Dysart Unified School District’s Community Education department called upon financial management experts to give tools to college bound students and their families Nov. 7 at the district office.
Liz Recchia, government affairs director with We-MAR (Financial Management for the College Bound Student), said in her business she witnesses what financial mismanagement can do to a family and so many times it is avoidable and repairable.
“If we just give that family the tools, they can learn to manage it and they are part of the community and its important they have those tools to encourage stability,” Ms. Recchia said. “It’s just important everyone have a plan to manage their own lives.”
Ms. Recchia gave the community the basic tools to start a plan and truly be able to see what is in the future for student’s financiallives. She began by sharing information about the money system providing insight on the Federal Reserve, taxes and the FDIC.
Budgeting was the area of focus in order to provide a plan for students moving forward based off the costs they will incur moving on to college in the upcoming year.
“Creating a grid budget and simply placing a vertical and horizontal line on a piece of paper you can break your monthly budget into four weeks,” Ms. Recchia said. “Place the bills or costs that need to be paid in their appropriate weeks and also insert your pay periods whether it be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. You’ll see right away whether you have enough income to match your expenses or if you need to go looking for additional work to bring in enough money.”
Ms. Recchia said paying late fees is a penalty — and it can quickly become a financial burden. She advised the community to take care of the financial obligations first and carry on with the remainderof your plan whether that’s to save or invest with the excess money.
“A cookie-jar savings is vital,” she said. “This ensures when a tire blows you have money to buy a new tire and won’t be crippled financially. Then after you get your new tire you must start replenishing the cookie jar for the next thing life throws at you. Emergencies for most people are simply inconvenient for you.”
Ms. Recchia said budgeting feels constricting to some people, but the fact is budgeting allows you to have freedom and choice on how you want to live your life. Prioritizing wants versus needs.
Additionally she covered potential costs for housing, transportation and insurance.
Food, laundry, cell phones, streaming services and entertainment are all areas that must be looked at as extracosts most people don’t count on being so high.
Debt versus assets Ms. Recchia said can be a challenge. New college students are inundated with credit card offers and you must decide if you really want that something now and owe someone else for it?
She ended the session sharing the misconception most people have about credit. She said paying back student loans is a 10- to 20-year process.
Ms. Recchia said it is best to look for alternative.
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you have to go into debt and have to have a FICO score, you don’t,” she said. “Look for lenders who will use alternative credit and will measure your risk on things you do in your life responsibly.”
Editor’s Note: Jennifer Jimenez is a regular contributor to the Surprise Independent.