I can’t believe that I am only a few weeks away from graduating! I have been looking forward to this day for so long. I must admit, though, I am a little freaked out. Besides the fact that I will be leaving my home and friends whom I have gotten used to for the past four years, I am also in the process of finding a job to support myself. Yikes! No more student loans or money from parents. No more NOT getting up in the morning when I am hungover. No more procrastination. The real world is upon me. Any tips on starting out this new phase of my life?
First of all, congratulations on a huge accomplishment! Graduating and moving on to the next phase of your life is exciting. Sure, some feelings of loss will likely accompany these feelings, but have no fear; the real world is ready for you. Try to look at it like an adventure.
I could write a book on advice on beginning this new chapter, but I won’t. I will bestow on you a few “musts,” though. You must make a budget and live within your means. Hopefully, you have already been starting this before leaving college. You will likely have loans that you need to begin paying off soon, so get started on saving. When you get your first paycheck, figure out your take home pay and decipher out your debts. Follow the 50-30-20 plan which includes putting 50% towards needs, 30% towards wants and 20% towards savings. Hard to do but worthwhile later. Take it from someone who spent too much on wants and not enough on savings. It can be hard to recover.
Another money tip is to take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) and or open a Roth (IRA). It is never too early to save for the future. Begin to establish good credit. Identity theft is popular among college students and recent grads because of such a substantial online profile. Keep an eye on your money, and know where it’s going. Don’t be too open on social media. Some discretion is good.
Next, choose your friends wisely. Try to avoid people that encourage you to spend money recklessly. If you are looking for friends, find some that share your values and your financial perspective on spending. Be open to new friendships in and outside of work. And stay connected to old friends. Nurture those college relationships so that they stay strong. They have likely weathered a few storms with you, so keep the good ones close.
See me for more information on managing the transition, and remember, it’s a good thing to be graduating.