As the last of the commencement ceremonies get underway, it’s time to start thinking about life after college. You’ve done all the work, passed all your classes, and have returned all of your overdue library books. Now, it’s time to start thinking further ahead with your finances and planning out your financial future.
These tips will get you off to a good start as you begin to manage your own finances after graduation:
- Start thinking about retirement. As soon as you start earning income, have a plan that helps you save up for retirement. Even if it is only $50 a month that you can afford to set aside, do it–anything you save now adds up later.
- Invest wisely. Investments are risky, but not taking risks means losing money to inflation. Take risks, but be wise. Even a high-yield checking account is better than some of the more commonly-used alternatives (and is very low-risk).
- Sick to a set budget. Learning to budget early on will help you live comfortably both now and later on. Getting into the habit will ensure that you’re not in for any surprises when you have to start saving up for a car or house.
- Pay down your college debt. Your student loans are accruing interest every day. The sooner you can pay down your college debt, the sooner you can rid yourself of that burden. Do it sooner rather than later.
- Consider working two jobs. Earning extra income can help you pay down that college debt while looking forward to bigger and better things.
- Carefully consider real estate decisions. Make sure you are fully comfortable with your finances before you invest in a house or get a mortgage. Weigh in on the housing market, and make sure you work within your budget when making large decisions.
- Work on an emergency fund. Putting money away for an emergency is a good way to be proactive for when the unexpected comes. Most experts recommend saving up at least three months’ expenses, though some think six is a better number.
- Adjust your standard of living. With all of the bills and student loans you’ll have on your plate when you graduate, you might have to adjust your standard of living in order to stay afloat. Take control and be responsible.
- Be strategic in your career goals. Try not to hop around from job to job, as this could make things tougher for you in the long run. With that said, don’t be too picky right off the bat. Your first job probably won’t be your dream job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to gain valuable experience.
- Be informed. Follow market trends, read the news, and stay informed on money matters so you can stay ahead of your finances. This is a good idea whether you’re a college grad, a high school student, or a soccer mom.
Though managing your finances right out of college can be tough, setting a list of things to do and making sure to follow through is one way to try to stay on top. Though this list should be a great start, there are financial tips for college grads all over the web.
Whatever you do, make sure to get serious about saving as soon as you graduate. Doing that could mean the difference between financial success and continued student debt when you get out and go into the real world.