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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Credit cards – good or bad?

clip_image002Managing your money is an invaluable life skill which probably starts in earnest when you head off to uni, and then again when you land your first job. You’ll probably find that all the banks will be bending over backwards to offer you a credit card because you are their ‘target market’! If you are going to take up their offer for this valuable piece of plastic, you’d be wise to compare credit cards before leaping at the first offer.

Credit cards offer many benefits including, as one slogan once said, they “take the waiting out of wanting”. But is that a good thing? What happened to the good old fashioned way of saving up for something before actually buying it?

The reality is that we live in a fast-paced commercial world where developing a good credit history will actually be a positive thing. If you have no track record of managing your finances, including credit, you won’t be able to develop and good credit score and that might affect being able to borrow money in the future.

Having a credit card and using it wisely helps to show that you can manage your money sensibly. For their part, banks try to be transparent and there is plenty of information available on top credit cards so you can see which are the most popular and what exactly they offer.

So how do credit cards actually work? Well, with that piece of plastic comes a credit limit, for example £500. That means you can go straight out and spend £500 just by handing over your shiny new credit card. You then get a statement telling you how much you have spent using your card and when you need to make payments to repay the debt. If you pay it all back by the first monthly deadline then you pay no interest. (This is the best option!) The alternative is to pay it back month by month and interest is added to the outstanding amount.

As a graduate when you get a job and have a regular monthly income, monthly repayments are quite doable. As a student, whilst it’s tempting to rush to the shops and buy all those (non-essentials) you have craved, just put your sensible hat on for a moment and think about where the repayments are going to come from.

Credit cards are both good and bad – it really depends on whose wallet/purse they are in!

Accountancy Career Guide - What Route Could You Take?

Thinking of an accountancy career? This handy infographic maps out the path to getting into a career in accountancy and gives a clear and concise overview of what you need to pursue in order to work in different areas.

A guide through your career from accountancy qualifications to becoming chartered - An infographic by the team at myfuturerole.com

Thursday, 6 June 2013

4 in 5 students constantly worry about money

According to a new survey, nearly 80% of current university students are worried about having enough money to live.

The associated stress appears to be having a knock-on effect on broader student welfare too, with over
one-half of those surveyed claiming that money issues affect their academic studies and more than two-thirds admitting that their diet suffers due to a lack of money.

The nationwide survey, carried out by Save the Student on 2,332 undergraduate students, also revealed that the average monthly student spend has increased by 11.2% compared to the equivalent 2012 survey.

Significantly higher rental prices are the main culprit, and in response it is clear that students are becoming much more cost conscious when it comes to 'luxuries'. Most notably, spend on socialising has almost halved from £120 a month in 2012 to just £61 a month this year.

Securing a part-time job is still the most popular way that students look to alleviate their money troubles, with two-thirds currently holding a part-time role or looking for one.

The most surprising statistic revealed by the survey however, is that 1 in 5 students have turned to gambling as a way to make money, and 1 in 4 admit that they would consider selling their body for medical trials or in the adult entertainment industry.

Over one-half of all students rely heavily on their parents for financial support, despite nearly two-thirds also claiming that they feel their parents don't help them enough. Only 8% would turn to their university in a financial emergency, preferring a trip to their bank.

Jake Butler, editor of Save the Student, comments:

“It's clear that now, more than ever before, students require much more in the way of support, awareness and wider education when it comes to personal finance. Maintenance loans only go so far to cover the rising cost of living. It's also important that students are made aware that support is there for those who really need it, for example in the form of university grants and funds and through advice portals like ourselves.

It really does concern me when we see how much worry and stress money issues are causing, when after all students should be focusing 100% on their studies.”

The results show that a lack of money is a cause for worry across the entire student population, with very little difference between the genders or indeed between first years (who are under the new student finance system) and other years. It will be interesting to see what happens in next year's survey.