Strategic Wealth Partners (SWP) recently held a workshop for college students to introduce the basics of personal finance. A group of 20 young adults gathered at the firm’s office in Deerfield for an interactive 90-minute discussion lead by Ashley Bebeau, senior financial planner, and Mike Karmin, wealth advisor. Hot topics of the night were budgeting, managing credit, and saving & investing to meet your goals.
Forming Good Budgeting Habits
Bebeau challenged the typical income – expenses = savings formula. “Savings should be a part of the budget, not a bi-product.” She introduced a couple of budgeting apps to show how easy it is to keep track of spending.
“It’s never too early to start forming good habits. We essentially want to open young adults up to understanding that their spending habits today have an immense effect on their ability to achieve their goals throughout their life.”
The Complexities of Credit
The section on credit generated a lot of interest and questions from the group. Bebeau explained the complexities of credit, and most importantly, why young adults should care. “Our goal was to get the group thinking about how to use credit wisely and that your score matters in many different situations, like when you apply for insurance or an apartment,” said Bebeau. “Based on the thoughtful questions from the group, I think it really resonated with them.”
Saving & Investing to Meet Your Goals
Karmin began the saving and investing section by asking the group what goals they have for the future. He showed a graphic of various goals, their time horizon, and appropriate risk levels. Karmin explained, “You should first have 3-6 months of expenses in a savings account. Then you can start thinking about your longer term goals, like buying a car, your first home, and even your retirement.” Investing was clearly a topic the group wanted to learn more about.
While a number of important topics were not in the evening’s agenda, like insurance and the nitty-gritty of retirement accounts, Bebeau and Karmin felt good about bestowing actionable information on the group. “We could spend a whole day on any of these topics. The trick is to teach them the basics and give them the confidence they need to continue learning on their own,” stated Karmin.
The evening ended with a suggested framework for making a plan and, hopefully, everybody a little more eager to take control of their finances.
SWP is developing a more comprehensive series of workshops to impart the knowledge young adults need to be financially savvy.
For more information, or to speak with someone at Strategic Wealth Partners, please call 224.632.1600.