Weekend Reading – Can You Help Me Prepare for a Presentation I’m Giving to College Students?

by RJ

in Random

This Thursday, I’m speaking at Northwestern University to a group of college students. I have many ideas on what I would like to talk about but need help narrowing them down into a 30 minute presentation.

If you were giving a talk to college students about financial planning, what would you emphasize? More specifically, if you could only talk about 3 things, what would they be?

Thanks for your help and have a great weekend!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley W.No Gravatar May 13, 2011 at 8:50 am

I would tell them that you can’t expect to have the same standard of living coming right out of college, or even for many years, as your parents. So many college students expect to have everything as soon as they start out, when it took our parents 20 or 30 years to build up what they have. It is a dangerous mentality because so many people will go into debt to get everything they think they need to have immediately.


evaNo Gravatar May 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

Student loans.

When I was in college I had no idea how student loans worked. I actually defaulted on a loan the year after I graduated because I didn’t know that I needed to open my mail/contact my lenders when I moved. Interest capitalization? Amortization? Could have been Martian to me. And I think my experience was not atypical, sadly.


RomanNo Gravatar May 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

Three items I suggest are loans, retirement savings, and credit/insurance payments.

Loans and credit payments can probably be lumped in the same thing, but I think noting the interest they’d have to pay in addition would get the point across. I found out this morning little sis (college junior) got new glasses $200 over what insurance was willing to pay. She’s had problems in the past with not knowing how credit cards worked or overdrawing fees.

As for retirement savings, I know 20-somethings will not have the mindset or funds for retirement planning, but I think it’s more about actually saving something and good ways to do so. I only say retirement because there’s a limit to 401k and IRAs whose best advantage is time. Also, with the financial state of the nation, it may be easier to drill into.


RuNo Gravatar May 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm

“Sometimes you gotta skip a meal if you want something else”. My mum said this to me as she was helping me move in my student flat, followed by “I will always be there for you, but I you owe it to yourself to earn a good life”.

I’m in my first year of university in London, studying a retardedly expensive course (ceramic design- I’ve had to spend around £200 on tools and another £100 on materials so far but I’ve got to buy software next year that’s £500). The advice I would give other people my age is that they probably won’t actually feel like their missing out if they don’t attend every single party, rave, concert etc. Pick the ones you really want to go to and budget for them. Don’t piss your money away on beer in clubs when you can buy a case and drink with friends at their houses. Learn to cook.

Don’t be a snob- shop at discount supermarkets or outdoor markets for food, thrift stores for clothes, choose your basic clothes on how well they will last instead of how fashionable they are! Get used to eating a lot of rice based dishes- if it’s good enough for half the planet, it’s good enough for you. Learn to love your shabby accommodation. Don’t turn down a job opportunity because you feel you’re too good for it.

Focus on your studies and get it right the first time. Resitting exams, retaking a year etc all cost more and more money.


Chirag GuptaNo Gravatar May 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Hi! I’m one of the students at Ayers and I look forward to your talk this Thursday!

A few things I’m interested in hearing about:
1) Roth IRA, how to make the most of it
2) Careers in financial planning, CFA vs CFP vs CPA etc.
3) Student loans

hit me on twitter at @alfredjingoes !


RobNo Gravatar May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Hi RJ,

I work in student development at a public university. Could you provide a little bit more information on the group of students your speaking to? Our they graduating? coming in for orientation? business majors? students interested in financial advising? Also how big is the group of your students? One of the biggest misconceptions I see is when people think there is a one-size-fits-all approach when speaking to College Students – that became evident when I watched the commencement address three times this year at my University during the different graduations.

My best advice, and what has made me successful, is to speak with the group, not to the group. College students are typically smart and have an understanding of basic things. The main things that I see my students struggle with when it comes to finances are this:

1. Balancing out the cost of higher education with the struggle that their family may be facing (I live in CA and a couple of my students parents have lost their family homes while at college)

2. Career preparation. Most of my students are stunned to find out how hard it actually is to get a good paying job. Many return to wages that they would have made had they gone directly into the work force. A good question to start with: “How much do you plan to make six months after graduation.”

3. Taking advantages of the financial opportunities college offers: Internships are harder after leaving college, student health centers aren’t available after college, transit subsidies and others goodies that come with college suddenly dissapear as well.

Stay away from student loans, they’re tired of hearing this topic and they will all go through loan exit counseling anyways.


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