THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS
"First-Year College Students Financial Checklist- Part II"
Last week, I began a discussion about the top 10 tips for college students. If you’d like to review that column, go to the Resource Center at www.welchgroup.com then click on ‘Stewart’s Column’. Here are the remaining 5 tips:
- You’ll likely get bombarded with credit card offers in the mail. Companies know that the students will use, and often abuse the cards only to eventually be bailed out by parents. Having a credit card is a good idea because it helps you get a head start on establishing your credit history. Just make sure you don’t establish a ‘bad history’ by misusing or abusing the cards. Own no more than two cards and save them for emergencies unless you are certain that you can pay off the full balance each month. As with the use of the ATM, be sure to keep a running balance of credit card charges. The easiest way to do this is to enter ATM withdrawals and credit card charges directly into your check register as if you had written a check and then subtract the balance. This will allow you to keep an up-to-the-minute record of your cash balance. Responsible use of credit cards is a great way to begin to build a good credit history.
- If you get funds from student loans, be sure to deposit the money in a money market account so that it is earning at least some interest. Current interest rates are low but it still pays to shop around. If you will not need a portion of your funds for several months, you may get a better yield by buying a certificate of deposit (CD) from a bank. To find the highest rates, go to www.bankrate.com.
- Identity theft is a multi-billion dollar business and you’ll want to make sure that you don’t become a victim. The typical college students have roommates, suite mates and other students roaming through their housing. Be sure to keep all of your passwords, bank account statements, and credit cards well guarded. Also, be careful what information you list on the various social websites. It’s best not to list your exact birth date and definitely guard your Social Security number with your life! Never leave ATM statements behind and be aware of your surroundings when accessing cash from the ATM. There have been cases where the next person in line used their video cell phone to steal a PIN number.
- Get a part-time job. Even if you don’t need the money, this is still a good idea. Start by speaking with your professors and department-heads. I got a job as a grader during college and it proved to be a great experience allowing me to get to know my professor on a whole new level. Having some extra spending money that I earned was also a nice benefit.
- Network with abandon. Building relationships is just as important as getting a college education. My advice is to ‘be a joiner’ and active participant in as many organizations as time and interests allow. Opportunities abound including student government association, academic clubs and social clubs. The more people you connect with, the more enjoyable your college experience will be and that success will likely translate into financial success after college.
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JT has been in radio for over 30 years, both as an on-air personality and Program Manager. He grew up in Pittsburgh and then attended Clarion University with the hopes of becoming a dentist. After spending time with friends at the campus radio station, he quickly changed his major to communications. “Speech class was a lot easier than chemistry and physics”, says JT. And as they say…the rest is history.JT has lived in 10 different cities during his career including Miami, Washington D.C., Cincinnati, Nashville, Birmingham and Miami.
In addition to hosting a morning talk show, he has also worked as an announcer in Top-40, Rock, Smooth Jazz, and Country radio. You can also look for JT in the movies “Hoffa” and “Striking Distance”.
JT and his wife Judy have two children. Alexandra is married and teaches 5th grade. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and a former 3 Time National Championship winning football player for the team…ROLL TIDE! When not sitting in front of a microphone, JT can be found with his family most of the time. He absolutely enjoys his recreation too! Look for JT on the golf course, in the woods hunting or on the beach somewhere. “No doubt, I am truly blessed with an amazing family and give all the glory to God and my relationship with Jesus Christ! I really love what I do every day”.
Producer Wade stepped into the radio world nearly 5 years ago. He got his start as an intern at a sports production company and took the leap into radio as a Play-by-play announcer for the Georgia State University Women's Basketball Team. He made his way back to the Birmingham area via a radio cluster in Northeast Georgia. Wade has a degree from the University of Alabama in Management Information Systems and uses it daily to contribute in as many ways as possible to the show. He was born and raised in Cullman and his family still resides in the area.
In addition to producing Alabama's Morning News with JT, Wade is the Sports Director for News Radio 105.5 WERC and Talk Radio 105.9. He host's our Friday night "The 5th Quarter Show" providing the state of Alabama with post game scores from the High School fields and previews from the College stadiums.
In his spare time, you can find Wade around town at a local restaurant, bar, or music venue. He loves to spend time with his friends doing everything from attending Barons' games to watching a band at Iron City or Tin Roof. "I love what I do for a living. Any job that allows me to talk for a living while attending all the events I would attend for fun anyway is the perfect job for me!"