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Credit cards, savings accounts, student loans, oh my!
We get it - managing your money can be confusing and stressful! That’s why GMercyU’s Money Matters program is here to give you the resources and information needed to make smart financial decisions now and in the future.
As a student, it's important that you have a budget and stick to it! You're already investing a lot of money into your education, so you need to be aware of how much money you have and how you're spending it.
Sound intimidating? Don't sweat it – there’s an app or website for everything!
Here are some of our favorites:
You may think it’s impossible to save while you’re in college but everything counts. Start small, but think big!
As always, BuzzFeed has you covered with 25 Money Saving Tips Every College Student Needs to Know.
Despite what you may hear on the news, student debt isn't scary- especially if you learn to manage it properly. Having student loans can teach you to be a responsible borrower, which can help improve your credit score and help when it comes to making big purchases, such as a car or house. The key is understanding exactly what you're getting yourself into, especially what different kinds of student loans can entail.
Federal Loans. These loans are awarded to students by the Federal Government as part of financial aid packages. Every student with a high school diploma is eligible for a federal loan, you just need to fill out the FAFSA. You can learn more about your options on our Federal Financial Aid page.
Private Loans. These loans are offered by private banks and financial institutions. Interest rates and eligibility are based on your credit score, but you can apply and state a parent or guardian as a co-signer. Generally speaking, private loans tend to come with less generous repayment options and higher interest rates than federal loans, so make sure you research all of your options. Looking for more information? Check out 3 Basic but Crucial Things to Know About Student Loans from the New York Times and Forbes' 10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Student Loans.
So, what is credit anyway and why is it important? Credit is borrowed money that you can use to purchase goods and services when you need them. Having good credit is crucial for making major purchases--like a car or house--and can also be used by employers and landlords as part of the selection process.
There are four main types of credit:
The goal is to make sure you have good credit, which is measured by your Credit Score. Want more tips and tricks for managing your credit? GMercyU Accounting Professor Carlo Silvesti breaks down what credit scores are and why they’re important and five things you should look for when selecting a credit card.
Take your money and make it grow! Investments help your money grow over time, allowing you to reap the benefits later in life. It’s never too early or too late to start and you have plenty of investment options to choose from.
The three most popular types of investments are:
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a non-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect investors, is a great resource for first-time investors.
Taxes are something nobody enjoys thinking about, but it is very important that you educate yourself. This will ensure that you fulfill your legal and fiscal obligations and avoid penalties or other problems. Even if you only work part-time, you’ll still be expected to file a tax return each year--especially if you file the FAFSA and receive federal or state aid to pay for your education.
So, what kind of taxes are we responsible for paying?
Federal Income Tax. This tax is levied by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the annual earnings of individuals, corporations, trusts, and other legal entities. They are applied to all forms of earnings that make up a taxpayer’s taxable income, including employment earnings or capital gains..
State Income Tax. Forty-three states levy individual income taxes--it is a major source of government revenue. Tax policies and procedures vary by state. In Pennsylvania, the personal income tax rate is 3.07% and is levied against residents or non-residents; if you’re an out-of-state student that works in Pennsylvania during the school year, you need to file PA state income taxes on eight different classes on income: compensation, interest, dividends, net profits from business operations, net gains or income from dispositions of property, net gains or income from rent/royalties/patents/copyrights, income derived from estates or trusts,and gambling or lottery winnings. The Department of Revenue has detailed information about PA tax code and how to file state income tax.
Local Earned Income Tax. This varies by state, but here in Pennsylvania, employers are required to withhold and remit the local Earned Income Tax (EIT) and Local Services Tax (LST) on behalf of their employees. These tax percentages vary by county and might be higher for non-residents. You can look up your withholding rates by address online through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.
Check out GMercyU Accounting Professor Carlo Silvesti's Tips for Student Taxpayers.
If you have specific questions about tax processes, contact a registered tax preparer practitioner--like CPAs, Attorneys, or Enrolled Agents. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also has useful information about filing your federal taxes. Residents of Pennsylvania can find information regarding state taxes through the Department of Revenue.
GMercyU recently partnered with CashCourse to offer students free financial resources. To access CashCourse, simply sign up for your free account and select Gwynedd Mercy University as your school. This will grant you access to all of CashCourse's offerings, including:
Money Tips. Find practical money tips to help better manage your finances.
Financial Calculator. This one-stop-shop can help you obtain information about budgets and goals, credit and debit, loans, family and life, savings and investments, and more.