Planning ahead

While it may feel like you have plenty of time before needing to focus on your financial future, it's never too early to start planning. Don't let the thought of planning for your financial future stress you out. We're here to help!

At the SFMC, our financial counselors have numerous resources to help guide you through this process. Whether you need help with creating a budget to manage your expenses or want to discuss saving and planning for the future, you're encouraged to drop by and get the help that you need for building the foundation to your financial success!

Loan repayment

Loans are designed to cover the remaing balance after all other financial aid has been applied toward your student bill. If you are planning to take out a student loan, or getting ready to pay one back, it is important to understand the differences between federal and private loans, interest rates and how long you have to pay it back.

Within six months of graduating, dropping below half-time enrollment or leaving the university, you must begin student loan repayment. Most federal loans have a fixed interest rate and must be repaid in 10 years; repayment for private loans can range from 5-20 years.

Visit the Federal Student Aid website for more information on loan repayment and student loan forgiveness opportunities.

Saving

Creating a budget and tracking your expenses will allow you to prioritize your spending habits. Determine which category your expenses fall under: bills, needs or wants. After covering your bills and needs, you can then determine which, if any, wants you can cover or better yet, set that money aside in a savings account for another time.

Emergency fund

If you are receiving a financial aid refund, working or selling back textbooks, set aside money to cover unplanned emergency expenses that may otherwise derail your academic progress. Your emergency fund doesn't need to have a lot of money, but should be enough to help cover unplanned expenses, such as medical care, transportation, technical difficulties and travel expenses between campus and home.

Retirement

While retirement may be a long way away and may sound crazy to think about right now, there are things that you can be doing as a growing professional to plan for that phase of life. Start by automating your savings so that a portion of each paycheck goes directly into a savings account. Check to see if your employer offers a 401(k) and will match your contributions.