4 Tips for Graduates

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Age has it’s privileges. But with this graduation you have achieved so much more now that you have completed college or graduate school. But being smart in your field doesn’t mean you’re smart with your money. So, file this under the category of ‘You’ll be glad I told you.’

 Here are four tips that you probably didn’t hear at your commencement address.

It’s your life– Ready or not, it’s now time to fully grab hold of your financial life.  You need to know your credit score, understand savings and checking accounts and rates of interest available, and not spend more than you earn. You have got to get serious about your money NOW.

Be WISE– Manage your expectations in a reasonable way. You probably are only twenty-something years old and may not have a great handle on what first jobs pay, if you can get one in your field. If you are, as I was, a non-traditional student, you probably have more life experience. But that doesn’t mean any of us are all the way to WISE yet.

Be wise enough to perhaps ask others with more life experience what to expect for salary in a entry-level position. Take your expectations down a notch if you are expecting your first job to solve all your money problems. AND, whatever job you accept, believe me when I tell you that you will live in peace with yourself if you spend LESS than you earn. Brewing your OWN coffee instead of $5 coffee at the expensive coffee place, used furniture and cars, eating IN with friends instead of eating out, are ways to stretch your budget and those of us with life experience know that NONE of us have unlimited money. Some of us with life experience have learned this the hard way.

Be humble– Remember all the help you have gotten from family and the bills parents may have covered.  Be thankful. For those of you not already doing this, take responsibility for your cell phone, your car insurance, your bills and get whatever job may help cover your expenses. Be thankful for free room and board if it is available to you. For most graduates in their early twenties remember, no one owes you anything as you are no longer a grade-school child needing help. So be thankful and humble when help is offered, and take jobs no matter how lowly they may seem to your inexperienced eye. Some of us live a long life and never learn the lesson of humility.

Save – When you are offered the opportunity to save through a retirement plan at the new job, start saving. The benefit of compound interest is that small amounts of money OVER TIME transform into serious savings when you begin saving early. And non-traditional graduates, don’t lose hope as it is NEVER too late to save.

 Though you want the flat screen, an I-this and I-that, if you save now you will have a pile of money. Don’t ‘eat all your seed.’ Meaning don’t spend all you have for today’s desires. If you need help figuring out HOW to balance your money, look for a budget online, talk to a smart friend or relative or call a financial advisor for some quick tips.

 You did it! You completed your plan for education. Now, take great control of your finances, please.




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