Figuring out Financial Wellness

Hi everyone, it’s Jon!

Today I’ll be discussing how college students can work toward growth in financial wellness. I’m enrolled in a course called Personal Finance this semester and have learned practical information that everyone really should know in order to be financially responsible.

Financial wellness is a dimension that many of us can improve in, so I’ll post three ways to grow as a college student.

1. Goal Setting

In order to have any way to track how well you are doing financially, you need to have goals to work toward. Goals can be short-term (weekly, monthly, annually) or long term (2+ years in the future). You can set a goal to spend less than a certain amount on a particular expense (eating out, travel, etc.) or to save a set amount of money for a period of time. These short-term goals would be reflected in your budget.

Goals can also be broader: maybe you want to be able to purchase a home 10 years from now or be able to travel abroad twice per year. Whatever your financial vision for your life is, you should define your goals so that you can track your progress.

2. Establish (and Maintain!) a Budget

Based on your financial goals, establish a realistic budget listing out ALL of your expenses and income (if any). As with your goals, your budget can be in any time frame: weekly, monthly, or yearly. I personally find that a shorter-term budget is better for me to stay accountable. After creating your budget, STICK TO IT. There’s no point of doing all the work to plan your budget if you are not reaping the benefits of reaching your financial goals.

3. Learn about Saving, Credit, Insurance, Investing and other Personal Finance Topics

Take the time to research for yourself topics that you need to know to be responsible with your finances. If you don’t know much about personal finance I’d highly recommend the course here at Clemson. It’s just 1 credit hour, taken online and is super informative. You can also learn from talking to a finance professional, reading about these topics online, or discussing them with financially responsible adults (maybe your parents, grandparents, professors, etc.).

I hope this guide was informative as a structure for how a college student can grow in their financial wellness. Remember, as with all dimensions of wellness, you need to take active measures to improve your financial wellness; you won’t all of a sudden become financially responsible once you get a full-time job out of college. You need to work for it!

- Jon :)