Survey Finds Most College Students Believe They Have Good Finance Management Skills: Is this really the case?

This may fall under the label of “college students think they know everything”, but recent studies have shown that, contrary to what THEY believe, they definitely do not, at least when it comes to managing their money. The American Institute of CPAs conducted an anonymous online survey of 751 college students who plan on enrolling in classes this year. What did they find? While over half of the respondents rated themselves as having good or excellent financial skills, almost the same percentage reported having less than $100 in their bank account. Not exactly a case for top-notch management, is it?

The Disconnect Between Reality and Belief

Approximately 57 percent of survey responders said they have “good” or “excellent” financial management skills. The bottom tier, a measly 12 percent said they have “poor” or “terrible” financial management skills. But when questioned further? The answers became a little more interesting and perhaps more telling of the true state of college student finances. 11 percent had recently missed a bill payment deadline. 38 percent said they had borrowed money from a friend or loved one in the past year. And of course, 48 percent had only $100 or less in their bank account.

Sure, you could argue that this might not be too uncharacteristic of young adults who still live at home and have yet to move away to college. You could make the case that they had probably already paid for their tuition and drained their savings doing so. And you might get excited by the other results of the survey – 99 percent said good finance management was very important. At least they know it should be a priority. But let’s state the facts. College students don’t make their financial health a major priority.

Teaching College Students Financial Literacy

How many college students do you know follow a budget? How many limit their nights out, shop frugally and use their spring break to work extra in order to boost their savings? While there definitely are some finance-focused college students out there, it doesn’t seem to be the norm. On the other hand, how many twenty-somethings do you know are drowning in debt? How many are overwhelmed but still can’t seem to stop the spending?

The way college students spend their money can have major ramifications for the rest of their life. For one, they can get into major credit card debt that could take years to pay off. College is the first time the credit bureaus have been able to pursue them, and for the most part it’s an easy sell. You mean this magic card can buy me things even when my bank account is empty? Sign me up!

Also, college students are making financial decisions at some of the most formative years of their life. They are establishing their own identity as independent adults. If they get into the habit of spend spend spend rather than save save save, this destructive mindset can carry over into their later years. Sure, college is a time to have fun, kick up your heels and enjoy being young – but it’s not time to break the bank and ruin the rest of your young adult life when the bills start coming in the mail.

College students should be taught actual financial literacy such as how to budget. They should know the importance of an emergency fund. They should be educated on the dangers of excessive credit card use. It is not wise to send young adults into the world without the tools they need – in this case knowledge – to combat pressures of society. In reality, the education should start in high school or even earlier and the importance of proper money management established at a young age. Make it a priority to educate yourself if you feel a lack of knowledge in your life, and pass this information on to your children. Life is too short to spend it paying back unnecessary debt.

Missing Money: 5 Facts You Need to Know

The flow of money is so complex that even the most meticulous people sometimes cannot explain where their money is. It could be lying dormant in a state property fund. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), states are collectively holding $42 billion in unclaimed money in the United States. This money ranges from IRS refunds, dormant savings accounts, uncashed payroll checks, life insurance payouts among other funds.

Joshua Joyce, an administrator of unclaimed property at the Arizona Department of Revenue, said that this is a growing area in the U.S. and it is surprising to learn just how many people are unaware of the existence of government programs. To this effect, there are 5 facts that every U.S. citizen must know to help reduce the amount of missing money held by the U.S government.

Do Not Assume That There Is Nothing To Claim

In her book, The Little Book of Missing Money, Mary Pitman states that the biggest hurdle for the government is that people assume that this issue does not concern them. She proceeds by enlightening her readers that it is possible and extremely easy for money to end up in the state property department, especially since some states are known to be particularly aggressive in withholding dormant funds. It is therefore important for every citizen to ensure that they check their missing money status using available tools and claim their funds.

There Is No Statute Of Limitations On Unclaimed Money

While speaking to USA Today, Mary Pitman advised heirs to check the status of their deceased relatives because there is no statute of limitations on unclaimed money. She however cautioned that although 11 of the states do not participate in the giveback, relatives should still regularly check the sites regularly to spot missing money as soon as it appears in the state funds.

There Have Been Great And Successful Refunds

Although some states are notorious for snagging these payments, there have been successful claims. Connecticut’s state treasurer reported that a resident was allocated $32.8 million in refunds and in that year alone, the state made refunds of up to $83.5 million.

Use Government- Approved Search Engines To Know If You Qualify

Most unclaimed funds go missing for a number of reasons like lost contact and poor estate planning, according to Joshua Joyce, administrator of unclaimed property at the Arizona Department of Revenue.

To determine if one qualifies or not, you could take advantage of NAUPA endorsed search engines or other government sites. for instance, is a free to search and free to claim search engine. Although 11 states do not participate, the website valuably lists contact information and links to databases run by these states., another NAUPA’s website, lists other databases such as, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp, and that might help.

There are also pay sites that offer extensive and thorough search results. For these, it is extremely advisable for users to only pay after receiving their respective search results and ensure payments do not exceed 20% of their refunds.


NAUPA Is Not Limited To The U.S. Alone

NAUPA does not only work in the U.S. but also in Canada, Quebec and British Columbia. According to their official website, their work is also further spread out to Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.

Credit Card Perks You Don’t Have, But Don’t Know About

Just about every adult has at least one credit card in their wallet. And for many, this card is a lifesaver in an emergency and a much better option than getting fast cash with a title loan. But a credit card isn’t only useful when you’re cash-strapped. There are other little hidden perks you might not know about.

Read the fine print on your credit card application or the terms of agreement, and you’ll discover a variety of sweet perks that can save you money.

1. Rental car insurance

If you’ve ever rented a car, you might have purchased collision insurance to protect your wallet in the event of an auto accident. With this coverage, if you cause an accident and damage the rental car, you don’t have to file a claim through your personal auto insurance.

What you might not realize is that some credit cards offer free car rental insurance coverage. Use your credit card to book your next car rental and you’ll automatically receive coverage up to a certain dollar amount, which varies by credit card. Since car rental insurance can cost $10-$20 a day, that’s a savings of up to $140 for a week’s rental.

2. Extended warranty

If you’re spending hundreds or thousands on a new electronic, it only makes sense to get an extended warranty. Most manufacturer warranties expire after one year, but an extended warranty offers up to two or three years of additional protection.

Instead of buying an extended warranty at checkout when purchasing an electronic item, call your credit card company in advance to see if an extended warranty is included among your cardmember perks. If so, use this card to make the purchase and you’ll receive an extended warranty that matches the manufacturer’s warranty (up to one or two years). This covers the repair or replacement cost if the item breaks or malfunctions. Ask your credit card company about maximum coverage amounts and restrictions.

3. Trip cancellation coverage

There is nothing more frustrating than an airline canceling your flight at the last minute and having to book another flight at a higher rate.

Book a trip with a credit card that offers trip cancellation coverage, and you’ll be reimbursed for charges triggered by a travel delay. Additionally, you can receive a refund on non-refundable flights if you have to cancel or change your plans because of an emergency (death of an immediate family member) or an illness. Speak with your credit card company for coverage limits.

4. Price protection

If you use a credit card to make a purchase, and then find the same item for less at another retail store within 30 to 60 days, your credit card company may refund the difference. Price protection isn’t offered by every credit card company, so you’ll need to read your terms of agreement or call the issuing bank. There are limits to how much you can get back. For example, Citi’s price protection refunds up to $300 per item, and up to $1,200 per year.

As a bonus, some credit cards offer purchase protection. If an item you purchase with your credit card is damaged or stolen within 90 days of the purchase (on average), the credit card company will refund your purchase up to a certain amount. Discover offers purchase protection within the first three months up to $500.

5. Roadside assistance

You might feel that AAA or another motor club membership is an absolute necessity, especially if you don’t know anything about jumping a battery or changing a tire. However, before you spring for a yearly roadside assistance membership, see if your credit card offers this perk.

Benefits vary by card. Some cards may only offer free towing up to a certain number of miles, whereas others might charge a flat fee for a service call, which is cheaper than calling a tow company directly. Ask your credit card company about fees, and then compare the cost with the annual price of a motor club membership.

Single Family Homes Vs. Condos: Is There A Difference?

When it comes time to purchase your first home, do you really know what you are looking for? Is there a big difference in your investment if you go for the single family home or multifamily condo/ townhouse? The answer to this question is that it really just depends on location, market, and the specific property. There are a number of pros and cons for both single family homes and condos. Your finances and lifestyle are really the two most important factors to look at when considering your investment. We will take a look at the major differences between the two to give you an understanding of which type of property is best for you.


Whether you are a single person or a newly engaged/ married couple, purchasing a condo seems like a better idea than jumping right into a single family home. Depending on where you live, condos usually go on the market at a cheaper price than single family homes. Condos tend to be smaller than single family homes, and you usually do not get the privacy of having your own yard. It can sometimes feel like you are renting an apartment again if you have noisy neighbors above you. Parking spaces are usually limited, washer and dryers hookups are not always available, and a condo association usually has a say in if you can own a pet. These cons make it seem like investing in a condo might not be worth it, but rest assured you can always pick your preferences when working with a realtor. If you want a pet friendly facility, with a washer and dryer hook up, on the first floor, a realtor will accommodate those preferences as best he or she can.

Although you do have to pay an association fee when owning a condo, this amount is usually added in with your mortgage, and can actually benefit you. This fee goes toward upkeep on the property, which means you do not have to mow your lawn, or shovel in the winter. Most properties provide monthly pest control services throughout the building, which is payed for by fees, you pay monthly, into the condo association. Any outdoor maintenance or repairs that need to be fixed are completed by simply contacting the condo association. A majority of the time your condo association fees also include your monthly city services like water, sewage, and trash. In purchasing a condo you will have to pay a monthly fee, but this fee is simply to benefit you. What you are really paying for is convenience, which many people like.

In purchasing a condo you might have a smaller space of property, therefore end up paying less on property taxes than you would if you owned a single family home. Even though you pay into an association, you are still investing money into a property, therefore you have the rights to fix it up. New paint, new cabinets, and new doors you name it and you can create a living space that you love. Some projects might need consent from your condo association, but they are willing to work with you most of the time. In general, condominiums tend to appreciate in value over a short time, especially if you make upgrades to your unit. If you ever wish to sell your condo, you are almost sure to make money, rather than break even or lose money. These pros make investing in a condo a great first choice for new homebuyers.

Single Family Home

Single family homes are what many of us envision when we think of our future family and where we will live. They do have a lot of appeal, but there can be downsides to investing in a single family home right away. Unlike owning a condo, you have to set aside your own savings for emergency maintenance and repairs. If a pipe bursts, you are the one who has to fix it or hire and pay someone for their services in fixing the leak. Speaking of setting aside money, as an owner of a single family home, you are responsible for the upkeep of your property. This means if you have a huge yard, you have to mow the lawn and tend to any landscaping.What about a large driveway? This has to be shoveled or snow plowed if you live in an area where it snows frequently. Of course you can also pay someone to come out and do this for you, but you are still paying money out of pocket.

In owning a single family home, you do have to pay for your own homeowners insurance, and pay property taxes for the land you own. Although many cities give you installments for your property taxes, they can still be expensive and something you have to save for. You are responsible for all city bills, which is another added expense. Single family homes are not always larger than condos, but can be. With more space comes more gas to warm the house in the winter, more electronics needing to be plugged in, and more cold air needed to cool the house down in summer. This extra space can mean larger utility bill payments to make, adding to your overall monthly budget.

Purchasing a single family home does have a numerous amount of perks. First of all, you have your own space and privacy. Many single family homes come with your own backyard, which is a great place for a pool, garden, or entertainment deck. There might be an option for a two or even three car garage, where you can park your car, keeping it safe from weather damage. Just like a condo, owning a single family home means that you can complete any projects you want. If you want to tear down a wall, you just have to make sure it’s not going to damage part of your house, and you can go for it. No need to get anybody’s permission because you own the property. Single family homes will also appreciate in value over time, but many invest in a “forever home” meaning they plan to stay at that location for the next thirty years.

Yes, there are many differences between purchasing a condo and purchasing a single family home. It all comes down to your budget and preference when deciding which property is right for you. If you can’t decide between the two right away, talk to a realtor to get their professional opinion. That is what they are there for, and can aid in giving you the best investment options for purchasing your first home!

What to Do with Proceeds from Your House Sale

Selling your house can be really exciting, especially if you’re set to make some money from it.  While many people simply use their profits to climb the property ladder, investing your newfound fortune in real estate isn’t your only option.  Some homeowners find owning a house to be a lot more work (and money!) than they ever dreamed of and would prefer to go back to renting.  So what else can you do with your house sale proceeds to make that money work for you?

Pay off debt

One of the best things to do with your money is to use it to pay off debt. It doesn’t matter what kind of debt it is, it’s just a good idea to get rid of it. Take care of credit card balances, car loans, student loans, or any other types of debt you may have accumulated. Over the long run you’ll find you have more money monthly to spend and aren’t racking up finance charges along the way. Plus, being free of all those financial obligations will feel really, really amazing.

Emergency Fund

If you don’t have an Emergency Fund outside of your regular savings account, now is a great time to get one going. Experts suggest having 3-6 months of income set aside in case you lose your job. Emergency funds can keep you up and running while you search for another job, have some sort of medical emergency (or any other type of emergency that comes up) or it can make up the difference if you have to take a lower paying job for a while.

Shore up your savings

Maybe you’ve already taken care of all your debts and you even have a good chunk of change set aside for an emergency. If that’s the case, you have a great opportunity to start making your house sale proceeds work for you. Instead of putting your money in a normal savings account, which gives you next to nothing in terms of earned interest, find a savings account that offers you a lot more. Some online savings accounts give users an interest rate of .75% a year—a far cry from the measly .01% offered at most banks. Savings accounts may not give you a huge return, but the cash is always easily accessible should you need it and without any penalities.


Putting money into stocks isn’t a bad idea, but it’s important to work closely with a financial advisor who understands the ins and outs of the stock market and is able to appropriately diversify your stock account. Make sure you’re ready for the ups and downs the stock market will throw your way. Pulling your money out because the market takes a tumble can cost you more than just riding it out and letting the market do its thing. As we’ve seen over the past decade, the market falls then rises again. It might take time, so make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

What if you’ve already covered all your bases and you’ve paid off your debts, set aside a healthy emergency fund, built up your savings account, and sunk some money into stocks? In that case, it sounds like you should relax on a well-deserved dream vacation–and with your financial situation so squared away, you really can relax and enjoy yourself.