Life as a Financial Counseling and Planning Major (and why, in my biased opinion, it is the most underrated major)

06 August, 2019

Meeting new people in college starts the same way every time. You say hi, ask how they are doing, then comes the classic question, “What are you majoring in?” For most, it’s a word or two, and people tend to have heard of your major before. For me, I answer with a sigh and in one breath say, “Financial Counseling and Planning”. This usually triggers one of three responses - 1) a confused look and them saying, “That’s interesting” or “Oh” 2) An awkward smile and a head nod or 3) they just turn around and walk away. I then share that the major is in Human Sciences and not the College of Business. So you might be wondering to yourself, “Why is it such a big deal that you are Financial Counseling and Planning (FCP) and not just regular Finance?” The real main reason is pride, but the other smaller reason is what we do is very different.

Finance is geared more towards the business side of money. Ours is looking for people and meeting with them to talk about money. I know how to help them set up financial goals and to achieve said goals while educating them. These goals can be anything from learning how to budget, how to navigate financial aid for school, saving to buy a home, or saving for that sweet sweet retirement in 40+ years. So we are more different from regular finance than you originally thought. However, we are a small group. According to Iowa State’s Office of the Registrar in the Spring of 2019, only 24 students were majoring in FCP. Yes, we have a shortened version of it because I don’t want my lungs to be depleted of oxygen every time I say my major.

So it’s no wonder people are always so confused about what we do and who we are. I would compare us to a unicorn, but I don’t know if unicorns enjoy talking about retirement planning. With a job growth rate from bls.gov of 15% in ten years (2016-2026) this is a fast growing field, in their words, “much faster than average”. Not only is it a fast growing field with a lot of opportunity for jobs, it gives me the opportunity to help others and teach them all at the same time, and to me that’s the best type of job out there! So if by some off chance you happen to meet one of our rare breed –don’t be too startled, maybe say hello or join our ranks. Reach out and see if you can get into the field or major or even just talk with a professional financial advisor. 

Written by : Jacob Barber, Peer Mentor & FCP Major

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7 Tips for Looking Good on a Budget

23 July, 2019

Your physical appearance is usually the first thing people notice about you. As a college student, when you're starting to interview for internships and full time jobs, a great first impression goes a long ways. A lot of experts say looking good on the outside starts from the inside. Remember to drink enough water, eat a balanced diet, and get active for at least 30 minutes a day. Multivitamins are also a good way to make sure you are getting the extra nutrition you need for staying healthy. 

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The first step to looking good on a budget is pretty straightforward -create a budget. Start by looking at your income versus expenses and needs versus wants. Once you have all your expenses and needs paid for, the left over money can help you splurge on the wants. In some months, your expenses will cost more and that means less money to splurge on and you may have to forgo that trip to the salon. However, when you do have left over money, use the tips below to get the most out of your budget.

Clothing

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1. Buy the basics. If you have a collection of basic pieces, like a plain colored shirts, you can wear them with virtually any colored or patterned bottoms. Or you can buy plain colored bottoms and go for fun tops. Basics are necessary in changing up your outfits so you don’t feel like you are constantly wearing the same thing all the time.

2. If you need a specific piece of clothing for a special event or for a job interview, start by looking at reasonably priced department stores (Dillard’s, J.C. Penney’s, Marshalls, and T.J. MAXX.) These stores get name brand clothing items for less which is a good way to get high quality pieces without paying the price.

3. Finally, thrifting is a great way to save money. It can be kind of frustrating to have to dig around racks of clothes that have no order, but it feels like hitting the jack pot when you find something cute for way less.


Beauty

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1. Join reward programs at places you shop frequently for makeup or skincare. Reward programs are free to sign up for and give great benefits. Places from Sephora to CVS all have reward programs that give points that can be redeemed as a discount on later purchases. Also if you join reward programs they tend to send coupons in the mail or via email. Combining the points and coupons can lead to great savings.

2. Only buy what you need. Facemasks that have glitter in them may be screaming “buy me,” but it isn’t need on a daily basis. Splurging every once in a while is fun, but they make as great gifts for holiday or birthday presents.

3. Finally, shop around. Places like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have started carrying makeup and skincare in their stores. Their stores may be hit or miss when it comes to finding what you need, but if you find what you are looking for you will save a lot of money. Ulta and Sephora are known for their variety of beauty products, but they can be pricey. Make sure you buy when they have a sale or if when you have redeemable rewards points.

 

Written by: Lillie Perry, Peer Mentor

Staff Spotlight : Meet Jennifer Schroeder!

23 July, 2019

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Staff Spotlight : Meet Isaac Ehlers!

23 July, 2019

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Staff Spotlight : Meet Julia Gwebu!

20 June, 2019

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7 Things to Consider Before Making the Move Off Campus

20 May, 2019

You’re not alone in wondering if you can save money by moving off campus. However, it’s important to weigh the costs that go along with renting your very own place. Here is a list of factors to consider before making the big move.

Rent
Consider your monthly portion of the rent –whether you’re living alone or sharing with roommates. How does that cost compare to your current housing contract? For example, let’s say you and your roommate lived in a double Buchanan suite and you’re looking to find a cheaper off campus apartment. The yearly rate for a double suite in Buchanan is $6,190. Dividing that rate by 10 (5 months in a semester x2) will determine your current monthly cost. ($619 a month). In this scenario, finding an off campus apartment and sharing with more roommates could very well be a lot cheaper, but it will depend on where you live on campus. If you're wanting more space but aren't ready to live completely off campus, consider an on-campus apartment through ISU like Frederiksen Court, or SUV. The cheapest apartment in Frederiksen Court (a 4 person, 2 bedroom shared unit) comes out to be around $484 a month. They come furnished, and tenants don't have to pay utilities or purchase a meal plan. 

You will also want to keep in mind that most off campus leases are yearlong leases, meaning they don’t go by the semester and are not paid via your Ubill. If you don’t plan on staying in Ames over the summer, or will be on internship during the semester, be prepared to find a subleaser who can take your spot on the lease until you get back.

Utilities
In addition to paying your own rent each month, each rental agreement will most likely require you to pay some sort of utility bill –whether it’s gas, electricity, water, internet or cable. Depending on the utility company, you may need to pay a deposit if you’ve never held an account with them in the past. There may be some extra costs that come with paying for your own internet service, such as buying a router or paying a wiring fee if your apartment doesn’t come with sufficient hook ups. Don’t be afraid to ask the previous tenant or the landlord themselves to get an idea on how much utilities typically run for that specific unit.

Financial Aid & Food
With typically signing a year lease, you will need to make sure you get August and January's rent paid in advance because you won't get your financial aid in time to pay by the 1st of the month. Our financial aid office only disburses financial aid the Tuesday before your classes start each semester, which is not in time to make rent if it's due the first of the month. It's really important to start budgeting that financial aid refund properly so you're not shorted on rent money by the end of the semesters! Also, now that you won’t be having a meal plan that provided 2-3 meals a day (or unlimited meals for some), you will need to factor in the cost of buying groceries and preparing your own meals. While ramen noodles may seem like the perfect college staple, learning to cook also can be a valuable skill! (Even if your version of cooking just means plugging in the quesadilla maker!)

Security Deposit
When you sign a lease for a new apartment, you will need to be ready to put down a security deposit. This is money you pay the landlord at the beginning of the lease, and is usually the equivalent to one month’s worth of rent. This is money your landlord will keep as collateral to cover any damages to unit they may find when you move out. As long as you keep your apartment in tip top shape and honor the other agreements on your lease, you should receive your entire security deposit back at the end of your lease.

Renters Insurance
In order to protect yourself and your possessions in the event of an apartment flood, fire or theft incident, it is a good idea to get a renters insurance policy. This can usually be added on to any existing policy, such as your car insurance, and is very inexpensive. The average renter’s insurance premium is $12 a month! Check out this guide that explains everything you need to know about renters insurance. 

Transportation                                                                                                                                                                                Depending on how far away your new digs are, you'll want to consider any transportation costs. With limited parking availability on campus for students, it's best to find a plan to walk, bike or take the CyRide bus. All routes in Ames are free for ISU students with their ID card! To get an idea of your nearest CyRide bus stop, click here

Furniture
If you’re moving to an apartment off campus, you’ll need your own furniture, dishes, cooking utensils and other household items. The list of needed essentials can be long, so it’s always a good idea to check with your roommates first before you commit to buying anything. Thrift stores and sites like Craigslist are a great places to look for affordable furnishings. Here's a handy list of the things you may want to split up with your roommates!

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