Money is tricky. People love to spend it but hate to see it go.
In 2016 only 32% of Americans kept a household budget, according to Debt.com. While financial literacy may not be everyone’s forte, there are businesses and people in Greenville that are here to help.
We checked in with a few local resources who can help decode the scary finance world and have recommended podcasts that are available on iTunes.
Beginners in the financial realm: Peyton Hoppes with Parallel Finance
Hoppes, a financial advisor and a 2016 graduate from Clemson University, finds that always having a budget, no matter the income, is crucial to becoming successful with money.
Budgeting at a young age builds good habits. “It is even important when you’re older and hopefully making more money,” he said.
Budgeting also helps consumers meet goals such as paying off student loans and keeping up with credit card bills. “At some point, everyone will face some sort of debt,” Hoppes said.
With a budget, people are able to better understand what they have money-wise and what they can do with it. “One means of properly financing is having a savings account,” he said.
Money can be invested and saved through a number of means, such as a 401(k). “That can’t be bought later in life,” Hoppes said.
For more information about finance for beginners, listen to: “So Money” with Farnoosh Torabi
Getting out of debt: Erik Mizell with Foster Victor Wealth Advisors
According to Mizell, there are different types of debt and people of various age groups have different debts they are focused on. When taking debt into account, he said it is important to find a way to minimize the interest impact, especially for a debt that has to be strung out for a while, like student loans.
“To minimize debt, you have to minimize the interest rate as much as you can,” Mizell said. “Whether it be through some refinance situation, if that is available, or looking at strategically how to pay down additional payments to knock some of the interest back.”
There are many ways to create momentum in terms of how to pay down debt, but the worst idea is to overpay on everything being paid off at once. “You are just spreading excess wealth across four to five different debt obligations instead of just honing in on one of them,” Mizell said.
Mizell advises people to control their spending urges until debts are paid off. “People need to reign in their spending enough to where it allows them to have excess cash to pay off their debt.”
For more information about getting out of debt, listen to: “The Dave Ramsey Show” with Dave Ramsey
Students and new graduates: Crystal Pitrois and Amber Morgan with Greenville Technical College
Today, roughly 70% of American students end up taking out loans to go to college, according to marketplace.org. Once they have left, typically they are leaving with, on average, $30,000 in debt.
It can be hard for college students and recent graduates to maneuver the financial realm, but Greenville Technical College’s Financial Education Center provides programs and events to help educate students on topics like budgeting and credit. One event the center holds twice a year is Budget Con, made possible by charitable donations from TD Bank.
Students do research on their desired career field and bring that information to Budget Con. “Students will then visit tables where they make hypothetical life choices about topics like housing, buying a car, taxes, insurance and medical expenses,” Morgan said.
After the event is over, participants are required to write down how much they plan to borrow in order to pay for school. “They then see their student loan payment juxtaposed against their rent expenses, desired salary and more,” Pitrois said.
Pitrois went on to say that they have conversations about how to make the educational experience for the students more affordable once expenses have been evaluated. “Student loans are just like any other investment, so you have to make sure it is being used wisely,” Morgan said.
For more information about finances for college students and recent graduates, listen to: “The College Investor Audio Show” with Robert Farrington
Women in finance: Veronica Mackey with Parallel Finance
According to a study by UC Davis, women account for only 18% of people who have finance jobs.
That is also how Mackey views it. “There just aren’t a lot of women in the finance industry,” she said.
Mackey said she believes the finance industry would do well with more women, who, she said, would find it to be a rewarding career. “I think it is an issue of just not knowing where to start, since finance covers a wide spectrum of careers,” Mackey said.
Despite gender, it is important to Mackey that people know how to take responsibility for their money. “No one is going to write you a check. At the end of the day, you have to take responsibility for the money you make,” Mackey said.
With the money being made, Mackey hopes that the older people become, the less strict their income is. “Don’t go into credit debt to pay for things, have money set aside that goes into savings accounts and don’t live beyond your means,” Mackey said.
For more information about women in finance, listen to: “The Fairer Cents” with Tanja Hester and Kara Perez
Seasoned investor: Hans Blake with Intelligent Investing
For those who have been earning money for awhile, it is important to know how to properly invest it, Blake said. There are various books, blogs and podcasts that can act as guidance, but having a coach or mentor really helps with accountability.
Blake, a chartered financial analyst charterholder and an investor since he was a teenager, said he feels passionate about minimizing financial stress in order to maximize his client’s lives. “The number one stress in America is finance,” Blake said.
He feels that the worry with money will never go away and finds that the more there is the more stress there will be. “That is why we are here, to help people invest in their retirement and get involved with their money,” Blake said.
Blake works with people on their tax and estate plans as well, being able to create personal files in-house for his clients. “We don’t sell products to our clients, we are a fee-only fiduciary,” Blake said.
The profile-creating process is thorough, evaluating risk factors and how willing clients are to invest their money. “We start by asking what their goals are, what are their wants, needs, and wishes, what is their time horizon and so much more,” Blake said.
For more information about seasoned investors, listen to: “The Disciplined Investor” with Andrew Horowitz