Education

A Graduation Gift That Matters

When I graduated from high school – and again when I graduated from college – I received quite a few gifts from friends and family members. Most of them fell into two categories: money inserted into graduation cards, or items intended to help with my life in the near future (like a gas card or …

Categories: Careers, Education

Personal Finance 101: What Is a 529?

Investing in a 529 Plan Fairly regularly on The Simple Dollar, I mention that I’m investing in 529 college savings plans for my two children. Each month, I automatically contribute $100 to each of their plans – and I’ve considered contributing more than that. But what’s a 529? Erin writes in with a typical query: …

Finding a Great Mentor in College

When I first went to college, I was lost. I had grown up in a tiny town where virtually everyone around me had started factory jobs straight out of high school. I literally knew no one (other than my teachers) who had attended college at any level. I more or less guessed at a major …

Categories: Careers, Education

Saving for College or Saving for Retirement: What’s Best for Us?

This past weekend, my wife and I were watching Clark Howard’s show on Headline News. During the program, Clark stated a canard that I’ve heard several times from personal finance “gurus” over the past couple years: instead of saving for a child’s college education, parents are better off saving for their own retirement. Clark’s main …

Categories: Education, Retirement

7 Huge Financial Mistakes I Made During College

Over the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on how many members of my rather close extended family are either near high school graduation or are in college right now. They have so many great opportunities ahead of them in the next few years – and so many chances to botch things, too. Stephen, …

New Year’s Resolution Workshop #4: Protect My Family’s Future

Between Christmas and New Year’s, we’re taking a look at five common New Year’s resolutions that people often adopt for their finances, evaluate some of the traps that people fall into with regards to that resolution, and come up with some real actions that can turn a challenging New Year’s resolution into a success. We …

Categories: Education, Family

Charting a Course to Go Back to School

Amanda writes: After taking a serious re-evaluation of my life over the last year, I finally realized what I should be doing with it. I want to be a nurse. I attended college several years ago, but I majored in English Lit and didn’t finish my degree. How can I plan for this financially? Going …

Your Child’s College Education Fund

One question I often get from new and expectant parents is how much they should be saving each month for their child’s college education. Obviously, if you’re looking at paying for college eighteen years down the road, there are going to be a lot of unknowns: how will college funding change by then? How much …

Is College Really Necessary For All High School Graduates?

One of the biggest assumptions I read about in books and articles about financial planning for your children is the outright assumption that your child must attend a college or university of some sort after graduating from high school, so you’d better financially plan for it. To me, this assumption is one that needs to …

Categories: Education, Family

The High School Consumer Education Curriculum

Over the last few months, I’ve become very interested in the teaching of consumer education in high schools, especially as it pertains to preparing high schoolers for the challenges that they’ll face in the real world: going to college, paying for college, buying a car, buying a house, dealing with debt, finding a good job, …

Categories: Education

Children’s Education and Personal Finance

Almost every time I read an article about funding your child’s education, it turns into a discussion about saving for college. Coverdell plans, 529 plans, how to handle the FAFSA – all of this stuff is standard personal finance fare. But all of it overlooks the first eighteen years of your child’s life – the …

Categories: Education, Family

Money Management Tips For College Students

Here’s what you shouldn’t do. When I was in college, I used my student loans to finance my lifestyle. I worked at a decent paying job ($9 an hour at a job related to my major was great), but that wasn’t enough – I needed more. So I took out student loans, even though scholarships …

The “Seed Money” Idea: A Different Way of Looking at Saving for Your Child’s Future

A few days ago, I had lunch with a person in the local community whose opinion I respect quite a bit. He has two adult children, only one of which attended college straight out of high school, and both of which run their own business. What I wanted to know from him was how exactly …

Should I Eliminate Financial Support For My Child After High School?

This week, The Simple Dollar attempts to address challenging questions in personal finance by looking at both sides of the story and figuring out some of the factors you need to look at to make a decision. For many parents, it’s a given that they’ll save for their child’s college education, and they consider it …

Categories: Education, Family

Thinking About College After High School? Four Points of Advice That You Probably Won’t Hear From Your Guidance Counselor

When I think back to my high school years, I realize that I didn’t have the faintest idea of what I wanted to do with my life, nor many of the options really available to me. I had a sense that I needed a significant change of scenery for a while because I did not …

The Five College Classes I Took That Were Actually Worth My Time And Money

When I look back at my college experience, I realize that almost all of the classes directly tied to my major had almost nothing to do with what I ended up doing with my life. Instead, they mostly served to show that I was adaptable and could repeatedly apply basic ideas – which is fine, …

Categories: Education

What College Students Can Do To Prepare For Success

At the start of the last college semester, I provided ten tips for personal finance management for college students: Get some free money. Make it automatic. Look for cheaper entertainment. Don’t get any credit cards. Eat in the cafeteria. Look for free stuff. Empty out your pockets at the end of each day. When you …

Freshly Graduated And About To Get A New Job? Here Are Seven Things To Do To Get Started On The Right Financial Path

In the last few days, a bevy of recent college graduates about to enter the workforce have written to me and asked what they should be doing with their finances at this point in their life. These are the smart ones – they realize that taking a few steps in the right direction now are …

New Student Loan Benefits & Low-Cost Careers

For many people going to college, they’re scared to get involved with a major that won’t pay a lot. I know I was – after strongly considering stints as both an English major and a math major, I instead got into a major with significantly higher earning potential because I didn’t want to face huge …