Creating a financial plan as a high school or college student can seem overwhelming, but it’s essential to set yourself up for success in the long term. Whether you’re saving for college, building credit, or planning for your future career, there are several key steps you can take to set yourself on the right path. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive financial checklist for both high school and college students to help you navigate your financial journey.

Student holding a backpack against a brick wall

High School Students

  1. Start saving: Start saving for your future as early as possible. Even small amounts can add up over time and compound interest can help your savings grow. Consider opening a savings account or starting a piggy bank.
  2. Build credit: Start building credit as early as possible. This can be done by getting a credit card, taking out a loan, or even paying your bills on time. A good credit score will make it easier to get approved for a loan or a credit card in the future.
  3. Start planning for retirement: It may seem far away, but it’s never too early to start planning for your retirement. Research the different options available to you, such as an IRA or 401(k) and start thinking about how you will save for your future.
  4. Create a budget: Create a budget that helps you track your income and expenses. This will allow you to see where your money is going and make adjustments as needed to ensure that you are living within your means.
  5. Invest in education: Look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid that can help you pay for college or other training programs. Research the different options available to you and start applying early.
  6. Understand the importance of insurance: Learn about the different types of insurance available, such as health, auto, and home insurance. Understanding the coverage they provide and how they can protect you and your assets is important for your financial planning.
  7. Be mindful of debt: Avoid taking on more debt than you can handle and make sure you understand the terms of any loans or credit cards you take out.
  8. Keep an emergency fund: Keep an emergency fund to help you handle unexpected expenses. This can be used to pay for car repairs, medical bills, or other unexpected costs.
  9. Learn about taxes: Learn about tax deductions, credits, and other ways to lower your tax bill. Understanding taxes is important for managing your finances and future career plans.
  10. Seek Professional Advice: If you have questions about your finances or need help creating a budget or saving for the future, seek professional advice. A financial advisor or a tax professional can help you navigate the complex world of personal finance. You can chat with an Atticus Advisor for free here!
Three students sitting on a bench reading and studying

College Students

  1. Create a budget: One of the most important things you can do as a college student is to create a budget that helps you track your income and expenses. This will allow you to see where your money is going and make adjustments as needed to ensure that you are living within your means.
  2. Build credit: Start building credit as early as possible. This can be done by getting a credit card, taking out a loan, or even paying your bills on time. A good credit score will make it easier to get approved for a loan or a credit card in the future.
  3. Start planning for retirement: Retirement may seem like a long way off, but it’s important to start planning for it early. Consider setting up an IRA or a 401(k) and start contributing to it as soon as possible.
  4. Manage your student loans: If you have student loans, make sure you understand the terms of your loans and create a plan to pay them off as soon as possible. Consider consolidating your loans, and look into loan forgiveness programs if they apply to you.
  5. Invest in education: Investing in your education is one of the best ways to set yourself up for long-term financial success. Look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid that can help you pay for college or other training programs.
  6. Understand the importance of insurance: There are many different types of insurance, including health, auto, and home insurance. It’s important to understand the coverage they provide and how they can protect you and your assets.
  7. Be mindful of debt: Be mindful of the amount of debt you are taking on. Avoid taking on more debt than you can handle, and make sure you understand the terms of any loans or credit cards you take out.
  8. Keep an emergency fund: Keep an emergency fund to help you handle unexpected expenses. This can be used to pay for car repairs, medical bills, or other unexpected costs.
  9. Learn about taxes: Taxes can be confusing, but it’s important to understand how they work and how they affect your finances. Learn about tax deductions, credits, and other ways to lower your tax bill.
  10. Seek professional advice: If you have questions about your finances or need help creating a budget or saving for the future, seek professional advice. A financial advisor or a tax professional can help you navigate the complex world of personal finance. You can chat with an Atticus Advisor for free here!
TL;DR

TL;DR

High School Students

  1. Start saving
  2. Build credit
  3. Start planning for retirement (open a Roth IRA)
  4. Create a budget
  5. Invest in education
  6. Understand the importance of insurance
  7. Be mindful of debt
  8. Keep an emergency fund
  9. Learn about taxes
  10. Seek professional advice (chat with Atticus)

College Students

  1. Create a budget
  2. Build credit
  3. Start planning for retirement (open a Roth IRA)
  4. Manage your student loans
  5. Invest in education
  6. Understand the importance of insurance
  7. Be mindful of debt
  8. Keep an emergency fund 
  9. Learn about taxes
  10. Seek professional advice (chat with Atticus)

About the author: Trent Madill

Hey there! I'm Trent, Founder & CEO of Atticus. I am a licensed Investment Advisor Representative (IAR), and I look forward to helping you reach your financial goals.

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