Invest in yourself.
Invest in yourself. Thinkstock

Skills and study – great personal investments

MARCH represents kick-off time for the hundreds of thousands of young Australians who are just settling into tertiary education. One study I came across found a university degree can deliver a 65% return. In other words, over a working life, graduates can expect to earn 65% more than their mates without a degree.

That's great news for anyone embarking on a degree. However the immediate challenge can be making ends meet.

One of the best ways to keep your money under control is to work out a budget. This should take into account your income and your regular outgoings. Be prepared to sweat the small stuff because when you're on a low or irregular income, the cost of even quite small luxuries can quickly add up. Spending $20 a week on takeaway for instance, can add up to more than $1000 a year.

The government's free TrackMySpend app is a handy tool and it's also worth speaking with your bank to see if you're eligible for a fee-free student account. But skip any offers to open a credit card. If you can get the money side of your life under control, you're giving yourself a decent chance of being able to focus on your studies and that's the main game.

Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.



Weapons used in brutal assault near primary school

premium_icon Weapons used in brutal assault near primary school

The school principal was one of several witnesses, a court has heard

UM-linked events could be banned by council

premium_icon UM-linked events could be banned by council

But organisers of one event have hit back at "continued harassment"

Man trapped after tree falls on him

Man trapped after tree falls on him

Emergency services rushed to the Northern Rivers property

Local Partners