02/2018 - College Freshmen Learn About Managing Credit

Recently, 50 Russell Sage College students participated in a session called "Understanding and Managing Credit" that helped them understand their attitudes about money and discover a system of prioritizing wants and needs.

The cost of purchasing a daily cup of coffee was used as an example of how spending money frivolously can impact saving for something important. At $4 a day for an entire year, that coffee would cost $1,460 annually, and $7,300 over five years. Students realized that if their savings goal is to buy a car, pay off student debt, or make a down payment on a house, a daily purchase of coffee would thwart that goal significantly. They also learned that building positive spending habits now will lead to a lifetime of financial wellness.

credit card sticking out of back pocket

Discussions about obtaining credit, managing credit responsibly, and the meaning of credit scores and credit reports were also important components of the session. These topics hit home for the students as many will be paying student loans in the years following graduation. To reinforce the concepts learned, students were put in groups and challenged to earn “coins” by correctly answering credit-related questions. These coins were later used to play an oversized game of Connect Four; this fun and engaging activity allowed for deeper conversations on financial topics.

Feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive and Karen Balter, associate professor and program director of Sage's Undergraduate Health Sciences Program, said “The students' enthusiasm during the presentation was great and I was very happy to see our students actively participating. I believe they left the presentation with some key takeaway points on credit, spending, and saving.”

Interested in more? View upcoming free sessions offered by SEFCU's Institute for Financial Well-Being.