Act your wage.

Photo Mar 10, 1 52 19 PM

“Act your wage. This is another gem from personal finance guru Dave Ramsey.

I definitely did not act my wage when I was a college student. I took on student loan debt every semester, and I opened my first credit card sophomore year when a CC company was offering free 2 liter bottles of Coca Cola in exchange for filling out an application on the quad. This predatory practice has since been banned.

And yet, our students remain burdened by debt. The cost of college has risen faster than the cost of living, and finance rates on students loans have gotten higher, too. (My last student loan from undergrad carried a 1% finance rate. Good luck finding that today.)

It’s easy for young people to dig themselves into debt today. A new credit card is a click away, and it’s not much harder to obtain a student or car loan. Anyone on social media is inundated by false images of people “living their best lives” through overconsumption of crap they don’t need, much of it purchased with money they don’t have.

In my developmental English classes, we have the luxury of focusing on any content we find worth pursuing. This semester, we’re exploring common sense. We’ve nearly finished reading Hans Rosling’s Factfulness, and next we’re moving on to Dan Ariely’s Dollars and Sense. Rosling’s fascinating work focuses on misconceptions about broad, global issues, yet throughout our discourse about these broad misconceptions, we have returned again and again to the ways we get it wrong when it comes to money.

And so I’ve created these annual debt and savings trackers for my students, and I’m sharing them here so you can have them, too. Imagine tracking your monthly debt for a year, and seeing those numbers go down every month. Or, if you don’t have any debt, imagine watching those savings numbers go up. When we track something, when we decide that something is worth attending to, and noting, we give power to the intention behind that choice.

Are you taking control of your personal finances? What tools or books have you found most helpful? Please share in the comments.

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