Money is intricately tied to your lifestyle. And true Freedom means living your life based on your own set of unique values, not someone else’s. There are always people out there with money advice for college students — and that includes your peers.
It’s natural to be apprehensive about heading off to college for the first time. During your next years of your schooling, you’ll craft an identity for yourself. Hopefully, you’ll discover new passions and meet lifelong friends. But you’re also bound to run into some people with strong opinions on how to live life. In this spirit, here are the five people you’ll meet in college — and why they’re wrong about money.
Type #1: The Future Professional
You can catch the future professional pulling all-nighters at the library, even during syllabus week. They’re usually aiming for medical school, law school or bust.
Did they choose this life? If they did, then more power to them. But all too often, they’re under enormous family pressure to get an advanced degree because their mother or father is a doctor. Or Uncle David has his own law practice, and that’s the example the parents think their young college student should follow.
The future professional doesn’t see an alternative to following this rigorous path, whether they chose it or not. But here’s a little secret: You don’t have to limit your definition of success to a six-figure salary and a job that signifies high social status. While doctors and lawyers do great work, there are numerous other ways to contribute to society. And you can achieve Financial Freedom regardless of how much money you make. You just need to know how much you need to live your ideal lifestyle.
Type #2: The Super Senior
On the other hand, some people take school a bit less seriously but never want to leave. Or, at least they never want to leave the parties. Super seniors stay in school for an extra year or two and often harbor some crazy fear of going into the “real world.” As if their college years somehow aren’t real.
Convinced that life will suck once they leave college, super seniors go around telling everyone to make the most of “the best four years of your life.” Now, college will surely give you some amazing memories, but you have to believe your best years lie ahead.
Cash Flow — regardless of how you create it — gives you power. And not just the power to amass commodities you don’t need. The real power comes in money’s ability to give you the lifestyle you truly desire. Doesn’t working toward and achieving this lifestyle sound just as good, if not better, than spending the rest of your days hiding out in school?
Type #3: The Trust Fund Kid
Some people have access to more advantages than others. Trust fund babies often coast through college, knowing that no bad grade can threaten the large inheritance they have waiting for them.
Just like the super senior, the trust fund baby spends a lot of time on “extracurricular activities,” but for different reasons. Their family gave them security, perhaps a little too much. While there’s nothing wrong with parents making sure their children are well-off, money can provide much more than just a security blanket.
Instead of goofing off, trust funders can use what they have to explore their interests, find avenues for future philanthropic efforts or learn how to invest so their children have a bright future. Unfortunately, many wealthy parents don’t instill this attitude in their children. With great money comes great Freedom to pursue your dreams and make a positive impact on the world. It’s a shame too many people waste this opportunity.
Type #4: The Eager Freshman
In college, everyone wants to show off a bit and prove to other people that they “have it all figured out.”All too often, freshmen jump right into a major just to give the impression that they’re working toward a concrete goal.
But did you know an estimated 75 percent of college students change their major at least once before they graduate? This statistic shows that most people don’t have everything (if anything) figured out as freshmen. And that’s perfectly fine. In fact, diving into an academic major too quickly, or for the wrong reasons, can mean more years of school in the end if you later decide you want to follow a different path.
More time in college means more money that often translates to more debt. And we always advise people to stay debt-free so they can build wealth faster. Instead of rushing into something, explore different options early in your college career. Don’t be afraid to take a wide variety of courses that correspond to your interests. There’s also nothing wrong with taking a gap year!
Type #5: The Idealist
Like it or not, the world revolves around money. While we all need to ponder what the “ideal life” really looks like for us, we also need to consider the more practical aspects that underlie our conception of an ideal lifestyle. Namely, we need to know how to get there.
Idealists populate the philosophy departments and coffee shops of universities. They have wonderful insights on what it means to live life to the full but often lack the know-how to actually do it.
More often than not, it starts with money. Most of the world sees money as something everyone needs to buy food, clothing and shelter. In other words, money simply helps us get by. But those who understand The Game of Money know that it can also help you Buy Your Time Back, so you don’t have to live based on someone else’s conception of an ideal life.
By choosing to invest for Cash Flow and Living Within Our Means, we can all get there. But it certainly requires some practical knowledge.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MindShift.money.
image credit: Bigstock/Rawpixel.com
Sam Bojarski is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in national publications, as well as local newspapers and magazines in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. A dedicated news junkie, he’s always on the lookout for how current events shape the financial aspects of our lives.