Words from the Wise: managing your money

Rick Bee, director of alumni and parents and professor of elective “Faith and Money,” gives helpful money lessons to ensure financial success.


Grant Walter

Grant Walter/THE CHIMES

Rick Bee, Writer

For many of you, your final college days are coming to an abrupt end, just like sand through the hourglass — queue dramatic music. Okay, that may be a little too dramatic, but you know what? It’s true! In just a few weeks you will be a graduate! And you will join the list of significant graduates that have come before you at this place called Biola. It will be time to step out on your own to make a mark of your own.

As alumni director, I want you to know how proud we are of you and pleased for you as you take the training you have received here and make a difference for Christ’s kingdom wherever you go. In the classroom, boardroom, studio or operating room, there are more than 65,000 Biola alumni around the world. You need to know that you are not alone out there, and whatever we can do as an alumni association to help you get established, we will do!

As a faculty member who teaches on faith and money, here are a couple of quick money lessons that will help ensure your financial success:

1) Get the best first job you can get, but don’t be so selective that you become incapacitated. Yes, the job market is difficult, but you have resources and networks that perhaps you haven’t even thought of yet. Use them. Faculty, staff, friends and parents all have networks that will benefit your search. It’s not a bad thing to use the resources you have been given, so don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own.

2) Know where your debt is, and know what your payments will be. I have many students that come into their senior year with no idea of how much college debt they have or how they will pay for it. Take an inventory of your debt, including interest rates and payment schedules. It will help you as you plan for that first job.

3) When you land that first job, start saving for retirement immediately. Okay, that’s a long way away, and life eats up your paycheck. I get that, but compounding — Google it if you don’t know what it is — is an amazing tool that, if used well immediately after you graduate, will make life much more pleasant when you get there . And even a couple of years delay in a retirement plan can make significant differences in what life looks like later. So start saving. Even $25 a week can make a huge difference with compounding.

4) Make a budget, and stick with it, even if you are in a panic about how you are going to make ends meet — and even if you’re not, but should be! If you make a budget and stick to, it you will help eliminate stress and perhaps even discover that things aren’t as bad as they seem. And if things are as bad as they seem, it will help you create a strategy to survive!

5) Live within your means. That might mean living at home with mom and dad for a while or putting off getting that new car. But determining that “you won’t buy anything unless you have the cash to pay for it” will help ensure that you don’t dig yourself deeper into the debt pit.

6) Know and understand your FICO score and what that means! Establishing a good FICO or credit score can mean the difference between a great loan with amazing interest rates and a horrible loan with tragic interest rates. And even more than that, it may make the difference between approval and denial when you are ready to get that first credit card, car or even a home!

7) Finally, be a good steward of what God has entrusted to you both now and in the future. What you have is not yours but God’s, and we are only stewards of the resources he gives to us. Don’t believe it? You can check for yourself in 1 Chronicles 29:10-16 and see what David has to say about what we give and who owns it all!That’s my wisdom for the day, whether you are graduating or still working your way through this great place called Biola! We are proud of each of you and do look forward to what you, as the next great generation, will accomplish in His name!

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