Top 5 Investing Tips for College Students

collegeThere are all kinds of reasons why students might want to wait until after college to begin their adventures in the investment world. For one thing, many don’t have two nickels to rub together after the cost of tuition, books, and other expenses related to school (not to mention the cost of living). In addition, they probably lack the knowledge required to make informed decisions about investments, and the likely have little time to devote to learning about the complex world of investing, much less monitoring and maintaining a diverse portfolio. And yet, if you’re currently working towards a brighter future through your academic pursuits, you might have heard that it’s never too soon to start saving for retirement and making your money work for you. So here are just a few tips for the college student interested in turning an eye towards the distant horizon where finances are concerned.

  1. Take a class. You are currently in the perfect place to learn the ins and outs of investing, so think about taking this opportunity to sign up for a class on finance, economics, or even investing if one is available on your campus. This will start you off on the right foot when it comes to putting your money where it will do the most good.
  2. Talk to a money manager. Even if you know something about investing and you have some ideas about where you want your money to go, it’s not a bad idea to get a professional opinion. Many money managers are perfectly willing to offer free consultations in the hopes of getting your business, so set up appointments with several in your area. You may end up getting the advice you need to move forward on your own, or you could find someone that you trust enough to manage your money for you.
  3. Consider different investments. It is said that diversification is the key to growing your money in the long term, so you’ll definitely want to consider your many options, from stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to retirement savings accounts like Roth IRAs. Each has benefits and drawbacks that you need to be aware of before you commit your funds.
  4. Join an investment club. There are two types of investment clubs, those that simply provide a forum for members to share information about investing so that all can benefit in their personal investments, and those that require members to contribute funds on a regular basis (monthly, for example) so that the pooled money can be invested on behalf of the entire group. Both can be beneficial to you as an investor, but in different ways, so it pays to read up on the particulars before you join such a club.
  5. Live frugally. So, this is kind of a way of life for most college students already, but there may be ways to cut back on expenses that you haven’t yet considered. For example, eCampus, CampusBookRentals, and Chegg.com, all offer textbooks for rent at up to 80% off the cover price, which is a great way to save on reading materials for class. And you can arrange carpools each semester to cut back on the cost of transportation. Examining every aspect of your life can help you to sock away some money, which can then be put towards investing in your future. So look for ways to live more frugally while you’re in college and you’ll reap the benefits down the road.

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