Saving money can seem an impossible task, especially when you’re a college or university student. And even if you can scrape together some extra cash, where do you put it? A recent Co-operators survey found that only a quarter of young Canadians feel confident in choosing the right investment opportunities.
It’s hard to know where to start. But don’t worry; here’s a crash course in making bank – while you still make the grade.
Cover your bases first
Before combing for wiggle room (and extra money) in your budget, make sure that the income you do have is fulfilling your must-have requirements, including textbooks, rent and groceries. And budget for some stylish clothing and social outings. You’re a student, after all.
Start early and invest regularly
If you have money left over when your “must haves” are covered, lucky you. But, before you celebrate over some fine dining, consider saving toward an emergency fund or paying off outstanding, high-interest debt. Still have money left over? Luckier you.
Early, consistent investing in a Tax-Free Savings Account for big purchases, a Registered Education Savings Plan for post-secondary education or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan for retirement is a no-brainer. Even small investments are smart investments because of something called compounding interest.
Here’s how it works: If you’re 20 years old and you invest $2,400 a year for 10 years, earning a five per cent return, you’d have almost $175,000 by the time you’re 65. But, if you did the same thing starting at age 35, you’d earn just under $85,000 by the time you’re 65. That’s the power of investing early.
Consult a financial professional
Speaking with a financial professional can lead to an A+ for your future self. Beyond helping you maintain your savings throughout school, you’ll have a head start for what comes next – whether it’s further education, a big trip or a first home. The expert can help you identify and prioritize your life goals, tell you how much to put aside to meet them and keep you on track for success based on what makes sense for you.
For students who are already juggling a million things and who might not have the extra income to save, a simple and straightforward approach can often help you yield steady results.
Find more financial planning tips at cooperators.ca