Students receive financial planning tips from local professional

Edward Jones financial advisor Kyle Mims speaks to students at Shelby County High School about the importance of financial planning and starting to save for retirement early. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

Edward Jones financial advisor Kyle Mims speaks to students at Shelby County High School about the importance of financial planning and starting to save for retirement early. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Students in Shelby County High School teacher Brooke Patterson’s business finance class received financial planning advice from a local business owner during an April 20 presentation.

Kyle Mims, a financial advisor with Edward Jones, discussed the importance of budgeting, avoiding debt and saving early for retirement with nearly a dozen students, several of whom are nearing graduation.

“You have to start early, you have to be disciplined and you have to run the course,” Mims said. “Right now, you have time on your side. You don’t get that back.”

Mims has spoken at several schools in Shelby and Chilton counties recently as part of students’ career preparedness curriculum.

Shelby County Schools Career Coach Aubri McClendon said she coordinated Mims’ presentation at SCHS to give students an idea of financial strategies they can use as young adults to “start them out on the right foot.”

“This is something we want to do a lot more of,” McClendon said of the presentation. “The kids just respond well to people from the outside coming in.”

Mims shared his personal experience with starting his own financial planning at age 21. After graduating from college, Mims said he went through a brief period of spending more money than he was saving before he talked to someone about the importance of preparing for retirement now.

“When I was 21, I started putting back as much as I could into retirement,” Mims said. “I learned how to work, I learned how to save and I learned how to stay out of debt.”

Mims covered the basics of compound interest and how “paying yourself first” by saving a set amount, such as $100, for retirement each month will result in a substantially larger amount years later.

Mims gave students a monthly budget worksheet to fill in with their parents’ help to calculate their families’ total income and expenses, and to figure out how much money they could set aside for savings on a regular basis.

“How cool would it be to get to retirement and be a millionaire?” Mims said. “It’s not about having a lot of money. Live below your means, pay yourself first and work hard, and at the end of the day, everything will be just fine.”