Financial literacy is extremely important during student life, especially for international students who need to manage their tuition and cost of living while living alone. The UPEI Kerala Foundation (UKF) organized a dynamic financial literacy session to ensure students are well-equipped to manage their finances during their student life.
The event was held on 16th October 2023 at MCDH, featuring three young financial experts who were struggling international students at some point in their lives. These included: Joel Thomas, Glory Jacob, and Albert Alex, who shared some valuable insights on managing finances.
All Speakers Struggled as International Students in the Past:
Joel Thomas, originally from India, started his life-changing journey when he landed in Canada in 2015. He studied in Ontario where he polished numerous soft skills such as customer service, communication, and relationship building. Joel always wanted to be a realtor, admiring his father’s occupation. He noticed a gap in PEI’s real estate market and moved to PEI to pursue his career ambitions. Joel now helps new immigrants and students find properties that their families can cherish.
Albert Alex, another international student, started his journey in Canada in 2019. He was struck with financial challenges during his initial journey. He used to network with financially stable friends, and this motivated him to embark on a journey toward his financial freedom. He is now a licensed financial professional helping newcomers settle in Canada.
Glory Jacob, the third key speaker, also completed her studies in Ontario and later worked for the Royal Bank of Canada. In 2019, when Glory moved to PEI, she discovered that people lacked basic knowledge of how taxes work in Canada. She has since been giving seminars and consultations, with plans to open an office underway.
Participants found the session insightful and rewarding.
“As someone who has many responsibilities, I was not efficiently managing my finances and expenditures. Yesterday’s session provided some insights and boosted my confidence to work on my finances for a better future. I am sincerely thankful to the UKF for organizing the event and look forward to more accomplishments,” shared Prabhatha Meduri, a Psychology major student.
“It is nothing short of a milestone that Nayana Sunila, the President of UKF, managed to lead such an event, despite the club being relatively new and only ratified in February 2023,” an anonymous student said.
This is not the first time that UKF has done an exceptional job in hosting an event. Earlier, UKF celebrated Onam, an important occasion for South Indians, at the W.A. Murphy Centre. The event was also an instant success as it helped students feel at home in Canada.
Onam celebration at W.A. Murphy Centre. Photo credit: Melvin, @_mel__wayne
Key Financial Advice:
Let’s delve into the key pieces of advice these young professionals gave to international students, which can also help you manage your finances!
- Set Clear Financial Goals: Define your short-term and long-term financial objectives to create a roadmap for disciplined financial planning.
- Create a Budget: Establish a monthly budget to track income and expenses, ensuring that you live within your means.
- Automate Savings: Set up automatic transfers to your savings or investment accounts to promote consistency in building wealth.
- Diversify Investments: Spread your investments across different asset classes to reduce risk and enhance long-term returns.
- Regularly Contribute to Retirement Accounts: Consistently fund your retirement accounts to take advantage of compounding over time.
- Emergency Fund: Build and maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses without disrupting your financial stability.
- Debt Management: Develop a strategy to manage and systematically pay down high-interest debts.
- Regular Portfolio Review: Consistently review and rebalance your investment portfolio to ensure it aligns with your goals and risk tolerance.
- Educate Yourself: Continuously educate yourself about personal finance and investment to make informed decisions.
- Seek Professional Advice: Consult a financial advisor to maintain discipline and receive expert guidance.
- Consistent Record-Keeping: Maintain thorough financial records to track progress and make informed decisions.
- Consistent Tax Planning: Regularly review your tax strategies to optimize financial outcomes.
- Periodic Goal Reassessment: Revisit your financial goals regularly to ensure they align with your aspirations.
By: Syed Imran