Joshua C. – Oxford Academy

Living Debt-Free

The looming threat of debt hovers over today’s high school students as college comes creeping closer and closer. In modern society, it’s become commonplace for college students to live with the burden of student loans for years on end. 70% leave college with student debt; over 44 million Americans hold a total of $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. On average, it takes 20 whole years before the heavy cost of college is fully paid off! But it doesn’t have to be that way. By becoming financially literate, you can make smart money decisions and avoid the common pitfalls of the real world. As I’ve learned from the Nuvision workshops, it certainly is possible for young adults to become better savers and to remain debt-free.

Invest in yourself and your future, starting right now! As Oxford’s awesome Nuvision ambassador, Rose Macias, illustrated for us, the earlier you start to save money, the better. For one, since the current inflation rate is 2-3% every year, any money you have that’s just sitting around is literally losing value over time. Save that money in a bank account or invest it in stocks so that your money makes you more money. Budget how much you want to save for your future first, then spend what’s left over, not the other way around. Secondly, by the power of compound interest, consistent early saving can multiply your money over time. For example, if you save monthly for 20 years then wait 20 years, you will have up to 10 times as much saved as if you had waited 20 years first and then saved for 20 years.

Young adults worried about college often put off saving in order to pay off their debts first, but the right financial choice is to save early, even in just small amounts, because it will add up and be worthwhile in the end. That means that starting to save money and invest in your future should begin A.S.A.P.!

With the cost of college continually increasing, students should seek any opportunity of financial aid, grant, and scholarship money to offset the tens of thousands of dollars that getting an education entails. To remain debt-free, high schoolers need to start thinking about how to manage money, minimize costs, and maximize free money. Young people can become financially literate by discussing and taking an active role in the family budget, going to Nuvision workshops that teach essential concepts, and educating themselves by managing their own money in their daily lives to build the financial skills necessary for preparing for college and the real world. They should also research and find ways to apply and qualify for various forms of financial aid. Programs, such as Questbridge, want to help students be able to pay for college! When considering all the options of college tuition, room and board situations, acquiring textbooks, and more, the next generation must be thoughtful with their money to be debt-free.

Thanks to the Nuvision workshops and essay challenge, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to save money and remain debt-free. Young adults have the capacity to budget and plan for college and the future, but they must be financially literate and wise with managing money.

Invest in yourself first by saving and take advantage of free money. Be smart!