The financial literacy skills you learn today can seriously affect your future.
Experts recommend having at least $1,000,000 in savings before you retire.
The whole point of this magazine’s existence is to help you figure out what you want to do after graduation so you can find a job you’ll love. And let’s be honest, we don’t want you to just love your job, we also want to make sure it pays you a good salary so you can pursue your goals and, eventually, retire.
But no matter how much money you make, being able to follow your dreams and retire someday requires being smart about money.
While it may seem crazy to start thinking about your retirement now, the savings skills you develop today can help set you up for future success. Don’t believe us? Read Alberto’s story below.
You Can Retire a Millionaire
"I learned at a young age how important it is to be smart about money.
The recession hit my family hard. We lost our home and the experience forever changed how I think about money."
"My father lost his job during the recession. Even though I was only a kid, I had to quickly learn how to manage money and teach my parents, who had emigrated from Cuba and didn’t speak English very well, how to budget and save.
It was hard, but my parents needed me. When I started working, I was able to help support them. I am a strong believer that the challenges we face when we’re young shape who we become. It’s true — what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but only if you learn from it."
What did the experience teach you about life after graduation?
"That it’s all about your management skills: time management and, especially, financial management.
I think the best way to improve those skills is to get a part-time job as soon as you’re old enough to work. You don’t have to work full time, just a few afternoons a week can pay off — literally.
No matter what you want to do when you get older, getting work experience now will be beneficial. You’ll learn how to work with people in an office environment. You also never know who you’ll meet along the way."
What should people do with the money they earn at their part-time job?
"In this day and age, we’re so used to instant gratification. But it’s really important you don’t get into the habit of spending everything you make.
My goal is to save 80% of my income. That’s a lot, I know. But even if you can’t put aside that much, it’s important to save at least some of the money you earn. Skip a few visits to Starbucks and put $50 a month into your savings account. Over time, that can add up to thousands of dollars."
What do you do with the money you save?
"I see my savings as an investment in my future. I’ve used my savings to join clubs, attend conferences around the country and invest in activities that will help me get into a good law school.
Right now, I’m making $17 an hour working at a software company, which is a really great job and salary for an undergrad. I got this job because of the connections I made at school and in clubs.
With my savings, I can also consider traveling after I graduate from college, something most people in my situation wouldn’t be able to do because they might have to work to pay off student loans or start saving for an apartment.
As you can see, forgoing a few extra coffees a month can lead to bigger and better things in your future."
Alberto Garcia Marrero 21, 2019 graduate of Florida International University,
graduate of Coral Reef Senior High School
Alberto’s Tips for Saving
Take advantage of the resources around you.
Your high school may offer programs like dual enrollment and advanced placement classes. These are free ways of earning college credit. Alberto says he earned 45 college credit hours in high school. At $205.57 a credit, that’s equivalent to saving $9,250 on tuition.
Find a high-yield savings acount.
Many banks offer a 0.01% interest rate. This is better than nothing, but if you can, find one that offers at least 2%.
Say you invest $500 in a savings account that offers a 0.01% annual interest rate. At the end of two years, you would have earned .10 cents in interest, making your final balance $500.10.
But if you had put it in an account that offers a 2% annual interest rate, you would have earned $20.20 over those two years, putting your final balance at $520.20.
After 30 years, the 0.01% account would be worth $501.50 while the 2% account would be worth a whopping $905.68.