Save Sweet Nothings

Acorn-AppSchool just starting probably isn’t the best time to bring up student loans. It’s a better time to bring up exciting things on the horizon: study groups, fresh blood, old blood that’s new blood again, blood drives, the community — wait, I got lost. Let me start again.

This past spring I was able to visit my sister and watch her graduate from Washington State University College of Pharmacy. Go Cougs! She was a 40-year-old in a class of mostly late-20-year-olds, and the only student at the school who had two kids and a grandchild.

It was so satisfying to watch her interact with her younger classmates in the few days before the ceremony, and to walk among them that day. She’s definitely like me and has no idea what her human age is.

It was so strange to see how poufy and fancy her special doctoral graduation gown was, and hear everyone talking about their imminent financial burdens, already in debt because of student loans.

These are kids that, right out the gate, will be making six figures. Higher education in America means finishing medical school, but it doesn’t mean freedom from a little financial struggle. Yet.

I’ve been dealing with my own financial issues after not working as much as usual. I’m no stranger to living paycheck to paycheck in Honolulu. There were two solid years of it after my honorable discharge. To get where I was financially last year, before cancer, took eight years of hard work at three jobs. Luckily, it was doing what I absolutely loved.

This culture of being in debt before we get anywhere in the workforce might frighten me, if it didn’t govern a generation of people very much aware of their finances. In my day, it was credit cards. Banks were handing out $10,000-$20,000 spending limits to us college freshmen like they were branded water bottles or tote bags. Lurking close behind were military recruiters, who, after a few semesters, started to look more and more attractive to me until finally I joined and left.

Either way, it’s quite common to rack up debt hanging over your head. I hate owing anyone money. It stresses me out. I’ll chase someone down to pay them. Acorns is a saving app that I’ve been using since last year. It literally rounds up your debit or credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and puts those pennies in an investment account. I’m not a huge fan of coins anymore, anyway. Just a little bit can’t hurt, and it always adds up. When you don’t have much money to save, this could be your answer. Visit acorns.com.

@SUPERCW

CHRISTA WITTMIER IS “SUPERCW” ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA. FIND HER ON SNAPCHAT, SOUNDCLOUD, TWITTER, VINE AND INSTAGRAM. BY NIGHT, SHE IS KNOWN AS DJ SUPERCW. BY DAY, SHE IS KNOWN AS SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR FOR YOUNG’S MARKET COMPANY OF HAWAII.