Professor Hull talks about investment success

College is a struggle.

College presents a battle for the once children entering adulthood. It’s the time of assuming one’s responsibilities, which can often cause individuals to slip up and make mistakes. It is, however, the duty of a college student to learn from those mistakes.

Steven Hawking once said, “One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”

Obviously mistakes are a part of the nature of human existence, but repeating the same mistake over and over again parallels the definition of insanity.

Personal Finance is in a world of its own. People of all ages make some of their biggest mistakes with handling their own money.

Professor Rob Hull with Washburn University’s Business Department, spoke about keys to living financially smart as a student now so as to better invest in a student’s future tomorrow. Hull earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Kansas and has taught at Washburn for about 30 years.

“You should not make life decisions based on money,” Hull said. “I would much rather meet people that are happy while living within their means and budget.”

Hull teaches a class called Personal Finance (BU 180) where students are taught personal and family financial planning. They learn practical and applicable knowledge of ways to spend and invest their money. Some topics covered include consumer legislation, consumer finance, family budgeting, estate planning, insurance, individual income tax, home buying, mortgages, retirement pensions and investments.

Financial literacy is not commonly at the forefront of any 18-21 year old’s mind as independence is staring them in the face. But this particular literacy is not only vital to a person’s current success, but it can set them up for future work and retirement. 

“The decision students make when they’re young will have serious ramifications for their future,” Hull said. “The typical stock investment doubles every eight years. So for every dollar you invest at the beginning of your career will turn into about 32 dollars when you are ready to retire.”

Some practical advice from Hull was for younger people starting out in their career to make investments for retirement in something like a Roth IRA. These are ideal in order to capitalize on compound interest. Saving for retirement through a Roth IRA will provide the individual with an after-tax income.

Mutual funds have proven to be a great option for retirement investing as well. You don’t have to have a lot of money to get started, and thanks to their diversity of investments, you can invest confidently. All of your eggs aren’t in one basket, so if the market goes down, it will be okay.

The portion of the money you invest in stock funds depends on your age. Younger investors should have most of their retirement portfolio in stocks while those close to retirement will want less. If you keep your money invested in the stock market for 20 to 30 years, you can expect to achieve around 8% based on historical returns.

The key to financial success is becoming educated on the variances of where to save and invest. It is important for everyone to seek financial advisors or people who have been successful making investments in the past. Most companies you work for will have people to talk to about saving for retirement, but having the basic knowledge of what you want to do with your money is key for success on any level.