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'Whiz kid' coaches fellow students on finances

Danny Singh wants to share tips with students about credit cards and student loans, based on what  he has learned during the past 8 years.

A Seminole State College of Florida freshman who gained attention earlier for his financial savvy is hoping to share his knowledge with his fellow students.

You may have heard of Danny “Financial Whiz Kid” Singh. At the age of 11, the Orlando boy took over his mom’s finances. By the age of 14, he had refinanced their home mortgage, persuaded banks to remove annual fees from his mom’s credit cards and negotiated more than $1,300 in refunds on interest and fees for her. His financial savvy attracted the attention of print and electronic media – and fellow high school students.

“Ever since I did those interviews, a lot of students have asked me questions, such as ‘How do I handle my student loan? How do I build my credit? What credit card should I get?’” says Singh, 19, a graduate of University High School’s International Baccalaureate program.

So Singh, a student in the Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute, is offering a seminar for students on Nov. 2 at the Oviedo Campus that will cover the basics of financial management.

“What separates students from the rest of the world is student loans,” he says. “There’s nothing you can do to wipe them out – even bankruptcy will never erase student loans.” And, Singh says, all the new credit card laws designed to restrain credit card companies will make it harder than ever for students to get credit. “That’s why it’s so important for students to handle their loans and bills with honor.”

By “honor,” Singh means paying student loans and other bills on time every time – no excuses. It’s all about knowing how to manage your finances and how to use credit cards appropriately, he says.

Students should use credit cards, Singh says, to establish and build credit. “Payments are showing creditors that this is a responsible person,” he says. In addition, careful credit card users earn rewards, which can save money, and they can resolve disputes with creditors more easily than if they pay cash or use a debit card.

While Singh encourages the careful use of credit cards, he does so with one firm caveat: “You should pay off the balance at the end of the month,” he says. “Don’t get into so much debt that you can’t pay it off at the end of the month.”

Singh’s passion for finance drives his college and career planning. He wants to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Information Management at Seminole State and pursue an MBA at an Ivy League school. Then it’s on to the world of banking and high finance.

Along the way, he wants to enlighten consumers of all ages about navigating their own financial worlds. His Nov. 2 seminar will focus primarily on student loans and credit cards. Students who enroll at Seminole State are already saving money on loans, because classes cost about 40 percent less than those at Florida’s four-year universities. Singh offers these tips as a primer for his Nov. 2 seminar:

  • Establish a good credit history while in college so that you can call your student loan issuer after graduation and ask for a lower interest rate.
  • Seminole State offers many scholarship opportunities; learn about them at the Foundation for Seminole State website.
  • Use all of your credit cards once every six months so they’re not closed for inactivity. Closing a credit card lowers your credit score, sending the message that you cannot handle the responsibility.

Details of Singh’s “Finances for Students” seminar:

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 2
Time: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Location: Oviedo Campus, OVF-100

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