Smart Money Moves After Graduation • The Cardinal of Louisville

By Jacob Maslow–Mark Content

Once you finish your studies, your life will change and you will have more responsibilities and opportunities in the future. You could start a new career, live on your own, or become independent from your parents for the first time. If you want to be successful after school, there are a few things that will help you do that.

Take care of student loans

Now is the time to pay off the debt you accumulated during your graduation. Most graduates have at least some student debt after they graduate. It can be tempting to just make the minimum payments each month, but it’s best to pay them off as aggressively as possible.

Once you take charge of these loans, you won’t have to pay so much interest, which will save you more money. One way to reduce your monthly expenses is to create an action plan for your loans. For example, you might consider an option for refinance student loans into a new loan from a private lender. You might get different repayment terms or find a lower interest rate, which can then reduce what you pay each month.

Budgeting for living expenses

Understanding where your money is coming from and where it is going is essential. Then create and stick to a budget each month to make sure you stay financially healthy for a long time. There are many apps that will help you create this money saving tool, and these can track your credit, account balances and spending, wherever you are.

Understand living expenses to create a realistic budget. Once you leave campus, you will find that the costs can add up quickly. Whether it’s rent, utilities, or transportation, you will now be facing a lot more costs. And these can add up quickly, making you wonder where your income is going. When budgeting, make sure you factor in each expense and know that it can change throughout the year. For example, if you live in an area with freezing winters, your electricity bill may be higher.

Start planning for retirement

It might seem foolish to think about your retirement when you’ve barely entered the workforce, but now is the best time to start saving. Many times you can earn interest on the money in your account, as well as on the money you have already invested. But, of course, that means you have to have time on your side to get the best results.

Saving for retirement is not that difficult since the hardest part will be making sure there is enough room in your budget for it. First, create an automation so that some of your paychecks go straight to the account. Second, if you receive a 401 (k) correspondence from an employer, try to take full advantage of this offer since it is free money. Think of it as part of the salary you earn for the work you provide to the company. Finally, promise to yourself that you won’t touch your retirement savings, no matter what.

Photo courtesy of Jacob Maslow // Cosmic Press

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