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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Financial Life Lessons for Broke College Students


There are so many factors that contribute to college students’ fear of the future. Uncertainty, student loans, the job search – the list could go on forever. However, money is one of the most prominent concerns of students when graduating. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 18, accounting professor John Peter Krahel tried to quell these fears in his discussion called “How to Retire a Millionaire, and Other Financial Life Lessons.” Krahel has been a member of Loyola’s accounting faculty since 2011 and holds his Ph.D. in Accounting from Rutgers Newark. 

The first financial lesson in his discussion was how to do taxes, because the stark truth is that many people do not know every step to filling out the tax return sheet, otherwise known as the W-2.  

In his discussion of taxes, Krahel outlined how to fill them out. For example, on the form, “lines 1-7 tell you how you earned money,” he said. One of the biggest choices in filling out your taxes is to fill out if you are married or not.  

The reason behind this is that you owe fewer taxes if you are married. An alternative to becoming married to owe fewer taxes is itemized deductions. Itemized deductions are expenses taxpayers can claim to decrease the money they owe to the government. For example, Krahel explained how a person can “deduct donations from charities from the taxes that they owe the government.” 

Krahel then explained how debts work. The concept of debt can be overwhelming, especially when for college students who have student loans slowly building up to be great expenses. 

To avoid these debts from building up, Krahel advised making payments on your student loans as soon as possible: the faster you pay, the more interest goes down for what you owe.  

For college loans particularly, Krahel’s advice was “hit them hard and quick.” For instance, on-time payments can lower interest rates. Another wise piece of advice was getting a credit card now. Through credit cards, one can “use [credit cards] as a tool to show the power that you are trustworthy.” This advice carries over to all generations of life – allowing us to know how to better save money. 

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Financial Life Lessons for Broke College Students