I was texting my little sister yesterday and was surprised to find out she didn’t have school today! I knew today was Election Day but why did that mean they didn’t have school? As I thought it over I realized it’s because it’s Election Day! But not because of how amazing an American right it is and everyone should go out and vote but because in Hawaii many public schools are used as polling places for the various districts. And I think that’s kind of amazing to make it easy for people to vote as many people don’t specifically get time off to vote. I also learned via the internet earlier today that the state of Washington mails in their ballots. That’s really cool because it puts the accountability and the right and power directly into the hands of all their constituents which I can relate to because I completed my mail-in ballot last week. And it’s an interesting process since I’m away, I don’t see the political ads on TV, the radio or people sign-waving on the streets (is that a thing only in Hawaii?). And I think politics are so messy with negative campaigning and fighting to control the power cajoling during the campaigning and not following through during their terms. And that’s something we hope to change, that in college, in life we see how truly valuable hard-working people with good intentions are and being fair. Voting is a right we all, over 18 year olds, have and must use to the fullest, WE decide how our future will be by choosing the ones we believe will do the best to fulfill our county’s, district’s, state’s, and nation’s needs. Here’s a cool video that promotes voting among young people. Everyone has a story and is affected by the daily actions and bill politicians constantly argue over, they are our voice and we need to choose them wisely to help us tackle the issues we want to fix, and there are many as the video shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rijpU5yD55I
Voting is also just one of the many adult-like responsibilities being a college student with. It’s a lot to realize how different college is from high school but there are still so many things that we need help figuring out. Money is the first and biggest hurdle to learn and deal with as a college student. It’s crazy to think about how much money it costs to attend higher education now and the multitude of ways we must figure out to afford it. And then there’s spending and living money we college students need to have, but we must learn to budget our money to last the year, going out to Silk Thai or Trapper’s Sushi, Met cookies and more.
Last week I attended a Panhellenic sponsored Finance Talk by Professor Linda Livingston titled Saving, Investments, and Retirement. She brought up a lot of points I didn’t realize that I think are invaluable to know. Saving is short-term, and you should have enough savings to live off of for 8 months without pay! And the best way to save is through credit unions (shoutout to my Mom for signing me up for a credit union)! Credit unions are non-profit federally insured and way better than banks because they have shared branches, higher interest rates than banks and no hidden fees. Linda then goes on to explain savings should NEVER be used in investments. The stock market is volatile, but it’s the only market to invest in and make a gain, you have to be patient and wait for the return driver, you gotta play the game. And in the market, the cheapest one is the BEST one, if you play it safe there’s no way for you to win! Retirement does seem so far off into the future, we’re only in college right now! But it’s never too early to save, to think about paying traditional IRAs, paying taxes at your retirement with a tax deduction now or ROTH IRAs, paying taxes now but not at your retirement. This summary was just that a quick introduction into the many opportunities and pitfalls of dealing with finances, something in the very near future for us. And I think the least we can do now is start saving, we don’t want to be broke college students forever.