Top Finance Tips for New College Graduates

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Top Finance Tips for New College Graduates

It's been a hot topic of debate for quite a while now. With unemployment rates only improving minimally and student loan debt soaring, college graduates face many challenges in the "real" world today. Of course, this is no new headline. College students have a long history of facing difficulties come graduation. This is a time of huge adjustment for most 20-somethings. 

You're leaving the academic world for the first time since kindergarten, you're paying all your own bills, and you're forced to find a "big person" job. Today, just landing that job has become a real struggle, but just as challenging is managing your finances after you do land that job. College graduates with their first real pay check can be rather reckless—and if they're not reckless, they're likely unwise at least. As a first-time "getting into the real world", consider these important financial responsibility tips.

Spend Less

Okay, okay—I know this sounds rather trite. But, it's a very good advice. When you land your first salaried position and you see that first pay check (even if it's not as large as you had hoped), it's likely larger than you're used to. College grads in the working world have a habit of celebrating their employment for the first several months of their job by spending heavily. Going out to dinner, furnishing the new apartment, buying new work clothes, and going out for cocktails are all common events for a newly employed grad. 

While a little celebration is certainly due, spending wisely is the key; you want to spend your new-found pay check carefully. Try to cap your spending and actually put things towards savings. This is the best time in your life to really build up your savings account. Watch your spending habits. Decide what is worthwhile spending and what is frivolous. Be conscious of the ways in which you spend your pay checks. This is the best way to spend less and save more.

Tackle Debt First

Tackling debt as early as possible is the best approach to spending your money. If you can get yourself out of that academic hole early, you'll save a significant chunk of cash. Evaluate your debt situation. With college loan debt at the highest it has ever been, many banks, lenders, and government programs are working to help newbie grads find their footing. Look into ways in which you can lessen your debt amount and educate yourself on the best way to pay back that amount quickly. Interest rates fluctuate, but avoiding paying interest altogether is the best option.

Rent Not Own

If you're young and just graduated, it's likely that you'll move around, before you really settle down with a home of your own. With the way the housing market is today, renting a home rather than buying one can be a much better option. This gives you the flexibility you may need with a new career and future plans. Furthermore, renting can allow you to live in a nicer area and at a nicer property for less money. The biggest advantage that renting has right now is that it is more flexible for the younger generation and someone else is dealing with maintenance and repairs. Renting a home is a great way to introduce to the ins and outs of home ownership.

About the author:

Melissa Miller writes for associatedegreeonline. She offers advice on first-time employment and even on adult responsibility. Throw your questions to

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