Limited knowledge of personal finance and weak financial literacy skills are some of the concerns expressed by college students in a survey conducted by WalletHub. Findings in this study included:
- Nearly all (93 percent) of the students surveyed expressed concern about the economy.
- After graduation, the two major worries of students are not finding a job (36 percent) and educational loan debt (30 percent).
- One-fifth of students expressed a belief that a college education is less important since the COVID-19 pandemic.
- About half (52 percent) of the students responding voiced a concern that they were not learning enough about personal finance in school.
- As a result of the pandemic, the three major financial lessons learned were: (1) having emergency savings (44 percent); (2) not going into debt (23 percent); and (3) having a steady job (22 percent).
Some suggestions to address these concerns include:
- Financial anxiety can be reduced with simple personal finance actions: track your spending, cut back on unnecessary items, shop wisely, maintain a workable budget, pay off debts, and increase the amount in your emergency fund. Most importantly, emphasize the enjoyment of your connections and relationships with family and friends rather than on material items.
- Various career paths may not require a college degree; consider online courses, certification programs, trade schools, and other educational/training options.
- Be creative in your savings efforts with: (1) saving $5 a day instead of $150 a month; (2) using “no buy” days to save money; (3) paying for your drinks (or snacks) at home by setting aside the “price” in savings; (4) visualizing a savings goal and budget categories with a photo or post-It notes as a reminder; (5) create, or locate online, a poster that displays savings and debt categories to track your progress; (6) placing your credit card in a bag or container of water and place it in the freezer to avoid impulse purchases, then defrost it under warm water when you need to pay for an emergency.
- When applying and interviewing, clearly communicate the connection between your skills and experiences with the current and future needs of the job position and company. This requires strong research of the company and industry trends but will allow a person to better connect with their prospective employer. Also, be ready to talk about research projects, team experiences, and creative problem-solving.
- Although an increased number of personal finance classes are becoming available in schools, also seek out financial literacy education through community-based workshops, church outreach programs, and neighborhood organizations.
This research was the result of a nationally representative online survey of over 250 respondents. Responses were normalized so the sample would reflect U.S. demographics.
For additional information on the student money survey, click here.
- Have students talk to others to determine if their opinions are similar to those presented in this article.
- Have students create a role-playing drama that communicates actions to avoid various personal financial difficulties and career planning mistakes.
- Which of the survey results are similar to your current attitudes and experiences?
- What additional money and career topics not covered in this survey do you believe are of current concern for students and others?
With inflation, you will not be able to avoid higher prices. However, there is one action you can take that will not be affected by inflation. As advocated by legendary investor Warren Buffet, one of the strongest protections against inflation is investing in yourself. Obtaining additional career skills and improving existing ones will keep you in demand.
These added skills, unlike a lower value of the dollar, are inflation-proof. Various career abilities will be in demand no matter what the dollar is worth. These competencies can’t be taken away from you, and this investment in yourself is not taxed.
As a business owner or investor, the advice is similar. Offer a top-level product or service that will be in demand even in times of inflation. As noted by Buffet: when inflation is high the best thing you can do is be exceptionally good at something.
For additional information on an inflation strategy, click here.
- Have students talk to others to learn about the actions they have taken in their lives to enhance and expand their career skills.
- Have students research online sources available for free and low-cost classes and certification programs to enhance a person’s career skills.
- What actions are you taking to enhance or expand your career skills?
- What are examples of exceptional products or services that might be in demand even in times of inflation?
While many savings, investment, and retirement plans are available to achieve financial goals, other actions are possible to achieve personal ambitions. Financial advisors and counselors also recommend these actions:
- Learn a new skill, which can result in time away from shopping or expanding your career and income potential.
- Invest in friendships that does not involve a major monetary requirement as many free and low-cost activities are available.
- Participate in a reading challenge at your local library or through a community organization.
- Create art by getting involved with writing, photography, drawing, or sculpture through a community-based group.
Many activities are available to invest your time and energy without spending much money.
For additional information on non-financial goals, click here.
- Have students list free and low-cost activities that can enhance personal and career development.
- Have students talk to others for additional suggestions for free and cost-cost personal and career development activities.
- What factors might a person consider when selecting an activity to enhance personal and career development?
- Describe personal development activities that could result in enhanced career and income potential.
“Letting Employees Work from Home Can Be a Win-Win for Employers and Staff Alike.”
For employees, the option to telecommute appeals to a vast majority of full-time workers. Research by Global Workplace Analytics found that there are benefits for employees and employers when employees telecommute and work at home. For employees, the chief advantages are
- Reduced time commuting to work
- Lower costs of commuting to the office
- Less stress of juggling the demands of work and family
There are also benefits for employers including
- Less office space is needed because not every employee works in the office every day
- Lower expenses for rent or costs associated with ownership of office space
- A new way to attract talent because employees like the option of working at home
- Increased employee motivation and engagement because telecommuting is considered a benefit
The top five companies and organizations that encourage telecommuting are:
- United-Health Group
- S. Department of Agriculture
For more information about this article and a complete list of the top 20 companies for telecommuting, click here.
- You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to point out the benefits of telecommuting.
- Not everyone is a candidate to work at home. What traits and time management skills are needed if you obtain a job where you can work at home?
- Are there disadvantages to telecommuting and working at home?
Online selling, personal taxi services such as Uber, and renting a spare room to tourists, are examples of an increasing number of people generating or supplementing their incomes by trading goods and services online. This trend is often replacing traditional employment.
Measurement of the “gig economy” (working outside a formal work environment with temporary, short-term employment by independent workers) is difficult. Many situations are not reported in current labor statistics. In recent years, the fastest growth for self-employed workers has been in hairdressing, cleaning, and management consulting. While these services may be in the gig economy, this trend may also indicate growing formal self-employment in these fields.
Gig economy activities may start as temporary work due to a lay-off or a need to supplement household income. However, as time goes by, these self-employment positions can become a person’s ongoing employment status.
For additional information on the gig economy, click here.
- Have students describe examples of the “gig economy.”
- Have students explain the “gig economy” to others (including different generations) and get their reactions.
- What factors influenced the development of the gig economy?
- How might the gig economy affect a person’s financial planning activities?
“There are endless telltale signs of nervousness at work or in a job interview. . . “
This Business Insider article describes typical signs of nervousness that applicants experience during a job interview which include sweating, rapid blinking of the eyes, stammering, and many other symptoms. Hope Restle, the author of this article, provides 4 recommendations to help you remain calm during the job interview. Each recommendation is accompanied by more information about how the recommendation can help and real-world examples of how it can reduce stress and nervousness. Specifically,
- Recall a memory that inspires positive emotions.
- Create a secret gesture that corresponds with a positive experience you’ve had in your life.
- Silently repeat a mantra or saying to help you relax.
- Be interested in what the other person says.
At the end of this article, there is also a link to a video that describes questions that you should never ask during a job interview.
For more information, click here.
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to
- Help students prepare for a job interview.
- Point out that the 4 recommendations can also be used to reduce stress in other situations where someone gets nervous.
- Assume that you are applying for a new job that you really want. What can you do to remain calm and reduce that “nervous feeling” during a job interview?
- In today’s complex world, it is not uncommon for people to become nervous during a typical day. What can you do to reduce stress in your daily activities?
What is the Ticket to Work Program?
Social Security’s Ticket to Work program supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries age 18 through 64 who want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary and it helps people with disabilities progress toward financial independence.
The Ticket program is a good fit for people who want to improve their earning potential and are committed to preparing for long-term success in the workforce. Ticket to Work offers beneficiaries with disabilities access to meaningful employment with the assistance of Ticket to Work employment service providers called employment networks. If you are ready to go to work, there are people ready and waiting to help you.
For more information, click here.
- Ask students if they know someone who is disabled. Is he/she receiving any benefits from Social Security? Have they heard of the Ticket to Work program?
- Earning a living through employment is not something everyone can do. How does one decide whether to seek help from Ticket to Work service providers?
- People are more likely to lose their incomes due to disability than death. How does the Social Security Administration define disability to qualify for benefits?
- More than 80 percent of working Americans don‘t have disability income insurance or are not covered adequately. How can Ticket to Work program help these people?
What separates successful people from others? While favorable timing, personal connections, wealth or other advantages can lead to success, a person must also possess various success-oriented attitudes, behaviors, and skills. Some of the actions that can lead to academic, career, and personal success include:
- Display poise and confidence in your ability.
- Assess existing skills and knowledge.
- Set personal and career goals that align with your abilities.
- Develop a habit on ongoing learning.
- Take risks that allow you the opportunity to achieve at a higher level.
- Persevere in your work efforts
- Be prepared to face and go beyond obstacles.
- Rejection and criticism can lead to future success.
- Develop effective interpersonal skills. Your ability to interact, gain support of others, and develop trust is critical.
For additional information about a success path, click here.
- Have students ask people to describe their definition of “success.”
- Have students obtain suggested actions for personal and career success using online research.
- What are common mistakes people make in their personal financial planning and career planning activities?
- What actions do you plan to take to improve your personal and career success?
In many types of job interviews, a person will encounter decision-making situations. A case interview is one example, in which a prospective employee has the opportunity to demonstrate a capacity to think in a structured, creative manner when presented with a real-world problem.
When involved in a case interview, consider these actions:
- Carefully read the case to understand the background and the main problem of the situation.
- Plan a framework to organize your analysis and to show the relationship among key issues.
- Prepare alternative courses of action to show varied approaches and versatility in thinking.
- Use evidence to support your analysis and suggested actions.
- Clearly communicate your analysis process, conclusions, and recommendations.
For improved success in a case interview:
- prepare by using practice cases online and researching the organization’s culture.
- talk with people who have experienced the case interview process.
- ask questions of the interviewer to clarify key points.
- stay focused on the key question for the situation and main issues.
- avoid stock answers; popular frameworks and buzzwords may not be appropriate.
- emphasize the process, analysis, and actions rather than finding the “right” answer.
- prepare by researching current business events and organizational trends.
- practice the process with others who are willing to help.
For additional information on case interviews, click on the following links:
Case Interview Prep Guide
Video-Preparing for a Case Interview
- Have students describe business situations that might be the basis of case interviews.
- Have students create possible responses for potential case interview situations that they might be asked when applying for a job.
- For what types of employment positions might a case interview be used as part of the selection process?
- Explain how case interviews help employers select the best candidate for a job.
- What actions should be taken to prepare for a case interview?
U.S. employers hired the fewest number of workers in eight months in August and more Americans gave up the hunt for jobs . . .”
This Reuters article describes current employment trends and the effect it has on both the economy and the actions of the Federal Reserve. Specifically,
- Nonfarm payrolls increased 142,000 in August after expanding by 212,000 in July.
- The jobless rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.1 percent in August.
- The lower jobless rate in August was the result of more people dropping out of the labor force and not because of an increase in working Americans.
- The Federal Reserve Board and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will use the weakness in the unemployment numbers to keep interest rates at present levels in order to provide a stimulus for the economy.
Specific information about different industry sectors, labor force participation, the number of part-time employees, etc. is also provided in this article.
For more information go to http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/05/us-usa-economy-idUSKBN0H008E20140905
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to
- Reinforce how the nation’s economy can affect a person’s ability to obtain employment, develop a financial plan, and achieve both personal and financial goals.
- Assume you are unemployed and looking for a full-time position after graduating from college. What knowledge, skills, and experience do you have that will make an employer want to hire you?
- What steps can you take to provide financial security if you think the economy is about to experience a recession?