Whether you or someone you know is graduating from college, we have some financial
knowledge to share. Even if you are already established in your professional career, these 5
financial tips are likely to be beneficial to you too. Read on to learn ways to budget, save and
Make a habit of budgeting: Budgeting is your best friend. It puts you in the driver’s seat
of your financial future. Budgeting allows you to make informed decisions regarding
your current financial situation. You can list out your monthly income and expenses on a
spreadsheet, an app on your phone, or through SmartDollar. This budget will allow you
to see where you might be overspending and how to balance your spending habits.
Pay Off Debt
Get a handle on your student loans: Right away, figure out how much student loan
payments will be and when they are due, including your monthly payments. Some loan
payments begin as soon as you graduate, while others allow a short grace period
(usually six months). If the monthly payment is too high, you can talk to your loan
servicer about setting up a monthly payment that fits within your budget, i.e. an
alternative payment plan. You can also refinance your student loans upon graduation to
receive a potentially much lower interest rate that would help you to save money and
lower your monthly payments.
Create an emergency fund: Anything can happen. From an unexpected medical bill to
your car needing repairs. Putting charges on a credit card will cause more debt in the
long run, and this can hinder your financial goals. By putting together an emergency
fund between 3-6 months of living expenses, you will ensure that there will be a safety
net when an added cost inevitably occurs.
Build credit: Credit refers to your ability to borrow money and pay it back at a later date.
Many young adults have little to no credit history built up, however, when you plan to
buy a house or a car at any point in the future, you will need good credit. In order to
build credit, you can apply for a credit card and put small purchases on it, such as gas or
groceries 1-2 times per month. Make sure to pay off the balance as quickly as possible.
Credit cards typically have higher interest rates, and if you fall into debt, it can take a
long time to pay it off.
Save & Invest
Pay yourself first: When you’re just setting out to begin your career, thinking about
retirement might be the last thing on your mind. But here’s the thing about saving for
retirement: The younger you are when you start, the more time your money has to
grow, thanks to the magic of compound interest. Here’s some math to prove it: Let’s say
you start saving $300 a month at age 20. Assuming an annual average return of 7%,
you’ll have over $1 million dollars in retirement savings by age 65. But if you wait until
age 30 to start saving — only a 10-year difference — your retirement savings drop by
half to about $500,000. If your employer offers a 401(k) match, make sure you’re taking
full advantage of it; otherwise, you’re leaving free money on the table.
Overall, these 5 financial tips can help you with saving money, setting up your monthly budget
and paying off debt! If you are interested in more financially savvy advice, you can head over to
SmartDollar, which is provided for FREE for employees at Peoples Mortgage Company.
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