You’re Officially a College Graduate…Now What?
Wait. You’ve graduated. It’s all downhill from here, right? I mean, you’ve already done the hard part putting in your four or five years, studied, partied and passed your exams. So now it’s time to coast, right? Um, well, not exactly. In fact, you’ll look back on your college days and wish you could return. You were your own boss, set your own schedule and decided whether or not to spend that extra money on a pizza or go out with your buddies. Getting your degree was just the starting point. Now it’s time to do the grown-up things and if you follow these tips, one thing you won’t have to worry about is your financial future.
How’s your savings account looking? You need to have a money cushion for unexpected events. Experts suggest having enough money in a savings account that could take care of your living expenses for six months. Add up your rent, your food bill, entertainment and mobile phone bill and multiply that by six. That’s your goal and once you get there, leave it there. It’s called a savings account for a reason, it’s not a spending account. An easy way to start a savings plan is to never actually see the funds coming to you. Set up an automatic deposit with your employer and automatically transfer a certain amount of your take home pay into a savings account. You can start small and get bigger but start you must.
If your employer offers health insurance, take it. Federal law requires each citizen to have health insurance regardless of who pays the premium. If you’re on your parents insurance, you can stay on that policy until you turn 26. After that, you’ll need to find it on your own. Additionally, if your employer offers a 401(k) plan, get on it.
Student debt is almost a given these days. If you have student loans, begin a payback period on your own. Most student loans last 10 years but by making extra payments each month, you can cut that 10 year period in half with the right repayment plan.
Finally, be responsible with credit. Credit card companies know when people graduate and if you haven’t already you’ll soon begin receiving credit card offers. This is a great way to establish credit but you don’t need more than one card. Buy something with the credit card and pay it back. Even keeping a small balance helps your credit profile.
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