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4 Financial Tips for Recent Graduates

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May is graduation time, and a time for renewal and opportunity. Whether you are graduating high school, college, or from a recent program, it’s important to always look ahead at managing your finances! For the recent college or program graduate, you may be faced with a lot of choices regarding loans, personal finances and next steps!

This week we will be covering some high level financial tips to prioritize financial wellness and kick off your new beginning!

Want to get a pulse on your financial wellness? Complete your checkup to get a snapshot of where you are in your financial journey, here!

Create a Budget and Financial Plan

As you enter the workforce as a new employee or returning all while managing your own finances, it’s essential to establish a budget and financial plan. Calculate your income, including salary, bonuses, and any other sources of income, and then outline your expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, student loan payments, and entertainment. Identify areas where you can cut costs and prioritize saving for emergencies, retirement, and future goals. Utilize budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track your expenses and stay on top of your financial goals.

Manage Student Loans Wisely

If you have student loans, develop a repayment strategy that works for your budget and financial situation. Consider options such as income-driven repayment plans, loan consolidation, or refinancing to lower your monthly payments or interest rates. In addition to these, also take the time to look at opportunities for loan forgiveness or repayment assistance programs through your employer, the government, or other organizations. Make timely payments to avoid default and damage to your credit score, and prioritize paying off high-interest loans first to save money on interest over time.

One way you can begin paying down your student loans is by prioritizing high-interest loans. If you have multiple student loans, focus on paying off high-interest loans first to save money on interest over time. Make extra payments towards the loans whenever possible, even if it’s just a little bit extra each month. Even small additional payments can add up and help you pay off your loans faster!

Build an Emergency Fund

Start building an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses and financial setbacks. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a high-yield savings account or other liquid assets. Start small if necessary, but make regular contributions to your emergency fund a priority to gradually build up your savings over time. Having a financial safety net in place will provide peace of mind and protect you from relying on credit cards or loans in times of financial stress. Emergency funds can help you:

  1. Cover unexpected medical expenses.
  2. Replace or repair essential appliances or household items.
  3. Cover unexpected car repairs or maintenance.
  4. Pay for temporary lodging in case of home repairs or disasters.
  5. Cover unexpected travel expenses due to family emergencies or unforeseen events.
  6. Bridge the gap in income during job loss or unexpected unemployment.
  7. Cover deductibles or out-of-pocket costs for insurance claims.
  8. Cover unexpected veterinary expenses for pets.
  9. Handle unexpected legal fees or court costs.
  10. Cover emergency childcare expenses.

Invest in Your Future

Begin investing in your future by contributing to retirement accounts such as a 401(k) or IRA. Take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans and match contributions if available, as this can significantly boost your retirement savings over time. Consider your risk and investment goals when selecting investment options, and diversify your portfolio to minimize risk and maximize returns. Start investing early to take advantage of compound interest and give your investments time to grow over the long term.

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