As I see graduation pictures posted on social media, it takes me back to when I graduated (3 years ago) and makes me think of how naïve I was about money then. Specifically, what I should have learned or looked into at the time. Maybe I should have taken that business or finance course, instead of that general elective.
Luckily, I was exposed to financial education in college by minoring in business. However, most students (unless dependent on their major/minor) will not learn what financial terms such as, IRAs, credit scores, or 401(k) mean.
US News Money author, Jenna Lee, provides some tips of what graduates should know about money:
1. Live within (or below) your means: don’t feel pressure to keep up with friends or co-workers by over spending. It can be tempting, but in the end it’s not the right decision. Start saving as much as you can for retirement, you will thank yourself later, trust me!
2. Start building your credit early: This will help when you are trying to buy your first house, car, etc. Take out a credit card and start paying your student loans back, both of these can help improve your credit score.
3. Prepare for the future: Save for emergencies! Save for retirement! If your employer offers a match 401(k) program TAKE ADVANTAGE of it by taking out the most % offered.
4. Monitor your spending: this can be done by downloading a FREE financial app, that makes budgeting on the go simple. Log in to view your credit and debt card accounts online daily! Check those transactions and the amount recorded.
5. Pay down debt: Don’t be afraid or embarrassed, most Americans have debt. It’s best to avoid it by paying it off quickly! Make a note to pay back your debt right when you get paid.
6. Get educated: Learn what a 401(k), IRA, credit report, W-2 or W-4 is. You’re going to see/hear about this the rest of your life. Also, take the time to schedule an appointment with a local financial planner to help get you started on the right path. Your local credit union can do this for you!
Source: Money Tips I Wish I Knew When I Graduated by: Jenna Lee US News Money
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