Empowering Trojans in their Financial Journey

By Victoria Bandini and Arianna Martinez

What is Financial Wellness?

According to Forbes, financial wellness is “a relative measure of how well a person manages their financial life.” But, it is also more than that. For many college students, pursuing a college degree is a step toward financial mobility. This year, the USC Career Center hosted its 5th annual Financial Literacy Conference, with new workshops and panel discussions on first-time homebuyers and salary transparency. As graduate students, we know firsthand how easy financial stressors–paying for college, providing for our families, and accessing professional opportunities–can make learning difficult. In looking at Let’s Talk About Money!, a panel of first-generation college undergraduate and graduate students, panelists shared their candid experiences with breaking financial barriers and cultivating a financial wellness journey. When asked why they are passionate about financial wellness, Celine said, “Being financially literate gives you the ability to dream.” Kerry shares the same sentiment: 

Financial readiness opens up time to explore passions and dreams, allowing the comfort of trying new things. It is a type of health we need to take care of.

However, talking about financial wellness can be taboo or uncomfortable for many students in historically wealthy institutions that do not provide formal financial education. In this article, we provide some tips and resources for students looking to start—or continue—their personal financial wellness journey. 

What are some ways to work towards financial wellness as a college student?

Incorporating financial wellness into your everyday life doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s never too early or too late to start your financial wellness journey. For example, …

  1. Explore your Attitudes about Money and Finances—think about your relationship with money. How have your upbringing and personal experiences impacted your financial mindset? Understanding how you feel about money helps you evaluate your spending habits and work towards your financial goals. 
  2. Look for Support—tackling finances alone can be challenging. Financial advisors and online resources can provide the knowledge and tools you need to understand and manage your financial situation. 
  3. Do Your Research—Financial terminology can be daunting and confusing. It is important to look at multiple sources of information rather than just one. Instagram, TikTok, and Reddit, among a few popular social media platforms, can be informative tools, but there are other websites to verify information, including SmartAsset and NerdWallet.
  4. Understand Your Budget—Creating a spreadsheet and tracking your monthly expenses is a good way to see where your money is going. Being aware of your spending habits and identifying your needs vs. your wants is important when making informed financial decisions.
  5. Save When Possible—While saving a certain percentage of your income isn’t always possible as financial circumstances change, saving when possible is a good way to build your financial safety net. Setting aside even small amounts ($1 per day, $20 every paycheck) is a good habit to keep up. 

Who provides information about financial education? 

Many resources are available to students looking to work towards meeting their financial goals. Here at USC, the USC Credit Union offers free financial counseling along with information about student banking, savings and investments

The USC Career Center provides career advising to undergraduate and graduate students through scheduled and drop-in appointments. While the Financial Literacy Conference has already passed, recordings of the virtual events hosted that week are available on the USC Career Center YouTube page including events like Financial Wellness 101: Budgeting & Debt Management and Know Your Rights (And Your Worth)!.

Additionally, iGrad is a useful tool for learning more about financial wellness strategies as a college student. The site provides information about loan management and repayment, live webinars, and online courses to boost financial literacy skills. 

Resources: There are also social media accounts across platforms that provide finance tips and tricks for those interested. On Instagram, accounts such as @firstgenliving, @latinagraduate, @thebrokeblackgirl, @humphreytalks, and more provide information around investing, taxes, managing debt, and building accessible wealth to students. Also, accounts like @freefoodusc, @usccareercenter, @firstgenplussc, and @uscgsg provide resources and share information about campus events and workshops for USC students to attend. 

While achieving financial wellness can feel out of reach as a college student, it is never too early or too late to begin your financial wellness journey! 


The content is offered for general educational purposes. Viewers who decide to act upon the information do so at their own discretion and risk. We strongly advise viewers to consult with a certified financial professional or advisor before making any financial decisions.

The USC Career Center and its associates assume no responsibility or liability for any losses or damages that may occur as a result of relying on the information provided in this video.

By Paolo Cantos
Paolo Cantos