What Should I Teach College Students About Money?
If you had two hours to teach a group of college students about personal finance, what would you tell them?
I’m asking because I’ve been entrusted with this awesome task. I was invited to speak to a local group of college women and teach a “budgeting workshop.” I spoke at a similar event about two years ago, and I’ve got my old materials, but there’s so much I want to add on both philosophical and practical levels.
I want to include a smattering of a theology of money (they are Christians), big-picture stuff about debt, saving, and investing, and something like the Ramsey baby steps. I want to give them tools to create a working budget. I want to give them a book list. I want to convince them that materialism is stupid. I want to blow their minds with the power of compounding interest. I want to make them change their majors to something useful. I want them to dump their loser boyfriends who are terrible with money (where applicable). I want them to stop taking out outrageous student loans. I want them to start giving away money before they even have much of it, so that it’s a habit and a value when they do have it. I want them to know that contentment can take you further than the best budget.
Clearly my goals are a little ambitious and perhaps too personal for a two-hour group workshop. So I’m asking our wise & wonderful readers: what would you tell these young women? What do you wish someone would’ve told you?
I wish I would’ve understood the power of compounding interest earlier in life. I know we learned about it in math class and probably even a “money management” course. But I wish someone would’ve taken me by the shoulders, given me a good shake, and told me that you can rip dryer sheets in half all you want, but you aren’t going to build wealth without the magical combination of time and interest. I’m think about starting off the night with the old, “Would you rather have $1 million now, or a penny doubling every day for a month?” routine, followed by CHARTS & GRAPHS!
Help me set these ladies on the right track. What’s your best advice for them?