Financial Tips From Our Interns
Here’s what they wish they knew before starting college and entering the workforce.
“My favorite season in Kansas City is the summer because there are so many festivals and events going on downtown. It feels like there is always something free to do!”
“My favorite movie is Field of Dreams. When I was a kid, my family watched the movie together and then went to the Field of Dreams and played baseball together.”
“If I could own any animal in the world, it would be a capybara because there isn’t an animal they aren’t friends with, they sleep all day and are basically giant hamsters.”
When I started earning money from babysitting at 14 years old, my mom and dad told me that I should put at least 10% of my paycheck into a savings account because no one can predict what the future may entail. Now, after being in the working world for almost six years, I’ve set an increased threshold for myself at around 30% of my paycheck to be dedicated towards savings each month. I convince myself that 70% of my paycheck is my full earnings.
“My favorite movie is Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith because it’s the origin story of the greatest villain in film.”
Brandon's Tip: Begin investing your money as early as possible for retirement. The younger you are, the greater advantage you have when it comes to investing because your money has more time to grow, plus this growth is amplified by the power of compounding. Your retirement account’s value will begin to snowball as your capital gains and interest are reinvested.
For example, if you invest $100 monthly, while earning a 10% return, and interest is compounded annually, then when you’re 65 you will have around $1,055,000 if you begin when you’re 18, around $535,000 if you begin when you’re 25, and around $200,000 if you begin when you’re 35.
Although you can’t open your own account until you are 18, you can still begin investing while you’re in high school through a custodial Roth IRA or a joint brokerage account that your parent signs. Retirement might seem far off, but you have a rare opportunity to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more on the same investment simply by starting early.
“If I could own any animal, it would be a stingray. They are one of my favorite animals to see when I go to aquariums; they’re so carefree and fun to observe. If I had a massive aquarium, I’d love to own one.”
Nicole’s Tip: My tip for students in high school is to get into the habit of setting up spending goals. Budgeting can be tricky as a high schooler; you likely don’t have many fixed expenses and no long-term goals to save up for. Setting goals will make you less likely to spend excess money. Getting into this habit will make budgeting as you get older easier.
CommunityAmerica taught me about the wide variety of resources available to increase my knowledge. This internship has taught me the value of two main skills when working in the real world: taking initiative and being flexible. When starting a new role, it can feel daunting to suggest ideas that go against the grain of what others are doing. However, your managers will appreciate your insight, even if it’s not quite what they are looking for. In the “real world,” expectations and goals change frequently, so make sure to keep an open mind when working on projects. Being flexible is the best way to learn!
“My favorite movie is Django Unchained. It never lets me down. In my mind, you can’t beat a protagonist that’s funny, confident and fights for a better life for himself and the ones he loves.”
Bryce's Tip: Achieving financial freedom starts with the simple concept of spending less than you make. The only way to do this is to know exactly how much money you are making and to actively track your spending so you can balance the two. There are plenty of apps that can simplify budgeting.
The next thing I’d encourage everyone to do is educate themselves on the importance of credit whether that means researching on CommunityAmerica’s website, listening to a podcast, or asking friends and family. A good credit score can make all the difference later in life when you’re trying to rent an apartment, buy a car, or buy a house. I wish I had been more informed about credit going into college. I hope younger people will help themselves by following these simple steps once they graduate and are on their own.