It’s not easy saving for college today. There are so many pitfalls to avoid, and so many unscrupulous financial advisers out there. You know you must invest in your future if you want to live comfortably. But how do you trust your financial adviser when she has such questionable behavior?
She’s The Toughest Person To Get In Contact With
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I was fortunate to attend a big name university. Unfortunately, it didn’t believe in hiring a suitable amount of staff as much as it cared about academics. I attended a school with over 60,000 students and only three financial advisers, but the advisers were designated for certain programs. In my program alone, there was over 1,000 students and I have no idea how many students were enrolled in the other programs.
Any person who has spent more than a few semesters in college knows that the busiest part of the semester are the first two weeks and finals week. So what does the smart veteran student do to ensure they have fifteen minutes with their adviser? They take the time to make an appointment the week before the semester begins. Shockingly, it is also impossible to get in contact with him or her during this time. It’s almost like the receptionist has been trained to tell the student on the other side of the phone, that she’s busy, in a meeting or the most hated excuse, “she’s out for lunch.” So in the end, the only choice you have is to pack into the smallest office building on campus and wait for hours with fifty other people.
How do you trust someone you have to perform magic tricks to get in contact with? During orientation they told me that my guidance and financial aid adviser should become my new best friends. But when I call my best friend, she picks up the phone. It’s hard to build a relationship with someone who probably looks at you as just another person waiting in line.
She/He Seems Like A Car Salesman
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It might just be me, but when I was able to get in contact with my adviser, it always felt like I was talking to a salesman instead of a counselor. I felt like the campus was their selling lot and they were in charge of getting as many students as possible to sign up for student loans. Which is probably why I am so freaked out by the idea of taking out a loan for anything. Every time I think about it, I see my adviser behind her wooden desk covered with her stacks of paper and an outdated computer.
And I am sure I am not the only person who has had someone tell you,”it’s not a big deal to take out student loans, you will pay them back quickly.” Huh? During my second year, I met another student who was a sophomore and had already taken out $30,000 in student loans. And he was not in school to become a doctor or a lawyer. The economy is horrible right now, students with college degrees are forced to work in bars or as waitresses. The issue of student loans has always been addressed in the news. No matter what your plans are post graduation, you should never go overboard with your student loans.
Disbursements Takes Forever And A Day
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The school calendar for the preceding year was always provided six months ahead of time. The calendar included; when classes start and end, the withdrawal deadline, add or drop deadline, when grades are posted and the day that resembles Christmas, the financial aid disbursements date. I was always so excited on this day, only to be constantly disappointed year after year.
I would wake up two hours before my classes started and check my bank account to view the spontaneous increase in funds, but nothing. Afterwards, I would shrug it off and just tell myself that I needed to wait until later in the afternoon, maybe my bank is just slow. So I would check my account again at two o’clock, still nothing. And that’s when I would be forced to come to the realization that my university did not send my disbursement check to the bank. And the rest of the day would be ruined.
So what does a poor college student do? I went through the obstacles to get in touch with my financial adviser just for her to give me a single response, “There’s a unexpected amount of students and we are getting funds sent out as soon as possible.” How was this same response suitable for each year of my college career?
Your Best Option
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At the end of the end of the day, your best option is to rely on yourself for financial assistance. You are brilliant, you are strong, and you are confident. You made it into your dream college. You are amazing and no one has the better intentions for you beside yourself.
Fastweb is a great resource for finding scholarships and different forms of financial aid. My first two years of college were paid for by a scholarship I applied to from this website. Zinch is another website that offers a Three Sentence Essay Scholarship that awards $1000 every week. Having a horrible financial aid adviser or a shortage of funds is not an excuse to give up on school, it’s an additional reason to rely on yourself to increase your funds.
Life doesn’t end after graduation, another chapter opens up that possibly includes; a husband/wife, kids, a house and car. Even if you are against the first two ideas, there’s still two more to consider. And I am sure there will be purchases in your life that will require huge loans. And the amount of risk you are willing to accept in your portfolio is up to you. If you need assistance protecting those more valuable investments, check out www.securitycompanies.
Trusting a financial adviser is not easy in today’s world, it’s easier to rely on yourself. Use these signs as a guide to put your adviser to the test and protect your future.
Do you have any financial adviser horror stories? Let us know.
This is a guest post by Kristina Jackson. Kristina is freelance writer in technology, gaming and design. When she’s not writing about one of those three topics, she usually can be found painting or making plans to conquer the world while taking cooking lessons.