Financial Advice for the College Graduate
Many new college graduates wonder what to do after college, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. Here are a few useful tips to consider when thinking about your future.
Life After College
You graduated, congratulations! But just like college was a new adventure, so is life after college. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape our everyday lives, many graduates may be left with even more questions than usual, and this is normal as these are unprecedented circumstances. The good news is that despite this reality, you can still set yourself up for the brightest possible future.
Don’t be afraid and be open to change
As you go through the journey called life, you will come to realize that failure is what all successful people in the world have in common. There is no need to fear failure as it is bound to happen – all you have to do is learn from it to do better next time. That is the secret to growth. You need to be open and use any opportunity you get.
Experience matters more than the degree
Book-smart does not equal street-smart. If you had extra-curricular activities or a part-time job during college- great. If not, don’t get discouraged and accept an entry-level job to build your experience. You will climb up quickly, don’t worry.
Learn from experts
There’s no book that can help you as much as an expert in your field. Not only can you learn from this person, this will also be someone you can look up to, and someone you can go to for advice.
Take it easy
Taking a break does not mean you are lazy, in fact, taking regular breaks is key to productivity. As long as your breaks are well-planned, there’s no reason to fear you’ll stay behind.
Explore your options
You need to find what you are good at. Taking time before starting your career for personal development and some self-reflection is not a bad thing, if anything, it increases your odds of success because it gives you fuel for the journey. This passion will be your greatest source of motivation throughout your professional career.
Financial Steps To Take After Graduation
One of the biggest challenges after college may be learning how to navigate managing your money as 55% of new college grads say the number one graduation gift they’d like to receive is financial help, according to a survey from Offers.com. The good news is there are plenty of things you can as soon as you hang up your cap and gown to start building a solid financial foundation.
Review your budget
Money is usually tight for recent college grads so it is important to track expenses as they will change after college. Look at the expenses that you will no longer have such as books and supplies and identify new costs coming your way.
Whatever you purchase, make sure you are getting the best deal. Besides purchases of physical goods, this also goes for services such as when choosing your internet, insurance and utility providers. You can compare rates and make an electricity switch to a more affordable provider.
Set clear financial goals
What is your next big goal? To buy a car or a house? To start saving for retirement? Now is the time to think of the big picture so you can come up with a plan to achieve your goals.
Create your loan repayment plan
In 2019, Americans owed $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, including about one-third of young adults aged 18 to 30. If you’re one of them, paying off your loan should be among your top priorities after graduation.
Student Loan Repayment Tips
Repayment begins when your student loan grace period ends. This is usually six months after you graduate. Besides making that first payment on time, there are also other things that can put you on track for success.
Pay off your loan(s) faster
You can pay your loan off faster by making larger automatic payments or on a biweekly basis. If you make a full extra payment every two weeks, you will conquer your loans in half the time. Once you gain a solid income, you can also refinance your loan.
Lower your payments
You can ask your servicer about paying less with an income-driven repayment plan. If you cannot afford the payments, it’s even better to extend the repayment plan. Although you will pay a higher interest, it will be still less than late fees and the other financial consequences of student loan default.
Qualify for loan forgiveness
If you get a job at a non-profit or government organization, you could qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
College graduation can bring a big sigh of relief as you get to leave behind all the hard work of earning a degree behind you. But hard work does not end at college. The sooner you start working hard at building your financial foundation, the better.