THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS
"First-Year College Students Financial Checklist- Part I"
With summer fast coming to a close, many once high school grads are about to declare ‘independence day’ as first-year college students. Along with increased freedom comes increased responsibility. You can offer a helping hand by sharing these 10 top financial tips with your favorite college student:
- Whether you are paying your way with a part-time job, student loans or receiving an allowance from your parents, it is time you take control of your money by setting up a budget. The best way to do this is by using a software application such as Mint.com. This software downloads, categorizes and graphs all of your spending automatically everyday. You’ll know where you’re spending without spending any effort!
- As soon as you get to your school, open a checking account. Many college-town banks offer free checking for students and some may even offer $25 to $50 to open an account. If available, be sure to get overdraft protection. This feature allows you to avoid expensive fees for bounced checks. You don’t plan to bounce checks? I hope not but get the coverage just in case! Also, choose a bank that has convenient ATM locations so you won’t be paying fees when you use another bank’s ATMs. Be sure to keep a running balance of all expenditures, including ATM withdrawals. This will help make certain you don’t have bounced checks!
- Class text books can cost you hundreds of dollars…or not. Once you know what text books you’ll need, do an online search for discount new books or used books. Amazon.com is a good place to start but there are many other sources as well. At the end of the semester, you can then sell your books online and recoup part of your costs. One of my associates sold a $170 retail book for $70.
- Get in the habit of saving some money each month. This is perhaps the most important habit to establish if you want to become wealthy once you venture into the real world. Even if you are saving only $25 to $50 per month, this is a great start. Have your bank set up a money market account for this purpose and have the funds automatically transferred from your checking account each month. This automated system is the key to creating consistency in your savings program. If you have earned income, a ROTH IRA is an excellent choice.
- If you are renting a house or apartment, you should realize that your 'stuff' is not insured. This includes your TV, sound system and furniture. If you want to protect these items from fire or theft, you will need renter's insurance. This coverage is not expensive and should cost you no more than $100 per year. Choose replacement cost coverage versus actual cash value. If your sound system is stolen, replacement cost coverage will allow you to buy a new system whereas cash value coverage will only reimburse you for the value of your 'used' system. For more information about renters insurance and free quotes, go to www.rentlaw.com or have your parents put you in contact with their property and casualty insurance agent.
Next week, I’ll complete this discussion with the remaining five financial tips.
Stewart H. Welch, III, CFP, AEP, is the founder of THE WELCH GROUP, LLC, which specializes in providing fee-only financial advice and management to families throughout the United States. Mr. Welch has been recognized by Money, Worth, Mutual Funds Magazine and Medical Economics as one of the top financial advisors in the country. He is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Rich (Alpha Books) and J.K. Lasser's New Rules for Estate and Tax Planning (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). Visit his Web Site www.welchgroup.com. Consult your financial advisor before acting on this advice.
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JT has been in radio for over 30 years, both as an on-air personality and Program Manager. He grew up in Pittsburgh and then attended Clarion University with the hopes of becoming a dentist. After spending time with friends at the campus radio station, he quickly changed his major to communications. “Speech class was a lot easier than chemistry and physics”, says JT. And as they say…the rest is history.JT has lived in 10 different cities during his career including Miami, Washington D.C., Cincinnati, Nashville, Birmingham and Miami.
In addition to hosting a morning talk show, he has also worked as an announcer in Top-40, Rock, Smooth Jazz, and Country radio. You can also look for JT in the movies “Hoffa” and “Striking Distance”.
JT and his wife Judy have two children. Alexandra is married and teaches 5th grade. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and a former 3 Time National Championship winning football player for the team…ROLL TIDE! When not sitting in front of a microphone, JT can be found with his family most of the time. He absolutely enjoys his recreation too! Look for JT on the golf course, in the woods hunting or on the beach somewhere. “No doubt, I am truly blessed with an amazing family and give all the glory to God and my relationship with Jesus Christ! I really love what I do every day”.
Producer Wade stepped into the radio world nearly 5 years ago. He got his start as an intern at a sports production company and took the leap into radio as a Play-by-play announcer for the Georgia State University Women's Basketball Team. He made his way back to the Birmingham area via a radio cluster in Northeast Georgia. Wade has a degree from the University of Alabama in Management Information Systems and uses it daily to contribute in as many ways as possible to the show. He was born and raised in Cullman and his family still resides in the area.
In addition to producing Alabama's Morning News with JT, Wade is the Sports Director for News Radio 105.5 WERC and Talk Radio 105.9. He host's our Friday night "The 5th Quarter Show" providing the state of Alabama with post game scores from the High School fields and previews from the College stadiums.
In his spare time, you can find Wade around town at a local restaurant, bar, or music venue. He loves to spend time with his friends doing everything from attending Barons' games to watching a band at Iron City or Tin Roof. "I love what I do for a living. Any job that allows me to talk for a living while attending all the events I would attend for fun anyway is the perfect job for me!"