When I'm not consuming computer science material, I'm a finance junkie. When doing homework and sports aren't on TV, I'm watching Bloomberg or CNBC. If Personal finance is on, I'm even more engaged. From Dave Ramsey to Suze Orman, I can't get enough of their common sense positive and humorous shows. To many of us, it may be a conjecture of "Who cares about finance, I'm more concerned about algorithms!" However, no matter what our field is, it "pays" to care about finance (this blog is full of puns, be foreworn).
A friend of mine and I were in a deep conversation about the "new" troubles that face postgraduates. Even graduates with degrees in high demand fields such computer science face the problems of how to tackle the financial issues of growing up. As a graduate and stellar student of our program my friend dedicated much of his time to his important academic career like any other student here in UTCS. However, once he signed that full time offer, he embarked upon another course, the course of the "real world". Where he was faced with the challenges of getting an apartment, buying furniture, and looking to finance a new car. One major issue he had was that he had no existing credit history. As a student who was able to cash flow his schooling, the idea of credit and a credit score sickened him as he resented the idea of having debt.
By no means, as hot of a topic it is, I am not endorsing you to get a credit card or start racking up copious amounts of debt, that's silly! However, there are plenty of advantages to having a credit score and keeping your finances in line. What better time to do it and learn that than in college? Many of you in the UTCS community will come across internships, co-ops, and research positions that will provide some sort of income. While this money for many may go toward the routine expenses of life and funding your college education, you may have some left over cash that you are wondering what to do with. Should you go on that spring break vacation, buy that smart watch, or even give back to project giving tree? Whatever you choose to do with your cash, keep in mind the beauty of compounding. Putting your money away in the proper investment tool can produce significant returns in the future!
A good number of you are probably saying, "What extra cash? I am stuck eating those Dijkstra Donuts you mentioned in your last blog!" For my friends in search of cost saving tips, there are plenty of things to do to nickel and dime your spending. From setting a budget and assigning a place for every dollar you get, to eating out less (an even better reason to explore the CS orgs in the department with copious amounts of pizza and cookies), to making your own coffee. Bye bye pumpkin spice lattes and java chips...There are plenty of ways to re-evaluate your financial situation and move forward.
Anyway you slice it, finances are important and something we cannot ignore. Even as college students and future tech professionals, paying attention to finances will pay off in the future. So start now, take advantage of campus resources and "invest" in your future.