Tips for Soon-To-Be Graduates

As college students prepare to graduate and begin their professional careers, it is a good time to consider the importance of planning for the financial future. Graduation is an exciting time for many students transitioning from the classroom to the ‘real world’ and starting to establish their financial independence. Community banks can work with recent graduates to set them up for success by creating a financial plan that incorporates their short and long-term financial goals. Remember, the financial decisions made now will affect the future for years to come.

Check out these tips from Independent Community Bankers of America to help new graduates take control of their finances:

– Start a budget. Put your smartphone to good use and learn about online services available at the bank to help manage your finances and track spending remotely.

– Pay off student loans. It may be tempting to make the minimum monthly payments, but a more aggressive repayment plan can save thousands in the long run. Some companies will help you pay off your student debt; make sure to ask about this when negotiating your new job.

– Plan for retirement. Automate your savings so that a portion of each paycheck goes directly into a savings account. Take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) plan (and any matching contributions), if offered. If you don’t see it, chances are you won’t miss it so much.

– Spend responsibly. Shopping and weekend getaways are a great way to recharge from the work week but can quickly eat away at your budget. Research the products you’d like to buy, along with restaurants and excursions in your price range and plan accordingly so these purchases and activities don’t become a financial hardship.

– Establish an emergency fund to cover life’s unexpected events and give you greater peace of mind. Start by putting away $1,000 (the daily cost of a tall latte in a year) then contribute spare change or a little from each paycheck until you have between three to six months of net pay.

This stage of a grad’s life is all about empowerment – and financial matters are no different. We congratulate this year’s graduating class and wish them a prosperous financial future.