Students learn importance of financial literacy

By Robert Riches
October 19, 2011

Save early, save often.  That was the message a Lincoln Financial Group retirement consultant had when he discussed steps college students and faculty should take to build up retirement portfolios.

Timothy Cawley presented to a group of interested students and faculty the benefits of investing money into retirement at the “Financial Well-Being” seminar, part of the college’s Live and Learn series, in the Mansion on Monday, Oct. 10.

The event featured door prizes such as gift cards and piggy banks, as well as an informative presentation.

“It’s crucial to have enough money to live,” Cawley said. “A lot of people realize that the chances of living past 85 years old are greater than expected.”

The chances of living to 85 years old are 50 percent for males, and even greater for females. Because of this statistic, Cawley advises to save as much as possible and start early.

For many people in the college community, retirement is something not even taken into consideration yet. However, Cawley advises to start saving as early as possible. The longer one saves, the more money they can retire with.

Cawley started out in education, but always had an interest in finance. With help from a friend at Lincoln Financial Group, Cawley was able to secure the job.

Cawley spoke for approximately an hour, and the students in attendance took some valuable lessons out of the presentation.

“Financial literacy is becoming one of the most valuable assets a student needs,” Jaiquann Beckham, junior education major, said.

“Today, I learned a lot about the benefits of saving for retirement at a young age,” Zach Logan, freshman finance and marketing major, said. “I also learned how compound interest quickly adds up.”

One of Cawley’s major discussion points was matching employer contributions to retirement accounts.

“If your employer offers the ability to match what you contribute to retirement, it is important to take advantage of that,” Cawley said. “That’s basically free money that your employer is putting on the table, and it would be foolish to not take it.”

Cawley also discussed the importance of saving up loose change. He used the example of buying coffee during the work week.

He illustrated that spending $2 every day over a five-day work week results in spending $10. Over the course of a year, that totals to $520, which turns into $20,800 in a 40-year period of time.

A simple adjustment, such as cutting back on the amount of coffee purchased in a work week, would save up so much more in the long run.

Cawley also discussed investment risk and illustrated risk as a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid were stocks, and at the base were cash and stable value. In between were bonds, and balance between stocks and bonds.

The pyramid illustrated that investment in stocks carries a high risk, but a greater potential return. The base of the pyramid carries a low risk, but a lower potential return.

Everyone in attendance also received a retirement calculator. These nifty little tools allow you to see how much money you will have over 20 and 30 years by calculating what percentage of your annual income you save.

Several of the students in attendance may be interested in working in the world of finance someday, and Cawley had some advice as to how they could start out.

“Several financial groups, such as Lincoln, have mentoring programs for college graduates,” Cawley said. “These programs are a great way to start out.”

The greatest bit of advice that Cawley offered to young people is brief but important.

“Start saving early and always be consistent with your savings,” Cawley said.


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Robert Riches

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