SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.-- --
Once high school ends, and work and college life begins, many young adults are left with a plethora of questions, especially when it comes to managing money.
Ellicott High School seniors voted on what subjects they are most unsure about after high school, and Finance management took the top spot.
Fortunately, Liz Archuleta, 50th Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant, spent a morning sharing advice - the same she often imparts to the young Airmen at Schriever – in the form of a financial management class at Ellicott High School, in Ellicott, Colorado, Oct. 10.
“We reach our financial goals by determining what kind of support we have, how many months it will take one to achieve these goals and how much you need to save every single month,” Archuleta said. “Take all your income, minus your expenses, and take what’s left and put it into savings.”
Archuleta gauged the audience, asking how much each student spends on things like phone and car payments, if they had a job outside of school and if they had an allowance.
She then divided expenses into a “wants” and “needs” list, helping students identify what should be prioritized.
“Now we have to put a price tag next to the items listed,” Archuleta said. “What happens if you don’t make enough that month? If you can’t pay your car insurance? You have to adjust your budget, maybe skip going out to eat and have ramen noodles at home instead.”
Archuleta detailed how making a savings plan can exponentially increase savings over time through interest, and can help the students prepare for emergency situations and retirement.
“If you put 3,000 dollars in a ten percent interest-bearing investment, by the time you are 65, you could have almost a million and a half dollars,” she said. “This is from only a 3,000 dollar investment. This is called compound interest - interest stacking upon interest. At 65, you can retire, and have a million dollars to do it.”
She advocated for smart budgeting and provided details on how this and financial aid programs can help students in the near future, as well as detailed the benefits of joining the military for college.
Archuleta advised student loans should only be used as a last resort.
“A lot of you are going to have to find a way to pay for college - apply for programs, like a work study,” Archuleta said. “If all else fails, take the minimum amount of student loans you need. Student loan debts are in the trillions. My advice is to find ways to subsidize your college, you can help do that by saving.”
During the class, she handed out free financial strategy books to the students. Archuleta detailed their contents and recommended studying further to help prepare.
“In your book there are sections that highlight financial goals; everybody has different goals for what they want to save for,” she said. “You have to set a budget. You have to figure out what your income is and start saving.”
Andrea Hernandez, 50th FSS Airman and Family Readiness Center chief, said the event was an appropriate response to the survey.
“Financial education was their top choice,” she said. “This class helped give the students a solid financial foundation to build upon.”
Hernandez highlighted how the event not only helps prepare students for life beyond high school, it also strengthens the bonds between Schriever and the local community.
“Schriever has a longstanding relationship with District 22, and this is another way to strengthen community relations,” she said.