For college students, retiring from a career they have yet to
begin may seem like a lifetime away.
However, it is never too soon to start setting aside money for
retirement, and the stock market can be a fairly hassle-free and
lucrative saving tool, said Sean Florentin, a senior analyst for
the Summit Student Investment Fund at CSU.
The campus investment organization manages its own stock
portfolio with money donated by Bob Everitt, CEO of the Everitt
Companies, a local business.
Florentin, a senior finance and accounting major, said if
students can afford to begin an investment plan before graduation
it can be very beneficial.
“It’s definitely a good idea to start if you’re able to put some
money away to invest because the sooner you start, the sooner
you’ll be able to retire,” Florentin said. “If you’ve got the money
to start putting away now, it’s as good a time as any.”
It doesn’t take a lot of money to begin investing, said Glory
Burns, an adjunct professor in the finance department.
“There are some mutual funds that allow students to begin with
as little as $50 or $25 a month and they can do it automatically,”
One way for students to invest is through an online discount
“You can open a small Internet trading site and they usually
have pretty low commissions and minimum balance requirements,”
Florentin said. “You can start easily and just keep a small
portfolio of some stocks you hope will grow.”
Peter Contino, a local representative of Edward Jones,
recommended that students consider investing in a tax-free Roth
Individual Retirement Account.
“Think of it as a tax shelter, and within that you can invest
stocks, mutual funds and bonds, but because it’s in the Roth IRA it
will grow tax-free,” Contino said. “If you ever want to take the
principal out, you can take that out penalty-free and tax-free.
That’s a nice safety valve if you really need to take out the
money. You don’t have to wait until you retire.”
Contino said Roth IRAs can be obtained at a number of places,
including banks, brokerage firms and other financial
The stipulation of a Roth IRA is that a person can only invest a
portion of his or her income, at a limit of $3,000 a year.
However, Contino said by the time students are ready to remove
their money, the fund will have grown substantially.
“It’s an achievable goal,” he said. “If you can meet that goal
of $3,000 a year at a really young age, 25 or 30 years later it’s
going to be a significant amount of money.” Tim Gallagher, chair of
the Department of Finance and Real Estate, said there are other
viable investment options.
“If you qualify for a Roth IRA, that would certainly be
something I would encourage,” he said. “But if a student simply
invests directly in a brokerage account that they set up themselves
for their future plans, that’s good also.”
Beginning to invest can seem intimidating, Burns said.
“People have a tendency to be afraid of investing but it doesn’t
have to be that scary,” she said. “If you’re a good shopper, you
can be a good investor. It’s basically the same mentality.”
Gallagher said the best advice for students is to first learn
how investments work.
“They’d have to do their homework. I’d encourage them to read
the Wall Street Journal, to go to the various financial Web sites,
or the Web sites of the online firms themselves and just research
the e-companies that they’re interested in and put their money in
those companies that they find to be promising,” he said.
Christy Mesinger, a junior analyst for the Summit Fund, created
her own IRA with an initial investment of $2,000. She recommended
that students compare the benefits of the various types of
investment programs before committing to anything.
“My main advice is to make sure you know what you’re doing and
that you learn as much about it as you can before you just go in
there and start investing,” said Mesinger, a senior finance
Gallagher said the number of younger adults interested in
investing is a positive trend.
“There’s been a lot of research that shows that young people in
their 20s are saving more of their money and investing more
aggressively than their parents did at that age, and that’s a good
thing,” Gallagher said.