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Investing Money While in College

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 3/10/2011

Investing money while in college is an excellent way to start early to secure a financial future. College student investing may require dealing with some unique challenges in investing that are not likely to be faced by those who have already entered the work force.

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    Financial Planning While in College

    savings College students are in the unenviable position of needing to focus their attention on their education. Most college students are not overly concerned about their financial future, in fact, most are not thinking beyond the next semester. However, there are several good reasons why a college student should start investing money while in college.

    Financial planning does not mean that a student has to have thousands of dollars a month available to invest. There are many options that would allow college student investing using modest amounts of money that will accumulate over time. While no investment offers any guarantees, beginning a sensible investment plan while in college can provide long term benefits.

    Having an investment plan while in college can lay the foundation for long-term financial success. Additionally, small amounts of money invested over time may add up considerably. The benefits of investing small amounts of money can mean that a college student may be able to provide their own start-up capital for a business venture and avoid the traps associated with venture capital investments.

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    Long-Term Investment Strategies

    For a college student, investing may seem nearly impossible. College students often have to scrape money together to make ends meet, let along find the funds that would allow them to save money. However, college students who take time to learn what they need to know about investing while in college may find that it is not as challenging as they think. There are many options for college students to explore including:

    Growth Funds - many mutual funds offer special classes of funds that are called "growth funds". These funds typically invest aggressively in companies that are expected to show a significant rate of return over time. While there is not guarantee, these funds can provide high rates of return. Many mutual funds offer investments as low as $100 initial investment and allow for additional investments of as little as $25 per month thereafter;

    Savings Bonds - college students who are considering investing while in college may also consider savings bonds. While the return may be low, there are some benefits to savings bonds including guaranteed returns and protection of principal. Those who invest in savings bonds need not be concerned about losing money;

    DRIPs - Divident Reinvestment plans are offered by several companies including many "blue chip" companies. College students may be able to find a company that allows them to invest a small amount of money up-front while allowing them to reinvest the divdends (and where applicable capital gains) into additional shares.

    Students who are planning for their future should not make any firm decisions without discussing their finances with a qualified professional. However, if using savings bonds or money market accounts, chances are that the principal amount of the investment will be intact when the student is interested in withdrawing their funds.

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    1. Forbes: Alexandra Zendrian,: Investing while unemployed
    2. U.S Securities and Exchange Commission website,
    3. Writer's Personal Experience

    Image Credit:

    • Yellow Piggy Banks via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)