a new town to get a job when you graduate?

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Re: College Student - Special Situation

Postby timwalsh300 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:41 am

RJHiggins12, if you are still reading this thread, I was a 4-year Army ROTC scholarship baby. A couple thoughts...

1. Think very carefully about choosing the USAR over active duty. A lot of reserve component folks I know have been constantly under-employed as civilians due to the frequent, lengthy call-ups, and the chief of staff has said that training for reserve components will actually increase in the near future. There is a lot of disparity in benefits too. If I stay until retirement I will start collecting a pension 20 years earlier than my reserve component peers. That alone is a difference of almost $1 million in today's dollars. Back in the old days, the USAR did not have 4-year scholarships either (although ARNG started to offer them when I was graduating). Maybe it has changed, but at that time, the typical path to commissioning into the USAR was to graduate at the bottom of the class.

2. To answer your original question: Yes, you need to be building that emergency fund. I didn't take on any debt but I blew most of my childhood savings and scholarship stipend during college. Not a big deal, but for the first couple of months after graduation, during the transition from school to active duty, I would have liked more of a buffer. If you aren't going onto active duty, having a buffer is much more critical. Also remember that a commission is is far from guaranteed. I saw more than a few cadets kicked to the curb.


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