Graduation

It’s that time of year again – graduation season. You’re all decked out in your fancy cap and gown and are ready to march across the stage to the timeless “Pomp and Circumstance” and grab that diploma you’ve worked so hard for. After all of the parties and congratulations, what’s next? If you’re like most grads, you’re ready to embark on a brand new adventure complete with a brand new job. Since you’ll likely be working full time now, you’ll be making more than you were before. Do yourself a favor and implement some of these tips early on. You and your wallet will thank you later.

Find Affordable Housing

Many college students don’t have to worry about room and board while they’re in school. During the school year, they live in their dorm room and during the summer, they live at home. Now that graduation has come and gone, you’re going to need to find somewhere to live. Maybe you decided to move back home for a while in order to save some cash. As long as your parent(s) are willing, this can be a great way to stash away extra cash since your overhead costs will be low. If you don’t move back home, consider finding a couple of roommates and splitting the rent and utilities for an apartment or house. By going in part with other people, you can keep costs lower than you would by being completely on your own.

Create and Implement a Budget

Personal BudgetIf you’re like most college students, you’ll begin working full time after you graduate. With those extra hours comes extra money. It’s wise to start good habits from the beginning and implement a budget. List out all of your monthly bills for necessities like rent, car payment, food, student loan payments, etc. After those expenses are documented, establish a certain amount to contribute to savings each month. Vow to establish an “emergency fund” for, well, emergencies. Most financial advisers advise clients to have anywhere from 3 months’ to one years’ worth of living expenses socked away into savings. That way, in case something happens (illness, loss of employment, etc.), you have a safety net. After all of your obligations have been met and some money has been saved, the rest is for spending. Live a little. Save for a trip, go out to dinner, visit somewhere new. All work and no play makes for a dull life.

Steer Clear of Debt

Most college students will graduate with some form of debt thanks to student loans and vehicle purchases. You may fall into that category, or maybe you were lucky and managed to graduate debt free.  Regardless of which category you fall into, try to steer clear of (more) debt when possible. First of all, that amount will only grow from month to month thanks to compounding interest. Secondly, that debt could cost you that dream job you were hoping to land. More and more employers are using credit checks as part of the employment screening process.

Have Debt? Get a Plan!Getting Rid of Debt

As previously mentioned, most college grads have some form of debt (some more than others). If you fall into this category, don’t fret! Get a plan to get that debt paid down as quickly as possible! First of all, avoid adding to that debt when at all possible! Avoid the temptation to feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses” and cut costs wherever you can. In order to pay that debt down faster, consider trying to make payments larger than the “required minimum payment”. By doing so, the extra you choose to pay goes straight to the principle, thus paying off that debt sooner. Want to pay additional towards that debt each month but just don’t have the extra cash to do so? Try a side hustle. Find something part time that works well with your schedule that can earn you a couple extra bucks. Babysitting, pet-sitting, dog walking – use your imagination – the sky is the limit!

Start investing NOW!

If you’ve followed our blog for any length of time, you’ve heard this point stressed over and over again – it’s never too early (or too late) to start investing and saving for your future! By starting earlier, you’ve got time on your side. That small investment you make now will have YEARS to compound and grow into a nice little nest egg. If your employer offers a 401K plan, PARTICIPATE! This is one of the easiest ways to save since it’s automatically done for you each pay period. If you’re fortunate enough to have a company match, try to contribute at least that amount since it’s free money your employer is willing to give you for being a responsible saver. Once you establish your 401K, try to avoid dipping into it early at all costs! By choosing to withdraw early, you not only have to pay penalties and fees, but you also rob yourself of the “free” compounded money you’ll forfeit when you don’t leave the money in the account to grow.

Need some tax advice or savings advice to kick start your future? Give our office a call today! Our team of friendly professionals can help answer any questions you may have. Best of all? The consultation is FREE! Call today and schedule yours!

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Hannon, Kerry. “11 Essential Money Tips for New College Grads.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 2 ept. 2015, www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2016/05/29/11-essential-money-saving-tips-for-new-college-grads/#4463beaa995d.

Sykes, Tanisha A. “Money 101: Financial Advice for College Grads.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/05/15/money-101-financial -advise-college-grads/101243818/.