Budgeting money helps future

This is the second column that I am writing to you, my fellow Mercyhurst students. We are all facing hard economic times. Everyone from international students to the average middle class student is here just trying to complete an education.

Last time, I told you of the dim economic prospects we face as members of Generation Y. But I promised that I would tell you my student economic secrets. Well, I am about to lay my cards on the table.

This column deals with what you can do to increase your prospects of having a comfortable retirement 50 years from now. I know 50 years is a long way away, but the new retirement age is 70. Not 60.

The first thing you can do is set a budget, because it is a really good idea to help make yourself hold onto money. Knowing your expenses and being careful with the credit and/or debit card will make your life a whole lot easier. Try to have some kind of plan each day or week. Either way works fine, as long as you do something.

Budgeting your money helps you keep track of your spending and will allow you to keep tabs on your savings for that dinner with your love interest. It’s also important to remember to keep some money stashed away for a rainy day.

Now, after you have a plan for your money, what about the job market and retirement? Try to find a good job or some kind of long-term volunteer work to build that resume for the actual job search. Trust me – it’ll make you marketable to employers.

You can also start making small-time investments. A year ago, I would have said to wait until the market improves. However, now is the best time. Now that the market has somewhat improved, stocks are low enough that you can purchase “penny stocks” and increase your stake in the market.

I wouldn’t advise going all out into the market with your budgeted money, though. That would be financial suicide. Investing now helps keep you secure for the future so you can retire at 70 and not work at Wal-Mart until you’re in the grave.

As Americans, we have a strong overall work ethic. Let’s take small steps as individuals so we can take larger steps as a country. If you follow my advice, you are on your way to financial security.