Financial Behavior and Life Satisfaction of College Students – by Renee Ingram

By March 14, 2018 voices No Comments

The financial behaviors of college students are typically at risk due to their new adulthood and lack of experience in having total control of their finances. Many times students are not financially prepared by parents or any type of school course; therefore, many students “adopt risky behaviors, overspending their budgets, accruing excessive credit card debt ad failing to pay off debts on time” (Shim et al., 2009). In addition to lack of preparation, the financial behaviors of college students are constantly targeted by different outlets of deception. The outlets that typically scam college students are as follows: credit card scams, “get rich quick” social media schemes, easy technological access to sending and spending money, and many other contributions to college debt and financial stress. The media depicts college as a place where young adults to go out into the world and discover their independence. However, going out on adventures regularly to restaurants, bars, parks, and other local attractions is quite expensive for someone who spends their days in classes rather than a full-time job. Each semester students must make room in their budget for books, access codes, school supplies, printing, food, and housekeeping supplies. Additionally, many students must consider the cost of transportation, bills, and rent.  Students are often forced to set aside things they may want for things they need to sustain themselves and their education. Poor spending habits only add to the overwhelming stress college students experience, and can potentially determine the future financial success or burdens they may encounter. Thus, creating financial planning tools and programs within schools as early as freshman year of high school leading up to freshman year of college could substantially lower the burden of financial irresponsibility.

From personal experience, I have never taken any type of financial planning courses. I was lucky because ironically my mother works for the city of Montgomery in finance; therefore, my whole childhood consisted of budgeting and counting coupons. However, the lack of educational preparedness is typical of most students because only a handful of schools have required courses in financial planning available to students. I feel as though it is important as change agents to raise the issue as to why. Is it a lack of funding? Is it not considered important by school systems?  How do we change this fact? What programs can we suggest to the schools as a start up?  These questions are crucial to raise because the purpose of high school is to prepare students for college. However, many of the students who are uninformed of how to effectively budget and spend end up dropping out of college from financial stress.  According to (Xiao et al., 2009), “financial difficulties may also cause students to withdraw from college. In a qualitative study of officials at twelve universities, officials at seven of the 12 reported that students who had decided to leave school cited financial concerns as a reason”. Thus, the relationship of financial behavior and life satisfaction of college students is a social issue in need of attention.

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