Reading List: Personal Finance

pex finance

How we budget, save, and invest our money is something that we all must examine in our lives. Thankfully, there are several resources available to help you get started on your journey with personal finance. This reading list includes both print books and eBooks that are all about saving for retirement, paying off student debt, calculating returns, and more!

 

*book descriptions provided by the publishers c/o the library catalog

 

You Can Do The Math: Overcome Your Math Phobia And Make Better Financial Decisions by Ronald Lipsman

In You Can Do the Math, Ron Lipsman draws from over 30 years of teaching mathematics to help you take control of your financial destiny by applying basic arithmetic techniques. Step by step, he walks you through the fundamental calculations that underlie virtually every financial decision.

 

The Personal Finance Calculator: How to Calculate the Most Important Financial Decisions in Your Life by Esme Faeber (eBook)

Is it better to buy or lease a car? How does one calculate an investment return? For that matter, what exactly is an investment return? The Personal Finance Calculator provides non-complex tools and calculations for assessing current personal wealth, determining how much debt is too much debt, understanding credit card interest rates, and more.

 

How To Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide by Jane Bryant Quinn

With How to Make Your Money Last, you will learn how to turn your retirement savings into a steady paycheck that will last for life. Today, people worry that they’re going to run out of money in their older age. That won’t happen if you use a few tricks for squeezing higher payments from your assets- from your Social Security account (find the hidden values there), pension (monthly income or lump sum?), home equity (sell and invest the proceeds or take a reverse mortgage?), savings (should you buy a lifetime annuity?), and retirement accounts (how to invest and- critically- how much to withdraw from your savings each year?). The right moves will not only raise the amount you have to spend, they’ll stretch out your money over many more years.

 

No-Nonsense Finance by Errold F. Moody (eBook)

A straight-talking, real-life guide to all the aspects of personal financial planning by acclaimed web author E.F. Moody.

 

Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing by Sandy Baum

This book analyzes reliable evidence to tell the true story of student debt in America. One of the nation’s foremost experts on college finance, Sandy Baum exposes how misleading the widely accepted narrative on student debt is. Baum combines data, research, and analysis to show how the current discourse obscures serious problems, risks misdirecting taxpayer dollars, and could deprive too many Americans of the educational opportunities they deserve. This book and its policy recommendations provide the basis for a new and more constructive national agenda to make paying for college more manageable.

 

Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know by Leonard Burman & Joel Slemrod

Most contemporary Americans know little about how their tax system works. But with heated debates over taxation now roiling Congress and the nation, an understanding of our tax system is of vital importance. In this book the authors, both tax scholars, offer explanations of how our tax system works, how it affects people and businesses, and how it might be improved. Organized in a question-and-answer format, the book describes the intricacies of the modern tax system.

 

501 Ways for Adult Students to Pay for College: Going Back to School Without Going Broke by Gen & Kelly Tanabe (eBook)

Adults can find the means to go back to school despite the pressures of work, family, and a mortgage with this guide to funding continued education. With expanded information on online and distance learning and part-time classes and new financial aid, loan, and scholarship opportunities, this updated resource teaches adult students how to find and win scholarships designed especially for them, obtain financial support from employers, get financial aid for distance learning, receive larger financial aid packages, take advantage of educational tax breaks, and trade tuition costs for volunteer service.

 

How to Have a Big Wedding on a Small Budget: Cut Your Wedding Costs in Half by Diane Warner

Provides advice on planning an economical wedding, including how to save money on wedding attire, flowers, food, and music, and offers sample budgets, current average costs, and histories of four weddings.

 

Budgeting Basics & Beyond by Jae K. Shim & Joel G. Siegel (eBook)

Financial and non-financial managers need to simplify their day-to-day work on important areas including budgeting, control, and planning, financial planning and modeling, project analysis, and capital budgeting. This updated desk reference gets to the core of every budgeting and planning issue fast.

 

The Theory of the Individual in Economics: Identity and Value by John Bryan Davis (eBook)

The concept of the individual and his/her motivations is a bedrock of philosophy. Economics, though, is guilty of taking this hugely important concept without questioning how we theorise it. This superb book remedies this oversight.

 

 

 

 

 

How To Check Out A Library Book

how to check out a book

So you’re ready to check out a library book- here’s how to do that:

1. Locate the book that you need. You can do this by looking up the book by using our online catalog and then finding the book by its call number on our shelves- click this link for more help with that, or go to the Circulation Desk for in-person help.

2. Take the book down to the first floor.

3. Option 1: use the self-check machine, located near the North doors, to check out the book. You will need your student ID for this option. Follow the prompts on the screen to check out the book.

Option 2: take the book to the Circulation Desk and ask the library employee for help checking it out. The library employee will then either scan your ID or ask for your name to look up your account, and then they will check it out to you.

4. Look for a due date receipt in your email- these receipts are automatically sent from our system and will remind you when your book is due back.

5. Eventually, you will need to return your book by its due date- check out this blog post for more information about how to return your library items!

 

*you can use this same process to check out DVDs and audiobooks as well!

How To Book The Online Interview Studio

in

We are excited to host the Vocatio Center’s Online Interview Studio here in the Logos building. This studio provides students with video-conference software and an aesthetic backdrop for their online interviews.

 

There are two ways that a Union student can book the Online Interview Studio:

Book online.

  1. Go to interview.vocatiocenter.com.
  2. Select the date and time for your interview. Bookings need to be made at least 24 hours in advance of your interview time.
  3. Click “Submit Times.”
  4. Fill out the online form with your student information.
  5. Click “Submit Booking.”
  6. When it’s time for your interview, arrive early at the library. Go to the Circulation Desk and check out the studio’s key and remotes using your student ID.
  7. Head to room 112 and get set up! There are instructions inside the studio.
  8. When the interview is over, please return the keys and remotes to the Circulation Desk.

 

Book at the Circulation Desk.

  1. Walk up to the Circulation Desk and ask to book the Online Interview Studio.
  2. Provide your name and email to the library employees so that they can make your booking.
  3. When it’s time for your interview, arrive early at the library. Go to the Circulation Desk and check out the studio’s key and remotes using your student ID.
  4. Head to room 112 and get set up! There are instructions inside the studio.
  5. When the interview is over, please return the keys and remotes to the Circulation Desk.

 

 

5 Tips For Proofreading

proofreading day

A majority of our time in college is spent writing. We write essays, responses, critiques, and many other forms of writing throughout a given semester. With all of this writing, sometimes an important step can be left out: proofreading. So in the spirit of National Proofreading Day (March 8th), here are some tips for proofreading.

 

  1. Take A Break: After you have finished writing a draft of a paper, take a break. Leave the assignment, and if possible, give yourself around 24 hours to think about the topic you’re writing about. This method is most helpful for longer papers but requires you to get started early. If you have spent hours writing, you will lose some objectivity while looking over the paper. You will be too familiar with it and this will make finding mistakes more difficult. So get started early and allow yourself time to think about the paper before returning to proofread it.

  2. Read It Out Loud: Another great way of finding mistakes in your writing is to read it out loud. Sometimes when typing, we think something sounds correct in our heads. However, many times when we read our writing out loud we can see where an argument or sentence doesn’t make sense. This is a great way to see if your sentences are run-ons, if you repeat yourself too much, and if the paragraph or page flows well.

  3. Pay Attention To Wordiness: We all have word counts we need to meet with every paper, but many times better writing is concise writing. Sentences with too many words can be difficult to read, and you can lose your audience’s attention. Instead of adding extra words to try to finish the paper, take the time and energy to carefully choose your words. This will make your paper stronger and can lead to a better grade.

  4. Write Actively: Verbs drive language. When proofreading, look for how many times you use a “to be” verb, such as “is,” “are,” and “were.” These passive verbs make sentences weaker and can bring down an entire paper. Try to reorder the sentence so that you can remove the linking passive verbs and insert stronger, more powerful ones. To check, press “ctrl” and “f” on your keyboard and then search for those words. It may shock you to see how many times you use passive voice.

  5. Ask Someone Else To Read Your Paper: One of the best ways to proofread is to allow someone else to do it for you! Finding other students in a specific class and exchanging papers can be a great way to find mistakes in each other’s writing and make new friends! Have you ever lost something, spent minutes looking for it, and then someone else comes in the room and finds it almost immediately? As frustrating as that can be, writing is the same way. Sometimes one glance from someone who is not familiar with the writing can be all you need to improve your paper.

 

Writing is a challenge and after completing a difficult assignment, proofreading may seem like a useless check. However, if you dedicate yourself to editing and rereading your paper, you will see an improvement in your writing, and perhaps also in your grades.

*written by Brennan Kress

 

How To Make Time For Reading As A Busy College Student

pex reading

I’ve worked in the library for several years, and one thing I hear a lot from students is “I wish I could read that book, but I don’t have time!”

Now, I’m not here to give you a lecture on time management, or to tell you to stop doing homework so that you can read for fun! That’s definitely not what you should be doing as a student. However, I do think many students would like to find the time to read in their busy lives, so here are a few tips on how to squeeze in some reading time.

 

Read on-the-go.

Did you know that you can download eBooks from our library website? Once they’re downloaded on your Kindle, phone, or laptop, you can read the eBook even if you’re online. This is a great option for time spent waiting in line at Barefoots or sitting at the doctor’s office- those few extra minutes could be reading time!

 

Read on breaks.

From Christmas break to summer break, there’s usually a few hours to spare for leisurely reading. When I look at my Goodreads statistics, I can see that I typically read the most during J-Term, when I have a few days off of work and a less hectic schedule.

 

Read during meals.

Meal breaks are a great time to read a quick chapter or a few poems, especially if you find yourself in Cobo at a time when none of your friends are available for lunch.

 

Read before bed.

If you tend to reach for your phone before you turn out the lights, maybe you could reach for your book instead! If it’s a physical book, then its pages won’t emit sleep-disrupting light like screens do.

 

 

But what to read?

5 Financial Tips For College Students

pex finance

Recently, I have taken the Personal Financial Management class here at Union, and as I am about to graduate in the spring, I have begun to think more and more about more and more of my own finances. Here are 5 tips in personal finance:

1. Pay in cash.

If you can, try to pay for things up front and in cash. Whether it is a new phone or a new car, try to use cash. As college students, we probably already have thousands of dollars of debt anyways. We really don’t need more.

2. Pay off your student debt ASAP.

Becoming a college student is one of the best decisions you can make in your life. It can also be one of the most expensive. Once you graduate, it is important that you live meagerly and attempt to pay off your debt in a timely manner. The longer you wait, the more debt will accrue.

3. Save, save, save.

Once you start paying off your debts, you can start allocating your money to other things. One important tip I have learned is that you can just start saving the money that you were already using to pay off your debts. You already know how to live without that money, so maybe you can keep living that way.

4. Start investing early.

One of the classic and most important financial tips is investing early. Putting money into a 401K or mutual funds is critical. Money you invest now will grow exponentially, and being financially aware now can legitimately help you to become a millionaire by the time you retire.

5. Give to charity and to the Church.

This is something you should already be doing. God has told us that we should give a portion of our earnings to God. This is the most important tip I can give you. Give, not only because God will reward you, but because we are called to.

 

There are many other tips out there! Learning how to create a budget, creating an emergency fund, treating yourself every now and then, having small side jobs, and writing down your goals are just a few others. More than anything, the most important thing is to be responsible with the resources given to you!

 

*written by Donny Turner

What Is Being An Intern Really Like?

patrick-amoy-OSiLnlAcwYg-unsplash.jpg

Last semester, I wrote a blog post on how to get an internship. Over the summer, I was given a chance to work as an intern at The General Insurance in Nashville, TN. While there I learned how insurance companies determine how much insurance should actually cost for different people in different areas across the country. This was my experience:

Working as an intern in a formal office was both very similar to and extremely different from what I expected. There is a LOT of sitting. I had to be extremely intentional about getting up and walking around after work and during breaks. You definitely have to be careful about exercise when working at an office job.

I learned that the expectations were high. I hit the ground running at this internship; they immediately gave me multiple big assignments that would actually impact the team I was working for. This was one of the first times I felt like I was doing work that was genuinely fulfilling. This work was also genuinely terrifying. I had to present the work I did to the heads of our department and get critiqued on the work I had done. I loved getting to present and have positive feedback loops, but this part of the job was one of the more stressful aspects. I definitely learned more public speaking and explanation skills.

There is also significantly more downtime than I expected. Sure, there was plenty of work for me to be done, but quite a bit of it was work that I finished well ahead of deadlines, and once that is finished, you are mostly waiting for another work assignment. This aspect of the job was both wonderful and awful. On one hand it was great to get paid while doing minimal work, but also the downtime was excruciating.

One of my favorite parts of the internship was getting to meet the people. I was able to meet people from all different backgrounds from all across the country. During our internship, some of the other interns and I were given the opportunity to take a week and go to Madison, Wisconsin, the place where the main headquarters of the company are located. We were able to give a presentation on our experience on the internship and pitch an opportunity for a charity. Over the course of this week, I was able to grow extremely close with my fellow interns. We still keep up even now. I am really hoping we get to cross paths again in the future.

I think one of the best parts of an internship, besides gaining excellent experience and the people you get to meet, is getting to learn if this is something you actually want to be doing for the rest of your life. You get the opportunity to work alongside people that have been doing their job for years. You get to learn their insights and passions. Learning about a specific job and actually doing the work are two entirely different things. I went into this summer trying to decide if this was something I would want to do or if I should go to grad school. I am eternally thankful for this internship, and now I know that this kind of job is something that I would love to do after my college career has ended.

Getting an internship is a fantastic opportunity, and if you ever get the chance, you should absolutely take it!

 

*written by Donny Turner

5 Steps To Study Abroad

andrew-neel-K7JEYFDictM-unsplash

So you want to study abroad? You’ve fantasized about traveling to far off places, experiencing the culture, speaking a new language, and tasting foreign cuisine. However, despite the concept of living abroad making you starry-eyed, you may not know the best way to start planning such a trip. I recently returned from a six-month study abroad in Tokyo, and I am going to explain the steps I took to get there.

Step One: Deciding Where to Go

For some people, deciding where they want to travel is a no-brainer. For me, I had been interested in Japan for about as long as I could remember, so it had been my travel goal from the start. For some, the decision is not so easy. It can be daunting to pick one place out of the entire world to choose. To help you pick, making a list of your interests and expectations can weed out some options. Love soccer? Check out places in Europe or South America where the sport is popular. Noodles are your favorite food? Italy or a country in Asia might be your best bet. Even your dislikes can help you choose a place. Afraid of tsunamis? Avoid beachfront locations. Don’t want to learn a new language? Go somewhere that you already know the preferred tongue. After you’ve compiled your list, then you can work on the next step.

Step Two: Finding an Academic Program

If you’re lucky, your school will have a program available in the country you want to visit. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll have to be a bit more creative. If you don’t want academic credit, you don’t have to worry about finding American accredited programs, but you may also have difficulty finding scholarships. If you need academic credits, find programs that are either accredited or have connections to an American institution that can transfer those credits for you. You’ll want to contact that particular institution at this point and ask if they allow students at other institutions to concurrently enroll. This is what I did when I studied in Tokyo. I attended an international language school called KCP International but had my course credits transferred through Western Washington University. It may cost an extra fee to do this, but it shouldn’t cost a fortune, and it will open up the opportunity for a variety of academic scholarships.

Feel free to communicate with your study abroad advisor during this process. They are a wealth of information about a number of options you can choose regarding the international study. Once you’ve chosen an institution, bring it up to your advisor so that they can clear it.

Step Three: Bureaucracy, Bureaucracy, Bureaucracy

This is the part that will wear you out if you’re not careful. Between your school, the U.S. Government, and the government of the country you are visiting, you will have plenty of paperwork and requirements you will have to figure out. I cannot stress enough that you need to GET STARTED EARLY! It took me around two full years between initially talking with my study abroad advisor to actually departing for Japan.

Depending on your stay, your steps will be different. Is your country on good terms with the United States? What kind of travel insurance is the ideal one for you? Will you be flying or using some other mode of transportation? Will you have to apply for and receive an international visa? Where is the nearest consulate for your destination country? Can you bring prescription medications and, if so, how much? Will you live in dorm housing, a homestay, or will you have to arrange housing for yourself? Will you need to research and request for disability accessible amenities? Do you have to make down payments on anything for your trip? When is the best time to book travel tickets? All these and many more are questions you are going to have to figure out during the prep stage.

Use government web resources, your university staff, and your international contact to address unexpected questions. You may need to get a physical or vaccines depending on the country or program you attend, so be sure to get that done well before your trip. If this step is done well, it can save you a lot of headache down the road.

 

pex study abroad

 

Step Four: Raise Money

While you shouldn’t wait to start building your savings, you’ll probably need to apply to a program first in order to apply for some scholarships. As boring and annoying as applications can be, it can make or break your finances. I was able to receive several thousand dollars in funds from outside organizations and federal and university scholarships. Your advisor can probably recommend some scholarships for you, but a quick internet search can provide country, language, or field-specific scholarships to apply for.

Keep good track of what you’ve applied for and received, as well as application and disbursement deadlines. For many scholarships, you’ll probably need a transcript as well as letters of recommendation. I recommend getting these one time and then saving the copies to send off to however many scholarships you apply for. Many scholarships have other requirements such as writing papers after the study abroad, completing service projects, or even working for a specific entity for a specified amount of time, so please read the fine print of whatever you want to apply for. For extra liquid funds, some students get help from family members, start crowdfunding campaigns, or work to build up savings. Between my savings from two summers and winters of interning and delivery driving, as well as a generous gift from my grandparents, I had enough cash to pay for my program fees and live comfortably in one of the most expensive cities on earth while only taking out a small safety net loan. As long as you’re willing to set realistic expectations and work hard, you likely won’t have too much difficulty getting the funds you need.

Step Five: Getting Ready To Go

You’ve gotten your passport and visa, you bought your plane tickets months ago, you’ve made mental lists of everything you want to see and eat once you arrive, and you’ve even been studying your target language with renewed vigor. Now you just have to make sure your affairs are in order.

If you have a long layover before you reach your target country, I highly recommend getting a hotel room near the airport. I made the mistake of booking a sixteen-hour layover in Shanghai Pudong Airport after my fifteen-hour long-haul flight betting that the in-airport hotel would have a room available. Upon fumbling my way through Chinese customs and immigration, I hoisted my luggage on a cart and made the incredibly long trek to the hotel only to find that they were completely booked. None of the seats in the airport recline, so I was reduced to lying on the floor of the very cold international terminal, using my jacket as a blanket and maneuvering my travel pillow into a very uncomfortable headrest. All and all it was miserable, and the few hours of sleep I did get left me sore, stiff, and cranky just in time for my flight to Narita Airport.

Also, don’t forget to go to your preferred local bank and request currency for your target country as well as any countries you stop at in between. You don’t want a delayed flight to make you choose between the unfortunate airport exchange rate or starving to death in terminal C. Always remember to weigh your baggage in both pounds and kilograms before you leave and to pack only what you need. Don’t be like me and pay an extra hundred dollars on overweight charges because of a pair of ice skates I only used once.

Make sure to read up on your airline carry-on policy and to pack your carry-on bag in such a way that you can easily access its contents. You’ll also want to check the country safety rating provided by the state department for your target country and all countries you’ll stop in. The rating for China went down just a few days before I was going to leave the country. This allowed me to decide against my plans to visit the city during my layover. Look up the country’s emergency numbers before you leave and research sim card options online. I purchased a data-only sim card for my time in Japan and it was a more cost-effective tool than buying a sim card with data and a cell plan. Ultimately you’ll have to choose which option best fits your location and budget. Once all your incidentals are in order you are ready to go! However, no matter how prepared you think you are, life will still find a way to bring in odd, confusing complications to your trip. Just remember to remain flexible, and that this will probably become a funny story in a month or two.

Wherever you decide to go, I wish you the best of luck and happy travels. Studying abroad can provide a rich experience that you can learn so many things you’ll never find in a book. I know I enjoyed my experience more than words can say. If you found this useful, don’t forget to share this post and check out what else we have on the Union University Library Blog.

Bon Voyage!

 

*written by Ruth Duncan

Top 5 Tips For A Great School Year

artist's coffee roasters

The fall semester is finally here: new friends, new classes, and new school supplies. Unfortunately, you might be adding “new stress” to that list. So what can we do to make this school year a great one? We’ve got 5 tips to help you do your best and reduce stress this year.

 

Make a planning system.

Whether you use a bullet journal, a paper planner, or your phone to jot down notes, it’s a good idea to have a planning system. You’ll have a lot to keep up with- from school assignments to work hours- so find which system helps relieve your stress and use it!

 

Sleep.

As tempting as it is to stay up all night chatting with your roommates, your body will appreciate you more if you get 6-8 hours of sleep instead. Plus, your brain may remember more from your study session if you get a proper amount of sleep.

 

Ask questions.

No, really, it’s okay to ask where Cobo is, or how to use Paw Print, or what your professor meant in that last lecture. Union employees are always happy to help you and point you in the right direction- and chances are, your fellow students are, too.

 

Remember your purpose.

God is still in control, even through stressful times and bad situations. Pick up the Word regularly, and get involved in a local church, a prayer group, and/or a mentorship with a trusted advisor. There’s so much more to life than that next test. God has a purpose for you!

 

Actually use the library.

We’re more than just a study space! We have tons of books and articles that you can use for research and class assignments. Once you graduate, you won’t have unlimited access to these resources, so make the most of it while you can!