From the Editor: Finance management proves to be flawed

Graduation marks the end of college years and the start of a new, often terrifying chapter of life. Students are suddenly transformed into adults and are thrown head first into the real world. It is assumed that college prepares students for this sudden change, but it seems that there may be something missing from the system.
Rider students are forced to get through numerous general education core classes that are meant to produce well-rounded individuals who are on their way to becoming prepared for the real world. But how prepared can anyone be without knowledge pertaining to the management of money — the thing that makes the world go round?
What Rider students really need are money-management skills. While many college students may be living miles away from home, parents often continue to take care of all the important monetary business. This effort to help their children may do more harm than good.
Richard Boyum, psychology professor of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, discusses some surprisingly true stereotypes concerning college students and their financial notions in an article on Forbes.com.
Boyum explains that most college students need to make a few mistakes before they learn to manage their finances. He also stresses that many young adults see money as something to spend, rather than something to save, and offers an eye-opening example.
“I once had a student show up in a new jacket. He said it was a $200 jacket, but he got it on sale and had ‘saved’ $100. I said, ‘Show me the $100.’ I explained that he hadn’t saved $100, he’d spent $100. This surprises many students.”
Major expenses can even arise from everyday activities. Many students at Rider may not realize just how much cash they’re spending at Starbucks, especially if their fancy cards are set up to reload automatically when coffee funds get low.
The key to financial stability in life is living frugally, not luxuriously, reports Forbes.com. Students may need to be forced to take a look at their spending habits before their spending tendencies land them in a deep hole of debt.
The troublesome relationship between young adults and finances does not end with shopping or caffeine addictions. The true issue here is much deeper. Nowadays, most college students don’t even know how to write a check.
Boyum may believe that college students learn from their financial mistakes, but maybe Rider can help prevent those mistakes before they occur. An easy solution would be to offer basic financial management instruction to students.
If students are never forced to write a check, pay a bill, do their taxes or manage their money, they will never learn. Financial management is obviously not being taught by parents, so colleges and universities might need to step up to the plate and take on the challenge.
Many high schools offer financial management classes. For example, Point Pleasant Borough High School offers a class that teaches students to write checks and maintain a checkbook. It even provides an introduction to the stock market through an online simulation program. These skills are important for the general success of students not only in the workplace, but in every area of life.
Rider can provide students with basic financial management knowledge through seminars or courses. Freshman seminars can be adjusted in order to provide students with basic skills, and senior seminars can take a break from major-related work to help seniors delve into real-world situations before graduation.
Another alternative is to require a financial management course in the core curriculum. This could provide all students with knowledge that will help them manage their finances throughout their entire lives.
Rider is responsible for producing students who are ready to take on the world. This ability does not come only from mastering basic math, science, reading and writing skills, but also from taking on realistic situations. Providing Rider students with financial management instruction can solve this intimidating dilemma that students are facing.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by Copy Editor Sarah Bergen

Printed in the 4/23/14 edition.

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