An Elon professor recently traded his Thursday night to college students who penny-pinch and live paycheck-to-paycheck.
Anthony Hatcher, associate professor of communications, led a presentation titled, “Life After Elon: Preparing for the Real World,” sponsored by Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.
“What I wanted to do with my workshop is tell students what I wish someone had told me when I was 21,” Hatcher said.
“Life After Elon,” was a part of Elon University’s Professional Discovery Week. Hatcher’s seminar focused on tips for how students should handle their finances after graduation.
He said he heard a majority of the students worrying about how to handle their finances upon graduation and wanted to create a presentation to act as a guideline to help students through the challenging transition.
Hatcher began by asking how many people predicted being in debt after graduating and an overwhelming majority of the audience said they thought they would be. Due to the harsh realities of life after college, Hatcher urged the students to not only to set goals for the future, but to set financial goals as well.
Senior Jordan Only said the presentation helped her come to terms of her financial situation after graduation.
“Hatcher made me realize that I’m unfortunately going to be broke for the next couple of years,” Only said. “I learned a lot but it definitely gave me a more realistic expectation for life after we leave Elon.”
Additionally, Hatcher discussed the cost of living discrepancies throughout the country. He said although in bigger cities the incomes may be larger, the cost of living will be substantially higher than in a smaller city. For example, according to Hatcher, one could make roughly $35,000 yearly in Charlotte, N.C. and have to make over $80,000 annually in order to have the same style of living in New York City.
Hatcher also stressed the importance of being proactive with money by budgeting wisely, buying used cars instead of new, learning to cook instead of eating out and buying clothing that doesn’t need to be dry cleaned.
He also said that the use of a credit union rather than a traditional bank can reduce excess charges. Credit Unions are nonprofit organizations owned by their customers, called members. Without pressure from outsider owners for increased profits, credit unions are able to provide the same great services as a large bank for a fraction of the price.
Because establishing credit is of utmost importance, he said, he suggested to use plastic whenever possible, but to have cash on hand for the small things.
After witnessing firsthand the poor financial habits of his senior level capstone class, Hatcher set about creating his presentation.
The presentation was a part of the Elon University Student Professional Development Center’s Professional Discovery Week, which took place from February 17-20, in efforts to ease the transition between college and the “real world.”
Professional Discovery Week was a series of fourteen events, which were free and open to all students. According to the Elon website, all majors could benefit from all of the events and take advantage of the opportunities offered and gain more knowledge on how to build a personal brand, explore different career options and lean effective strategies for searching for a job.
The different events highlighted focused on various techniques for interviewing, networking and applying to graduate school, and how to transition from campus to college.
Hatcher summed his message up in just a few words.
“Save, budget and spend wisely,” he said. “It’s that simple.”
Elon senior, Jordan Thomas said he did not expect to learn so much in only an hour.
“I learned a lot about how to handle life after college and how to budget appropriately,” said Thomas. “I’m going to try really hard to maintain a good financial situation.”