|By Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press, N.J.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
It was going to be a tough month.
"Probably the cruise," said Kuipers, 18, of Berkeley. "Shouldn't have gotten the cruise. Bad idea. And the car. I shouldn't have gotten a new car."
Kuipers was one of about 200
3 money lessons every college freshman must know
It was a tough lesson for a generation that has grown up with mixed messages. They have watched their parents struggle in the aftermath of the Great Recession; and they have been bombarded with images of reality stars who live the high life with no discussion about how they pay for it.
A recent survey by the
Find out how high schoolers did facing financial reality
"The key is financial education," said
Students were given a worksheet with the salary they could expect, based on their major. They took out taxes, health insurance and retirement savings to calculate their take-home pay. And then they walked from station to station to see what the world had to offer.
There were new cars and baseball games, yoga classes and pets, mortgage payments and gadgets. And there were unexpected, budget-busting items such as car repairs and parking tickets. Students learned they really can't have it all -- at least, not without going deep in debt.
"I was going to get a house, but instead I got an apartment," said
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Better career paths
The event was part of a course called Student Success that's designed to prepare students for what awaits them. And educators have found that students who learn these lessons early in their college careers are more likely to graduate and improve their career paths, said
The goal is to get them to say, " 'Oh my gosh, I have to think about this,' " Reustle said.
The students could have been forgiven for losing all hope in their future. Their salaries weren't nearly as much as they expected. Even a non-luxury automobile could cost nearly
"I'm still learning," she said.
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FACE THE FINANCIAL FACTS
--39 percent of adults say they have a budget and keep close track of spending.
--34 percent of adults say their household carries credit card debt month to month.
--32 percent of adults do not save any portion of their household's annual income for retirement.
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