You Savvy Devil

Savē: Financial Literacy at Dickinson

Category: Events

Calling the Class of 2018!

 

Dear Seniors,

How did the past four years fly by so quickly?! It’s almost time for graduation, and for some Dickinsonians, that also means it will soon be time to make a first student loan payment!

You remember all of the details from your Entrance Counseling four years ago, right? 

…kidding, obviously. (If you remember all the details, we’re impressed.)

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to student loan repayment, but it all boils down to a few highlights. Come to a 30-minute (or less) Student Loan Exit Counseling Workshop to get the details.

Workshops will be held:

May 3rd @ 12:15pm, HUB 205                                     May 3rd @ 12:45pm, HUB 205

May 16th @ 11:00am, HUB 201                                  May 16th @ 11:30am, HUB 201

May 17th @2:00pm, HUB 201                                      May 17th @ 2:30pm, HUB 201

 

All sessions are open, but RSVPs are strongly encouraged. Watch your Dickinson email for RSVP details.

 

See you soon,

Your Financial Aid Office

Savvy and Busy

The Savē calendar has been full this week!


On Tuesday, April 10th, we welcomed local financial adviser Lindsey Ciarrocca, who talked about  financial planning considerations for women. Lindsey pointed out the importance of identifying our long-term financial goals so we can take steps now to make goals our reality.

One of my favorite slides from Lindsey’s presentation illustrated the impact eating out for lunch a few times a week can have on our long-term savings goals.

 

Special thanks to the Women’s & Gender Resource Center for co-sponsoring this fantastic lecture, and thanks to Lindsey for volunteering her time!


Thursday we hosted a tax workshop which was meant to help attendees feel more confident about preparing their tax returns. We had three fantastic volunteers from the Money In Your Pocket (VITA) tax preparation program here at Dickinson, and quite a few students stayed for the hour-long workshop.

A few of our tax workshop attendees.

 If you missed this event, you can find the outline we used here.

Special thanks to Anna, Fangzhou, and Jordan for their really excellent assistance. We could not have helped so many people without you!


 

Thursday evening, Rebecca was invited to speak with the Trendsetters, Dickinson’s first-generation student group. We had a lively and engaging discussion on credit & debt, student loans, and budgeting basics.

Notes from our presentation on credit scores.

Thanks to the Trendsetters for inviting us, and for such a productive conversation! (Also, thanks for the Miseno’s pizza.)


We hope you’ll join us later this month as we focus on preparing finances for studying abroad, and learn how to protect ourselves from a wide variety of scams – and the financial fallout that can result!

 

Tax Return DIY

The deadline to file taxes for 2017 is April 17, 2018.

With one week left to file, you might feel overwhelmed – but don’t panic! Many students will be able to use the step-by-step instructions below to get started and file their federal return for free.

Step 1: Do you need to file?

The Interactive Tax Assistant will help you find out.

Review your 2017 earnings and take this quiz from the IRS: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/do-i-need-to-file-a-tax-return

 

Step 2: Gather your documents and information.

You will need:

  1. Your Social Security Number
  2. Your Permanent mailing address
  3. W2 forms from every employer you had in 2017
  4. A record of cash earned from odd jobs, for which you will not receive an income tax form
  5. Determine if you had health coverage for the entirety of 2017
  6. Your bank account information (for electronic refund); you’ll need the financial institution’s routing number and your personal account number, both easily found on a blank check

 

In rare cases, a student might need:

  • 1099-MISC forms if you worked for someone but were not considered an employee
  • 1099-E if you made any payments on your student loans in 2017
  • 1099-INT or 1099-DIV if you received interest or dividend payments from investments in your name

 

If you have special circumstances, including but not limited to the following list, please see a tax professional as soon as possible:

 If you have dependents.

If you have interest or dividend income.

If you have small business income, a capital gain, or other types of income beyond those listed on a W2, 1099-MISC, or cash payments.

If you made payments on a student loan in 2017, or if you want to try to claim any education-related tax credits. (Learn more here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/students)

If you feel any part of these instructions doesn’t fully capture your unique situation.

Step 3: Determine your filing status.

You can use the IRS Tax Assistant to determine your status: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/what-is-my-filing-status

In some cases, you will be able to skip this step and rely upon the tax filing software you will use in step 5.

 

Step 4: Find out if you are someone else’s dependent.

In most cases, it will be important to talk with your parent(s) to find out if they will claim you as a dependent on their tax return. If you have contact with your parent(s) be sure to have a conversation with them before you claim yourself as an exemption on your tax return.

 

Step 5: Use the IRS Free File resources to complete your federal tax return.

Start at https://www.irs.gov/ and select Free File:

 

Most students will be eligible for free software because their income will be below $66,000 for 2017. Click on Start Free File Now:

 

Find the free filing tools that will be best for your unique situation by selecting Lookup Tool:

 

Fill in the Eligibility Verification form with your own personal details. Here is an example of a 20-year-old student from Pennsylvania, who earned $3,500 at their summer and federal work study jobs in 2017.

 

Click Continue to see the federal return filing options available for you. Below,  you can see the options that were suggested for the sample student, above:

 

Once you select a free filing tool, you do not have to agree to any “value added” upgrades. These are extras for which a company will charge money – examples include audit protection or credit monitoring. Some students may prefer to use these additional services, but remember you are not required by law to agree to any additional services in order to file your federal tax return.

 

Step 6: Consider your timeline and circumstances.

Feeling overwhelmed? It is not too late to request an extension to file your return, and if the tax professional cannot complete your tax return before April 17th, they will be able to help you with a request for an extension.

You may also submit your own Extension Form – here is the IRS resource page for filing extensions: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/extension-of-time-to-file-your-tax-return

 

Step 7: Send them off!

Submit your completed tax return to the IRS after carefully reviewing all of your information. This may be done electronically (for faster tax refunds) or by printing and mailing a return.

 

Step 8: Think about your state and local responsibilities.

Once you have filed your federal return, be sure to find out if you must also file a state tax return. Some free online programs will allow you to file the state return with relative ease.

You should also see if you received a local (city, school district, county, etc.) tax form. Typically these are mailed to your permanent address.

 

Step 9: Keep records.

Save an electronic and/or paper copy of your federal tax return, state tax return, and all of your forms (W2, 1099s, etc.). You will need these for a variety of reasons in the future!

 

Step 10: Follow up and avoid scams!

Keep an eye out for your notification that the IRS accepted you return, your refund (if applicable), and avoid tax scams.

The IRS lists the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams every year (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-wraps-up-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams-for-2018-encourages-taxpayers-to-remain-vigilant) but in general, they won’t call you and threaten you or request personal information over the phone. Scammers will try to scare you into acting quickly, so you fall for their trap – take a breath and reach out to your local IRS office, or an official IRS help line (https://www.irs.gov/help/telephone-assistance), to find out if the contact was authorized by the IRS.

 

 

*Disclaimer: The author of this post and the members of Savē are not tax professionals. This information is intended to help individuals organize their tax-related materials and find safe tax filing resources from the Internal Revenue Service. Filing questions should be referred to the IRS or a tax professional, and this site should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed tax professional in your state.

Financial Literacy Month

Did you know April is Financial Literacy Month?

Yes, the entire month of April. That’s how important this stuff is – it gets its own month.

Savē is here to help! We’re hosting workshops throughout April to help you with everything from taxes to avoiding financial scams. As always, you can schedule a personal budgeting session or ask us to speak at a group meeting at any time by emailing financialliteracy@dickinson.edu.

We are looking forward to seeing you this month! 

 

What’s Important About Money to You?

Local finance expert Lindsey Ciarrocca came to campus last Thursday to share some finance basics with interested students. Lindsey talked about the importance of having financial goals and plans – even as early as your time in college!

Using a pyramid of financial needs – which psychology students would recognize as akin to Maslow’s  Heirarchy of Needs – Lindsey helped us to consider the bottom level of financial wellness. Attendees inventoried some personal short- and long-term goals, and were challenged to consider what they hope retirement will look like. We talked about the way a budget can help us reach financial goals, and learned why it is important to create an emergency fund.

“Sooner is better” – Illustrating the wonder of compounding interest and the importance of early retirement contributions.

Many thanks to Lindsey for volunteering her time, and thanks to Dickinson’s Women’s & Gender Resource Center for co-sponsoring the event.

Pop-Up Series #2: Student Loans

 

Carolyn and Amy share important information.

Today we held a pop-up workshop to answer questions related to student loans. We didn’t stop there, though, and were able to answer questions about credit scores, student accounts, study abroad, and how Salt works! Thanks to everyone who dropped in with thoughtful questions – you made this pop-up a success!

 

Salt freebies. The fidget spinners always go first.

 

 

Big thanks to Carolyn and Erica from financial aid, Amy from Student Accounts, and our Savē Co-Coordinators, for volunteering their time.

 

 

Pop-Up Series #1: First Year Finance

Last Thursday, we hosted our first official event of the season- a pop-up workshop to address any question a first-year student might have about money. We were excited to see upper class students drop in, too!

Creating a Salt account

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our First Year Finances Pop-Up Workshop last week! We had some great conversations about building good credit, using Salt to keep track of loans, financial aid applications for studying abroad, and more. Big thanks to Chris and Ruth from Financial Aid, and Amy from Student Accounts, for helping at this event.  And of course, a huge shout-out to our student volunteers who work hard to bring financial literacy information to our campus!

(L to R) Rebecca, Chris, Ruth, Amy, Shakira, and Miray – part of our fantastic pop-up team. 

First Year Finance Pop-Up Workshop

Your first semester of college can be overwhelming, but dealing with your money doesn’t need to be on that list of #stress

Bring your questions to one location – HUB 201 from 12 – 1:30 pm on Sept. 21 – and get answers from financial aid, student accounts, and Savē student ambassadors.

 

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