10 Tips for New Graduates
If you’ve just graduated or will be in the next few semesters, check out the following of our Top 10 Tips for Graduates. Sometimes students are so busy interviewing, moving, and getting ready to enter the “real world” that they forget about their personal finances. Use our tips to help guide you along the way! Got questions? Our One-on-One Financial Coaching sessions are open to recent alumni, too!
10 Tips for New Graduates
- Count your benefits as part of your salary. What will your employer pay toward your health insurance, life insurance, and retirement? How much annual vacation and sick leave will you earn? Consider your entire compensation package, not just your monthly pay.
- Pay yourself first! Set up a direct transfer of $50 a month to a savings account or other investment and forget about it. It doesn’t matter what you save , just that you’re actually saving.
- Never miss a loan or credit card payment. Seriously, NEVER. Stay in touch with all of your creditors and lenders. Let them know when your address changes and never, EVER miss a payment.
- Don’t use credit cards to extend your income. If you can’t pay for it, save for it first. If you can’t do that, finish paying for one big purchase before making another big purchase. “No matter how much we consume, we never get closer to happiness; we only speed up the treadmill.” —James Roberts, author of Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don’t Have in Search of Happiness We Can’t Buy.
- Check your credit report annually. Obtain a free credit report only from www.annualcreditreport.com. If you have to pay for your credit report, you’re at the wrong site.
- Shred! Shred! Shred! You’re a new CU graduate with unlimited earning potential, so you’re going to get many credit card offers in the mail. Be wise about what you apply for and use a cross-cut shredder for the rest of them so your offers don’t get in the wrong hands.
- Keep important documents. Store all of your important documents in a file folder where you can easily and always find it. This includes loan information, apartment leases, insurance policies, tax forms, etc.
- Insurance is important. It won’t matter how much you save if you don’t have insurance in case you get hurt or if there’s an accident. Expenses from these tragedies can blow your savings and leave you with debt that can impact the rest of your life.
- Practice good money habits. Most people know how to manage their money well but they don’t always do it the way you might expect. Figure out your money mentality and what works best for you. When you feel in control of your money, you’ll feel more at peace.
- Ask questions! Starting your career as a young professional can be a confusing process. Ask for help when you need it. Many CU resources will continue to be available to alumni, such as Career Services and CU Money Sense.
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