Financial Information Comes to Mesa

A lecture gave students advice on how to handle their money correctly.

Ian Caffarel, Staff Writer

On February 21, Rae Russell gave students at Mesa College received pertinent advice to people their age group: how to manage their money.

Russell is a volunteer for the San Diego Financial Literacy Center, which provides free financial services throughout the county. She shared some information with students about things such as financial planning, how advertisements get people to spend more money, debt management, and so much more.

Russell began with a hypothetical trip to New York, saying that one would need a plan to get there; she then described how finances are similar to a trip. She remarked that “in today’s society, you must become an educated consumer.”

In addition,she stated that as a nation, “our consumer debt has tripled in the past 10 years.” On top of that, she explained that the personal savings rate in the U.S. has fallen from 10 percent in the mid-80s to zero percent in 2005. To put things into perspective, the last time the rate was that low was during the Great Depression. Also, she brought up some methods of paying off debt, and discussed how both young students and older people, and, on top of that, the U.S. government, could use these methods as well. These include paying off one debt at a time, then using the money that gets freed up from paying off that debt on the next one, along with meeting with a financial counselor to form a plan.

She also talked about investing money, discussing how much someone can earn at different percentages of interest over a long amount of time using the “Rule of 72.” This rule gives the approximate number of years it takes for an investment to double. For instance, a one-time investment of 1,000 dollars at three percent interest will double after 24 years, while it will take 12 to double at six percent interest, and only six years at 12 percent interest.

As if all that talk about compound interest wasn’t enough, she brought up how much 200 dollars in monthly savings could accumulate over 35 years. At three percent interest, it would net 148,680 dollars. Six percent would bring it to 286,370. And 12 percent interest will bring the total to 1.3 million. She finished that segment with, “doesn’t your family deserve that ‘extra’ million dollars?”

Russell finished the lecture with some strong remarks, such as “millions of parents are worried about their children’s future.” She also stated that parents would like to teach their kids about finances, but the sad truth is that many parents are not skilled enough with their own money to offer solid guidance. To drive this home, she brought up polls that showed how mid-teens to young adults feel unprepared to face the complex world that is the 21st century, and added that most people don’t plan to fail, rather, they fail to plan.

The SDFLC will be returning to Mesa on Mar. 14, to do a lecture on income taxes.

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