Originally published Oct. 6, 2013

Co-written with editorial board

Some students worked more than one job in high school, invested all of their earnings in a college fund, and were forced (or privileged?) to pay for their own weekend excursions. These same students brought the same work ethic and financial mentality to college, where they’ll be graduating with little to no debt, or at the very least a sense of pride at having self-funded their education.

Other students weren’t so fortunate to have developed an early sense of financial responsibility. And these are the students who continue to receive parental allowances for their Friday nights at the bar, who only maybe seek employment to alleviate boredom, and who have no idea what tuition payments look like.

These are the students who will be in for a shock when they realize that rent doesn’t pay itself. Nor do phone bills. Nor cable. Nor electricity. Nor food.

And these are the students the Lanthorn wishes to address. So now we speak directly to you, total dependents.

If we’re being entirely honest, many hard-working students have, at some point in time, felt a sort of envy when they watched you return from the movies every weekend after your parents refilled your debit card. Sure, you’ve certainly got it easier now.

But remember when your parents never made you do the laundry in high school, and this “freedom” left you royally unprepared to wash your own clothes in college, leaving you to recycle through sweaty T-shirts and grass-stained jeans until your first trek home? This is precisely that situation all over again.

Except this time, it’ll be harder to redeem yourself. While your fellow college students might’ve been quick to overlook your lack of self-sufficiency, those in the work world might take it as a sign of immaturity or irresponsibility. So, whether you graduate in two months or two years, start preparing for a better and more independent financial future.

Even if your parents say they’re “happy to help,” don’t let their generosity enable you to develop poor financial habits.

To help you get a grip on your present financial situation and prevent future embarrassment, we’ve designed a special section called “Money Matters” for your perusal.

And it just so happens that this issue contains the first “Money Matters” of the year. We’re lending you advice from statistics and professionals in the banking world to help you emerge from your adventure at Grand Valley State University with as little debt as possible. From building credit and choosing a bank to developing wise spending habits, we’ll help you get on the right track.

Take a look at B4 and B5 for your first set of tips.

Original publication: http://www.lanthorn.com/article/2013/10/time-to-take-charge