Personal Finances & Credit
Assistant professor in the Department of Personal Financial Planning
- Learn how to set financial goals: These goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable,
Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Specific means that you should identify the motivation
for the goal, make it personal. Measurable means that a dollar value should be tied
to the goal. Achievable means that it is something you can accomplish. Don’t shoot
for the stars right out of the gate. Set moderate goals you can accomplish and create
some momentum. Realistic means that you are likely to achieve the goal. There are
a lot of goals that are achievable, but not realistic. For a goal to realistic it
has to motivated by something that is personally important. Timely means that the
goal needs to be tied to a timeline. This helps you monitor your progress as you move
towards completing the goal. While goal setting seems simple, this is a step that
is overlooked by many, causing people to get stuck in a financial rut.
- Become a planned saver: While you are in school it is more about developing the habit
of saving than stashing large amounts of money. Whatever you can save make sure it
is part of your plan, pay yourself first, and repeat. If you create the habit now
it is more likely to stay a part of your plan as your resources increase.
- Make positive steps towards building your credit: One of the best ways to build credit
as a student is with a credit card. With that being said, if used inappropriately
credits cards can also be a good way to damage your credit. The two main factors impacting
your credit score are payment history and outstanding balances. So, if you are going
to use a credit card to build credit always pay on time and keep your balances low.
Because credit scores will impact your ability to be financially successful in the
future (may impact your ability to get a job, buy a car, buy a house, insurance rates,
etc.) it is important to learn to use credit to your benefit. Some tips for success:
- Make sure that that limit on your credit card is low. Just because you get approved
for a certain amount of credit doesn’t mean you can afford that much credit. You can
always call your credit card company and have them lower your limit. A good rule of
thumb for those starting out with credit cards is to have a limit no more than what
they have in their saved reserves. For example if you have $500 dollars set aside
for emergencies then you can set your credit limit to $500 dollars. This ensures that
you can always pay your credit card balance in full, even if it’s maxed out.
- Limit your monthly transactions to a small amount and pay the card off in full every
month. This shows that you can use credit responsibly; again the two biggest determinants
of score are payment history and outstanding balances. If you are paying on time and
keeping your card paid off your credit score will benefit.
- Set up auto payments. This ensures that you will never miss or be late on a payment.
- Get a clear picture of where you are financially: How much money is coming into your
account each month? How much is going out? If you don’t know exact numbers, it’s time
to do some tracking. Tracking can be as simple as using a pencil and paper or become
as complicated as you choose to make it. Many people who are fond of using their smartphones
might enjoy a tracking app, such as Mint.com. Once you know how much you are spending
each month, you can make some adjustments if you are over spending.
- Understand your credit: Pull your credit report and verify the information. Everyone
is entitled to one free credit report from each of the three main credit reporting
bureaus each year. You can pull them all at once or you can pull one every 3 months
from a different bureau. Annualcreditreport.com is the ONLY authorized source for
your free credit report. Once you have your credit report, you can make sure all the
accounts listed belong to you and are the correct balances. If you find a mistake,
follow the directions on the credit reporting bureaus website to launch an investigation.
If you need assistance reading your credit report, consider reaching out to a professional.
Texas Tech students can contact Red to Black for help with their credit reports. Red
to Black and TG will be co-hosting a free credit report review day on March 31st in
the TLPDC. More information will be available on the Red to Black website at www.r2b.ttu.edu.
Entrepreneurship & Business Success
Michael R. Ryan,
Associate Professor of Practice in Management and
Executive Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Business
- It is not a closed club: Entrepreneurship crosses the full spectrum of domains. There
are entrepreneurs that practice their craft in every field that is studied at Texas
Tech. It is also a discipline that can be taught and learned. While business practices
need to emerge to support the entrepreneur, they also can be learned or secured after
the initial product or service has been created. That being said, it is still critical
that good business practices be employed to sustain the newly developed entity.
- Find out what the customers want: Something that cannot be emphasized enough; you
are not an entrepreneur until a transaction occurs. Creating a product or service
might make you an inventor. Until someone is willing to exchange his or her money
for what you created, you are not an entrepreneur. Creativity is important and with
practice can be developed further. If the creation does not meet a need (or create
a perceived need) that encourages others to part with their hard earned money, you
will not be an entrepreneur. There are few shortcuts. The most successful entrepreneurs
do their homework exploring the potential market and devising a sound business plan
to exploit that potential.
- Less is often more: Very few entrepreneurs hit home runs. Most simply aim to get on
base. The mark of good entrepreneurs is that they identify a need and fill that need.
Initially, they keep it simple. If you bring a good product to market and the customers
embrace it, you will have ample time in the future to develop upgrades and additional
features. If you try to address every conceivable nuance and feature, you may never
get out of the starting gate. Consider the examples in the electronics industry; upgrades
and additional features are seen as possibilities for future product development.
- The bottom line is, if you can discover a need, verify that the public will see the
value and purchase your product, and stay focused on the goal you will have the potential
to be a successful entrepreneur.
New Year, New You: Health
The Department of Personal Financial Planning in the College of Human Sciences educates students on the need to focus financial knowledge on families and the achievement
of their goals.
Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in personal financial planning are registered
by the CFP Board. Students graduating from a CFP Board-Registered Program are eligible to sit for
the CFP® Certification Examination.
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