You’re done with college. You got your credentials. You found a job. You’re making decent money for the first time ever. What’s next?
You want to experiment and see what life has to offer. You want to break out of your bubble. You want a different life from the one that you had in college. You want to figure out what this money-saving stuff you hear about is all about.
I needed a cash advance and had to resort to my emergency fund to make the repairs. I wanted to share financial advice for college graduates looking to get ahead:
Build your emergency fund.
My friend, things happen in life. We always assume the best-case scenario. The reality is that anything can happen. I didn’t realize the importance of an emergency fund until I crashed my car in the snow one cold evening. I had to resort to my emergency fund to make the repairs.
An emergency fund or savings account or whatever you want to call it, is money that you have waiting for you in case you need. You don’t have to invest this money or take any chances with it. Just let it sit until you absolutely need. Believe me, you’ll need it one day.
I don’t want to bore you with retirement talk. I just want you to browse around to see if your employer offers any sort of retirement plan where they match contributions. You don’t want to miss out on free money.
Kill student debt.
I’ve written pretty extensively about crushing student debt. You already know what needs to be done and I’m not here to preach. I just want you to decide what you plan on doing about your student debt before it’s too late and the creditors start chasing you for the money,
Ah the always polarizing topic of credit cards. If you want to get ahead financially you want to use credit cards and not let credit cards use you. Of course this is easier said than done.
How can you use your credit card like a champ?
- Only spend money that you have.
- Keep your limit low if you don’t have control.
- Get relevant credit card rewards.
- Pay off your balance every single month.
Don’t let your balance become outstanding! That’s not a good thing.
I won’t try to convince you to live at home. As much money as you can save, it’s just not worth it. There’s no price tag for your freedom. I recommend finding solid roommates that you can rent a place with to save money on rent and to motivate each other to work harder. It’s important that you watch who you surround yourself with in your years after college.
Wait to buy a home.
The most important financial decision that you’ll have to make in your late-20s is if buying a home is right for you. Most college graduates feel that getting a home right after school is the logical step and pretty much mandatory. I want you to challenge that. I want to see you actually run some real numbers to determine if it’s even worth it for you to put so much money into a home.
That’s what you can do in your years after college to get ahead of your friends. You don’t have to do all of this. You can slowly apply these tips to your life.