Congratulations, graduates! Welcome to the real world where the future is so bright… and terrifying at the same time. Life after college is a pretty exciting time full of new adventures and opportunities but the feeling of uncertainty is surely nerve-wracking… especially when it comes to managing your finances.
The cost of living is now on your shoulders – add this to a struggling bank account, job hunting and dealing with student loan debt while saving up for the future. Yes. This is THE life after college.
Don’t know where to begin? Here are 7 tips to a better financial life after graduation.
1. Take budgeting seriously.
If budgeting wasn’t your forte back in college, then now is the time to sharpen that skill. Learning how to budget is a valuable life skill that every adult should possess. This is your key to financial freedom – you have to see the ins and outs of your finances in order to be in control of your money instead of letting your money have control over you. Aside from the good old paper and pen, there are many mobile apps and online tools that you can use to help you manage and organize your finances.
2. Start paying off your debt load immediately.
Don’t wait for the 6-month grace period to finish before you start paying off those student loans. Remember, the sooner you begin, the closer you get to becoming debt-free.
3. Make adjustments to save more money.
For most people, graduation means a complete overhaul of their lifestyle. From big changes such as moving to a new place to little ways such as saying goodbye to your daily Starbucks run or cutting the cable cord – anything that you can do to help you save more money. I’m not saying that you are not allowed to enjoy – you just have to be wiser and smarter this time.
4. Find more ways to make more money.
Now that you don’t have classes to deal with anymore, you have all the time in the world to earn extra income while looking for the perfect job.
5. Make emergency fund a top priority.
Life is filled with uncertainties. You may not have control over what life throws at you but you can make sure that you are prepared when that time comes. Start building up an emergency fund now no matter how much money you are earning.
6. Start saving for retirement.
Just like your emergency fund, you need to start saving for retirement too! It’s never too early to begin. Take time to figure out how to start saving up for those golden years by doing your research and learning from others.
7. Find financial inspiration.
The best way to help you manage your finances effectively is to learn from the pros. Find financial inspiration from books, blogs, Youtube videos and podcasts.
Good luck and congratulations, Class of 2017!