Financial Advice for Recent College Graduates

You’ve put in the hard work as a college student and finally received your diploma. Now you’re ready to head out on your own. And though you may not have given much thought to your financial future when you were in college, you have new financial challenges and goals to consider. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to start on the right track with your personal finances.

Set financial goals

Setting goals is an important part of life, especially when it comes to your finances. And though your financial goals will likely change over time, you can always make adjustments in the future. Start out by asking yourself some basic questions about your financial goals, such as whether they are short term (e.g., saving money to buy a car or rent an apartment) or long term (e.g., paying off student loans or buying your own home). Next, ask yourself how important it is to accomplish each goal and determine how much you would need to save for each goal.

Understand the importance of having a budget

A budget is an important part of managing your finances. Knowing exactly how you are spending your money each month can set you on a path to pursue your financial goals. Start by listing your current monthly income. Next, add up all of your expenses. It may help to divide expenses into two categories: fixed (e.g., housing, food, transportation, student loan payments) and discretionary (e.g., entertainment, vacations). Ideally, you should be spending less than you earn. If not, you need to review your expenses and look for ways to cut down on your spending.

Remember that the most important part of budgeting is sticking to it, so you should monitor your budget regularly and make changes as needed. To help stay on track, try to make budgeting a part of your daily routine and be sure to give yourself an occasional reward (e.g., dinner at a restaurant instead of cooking at home).

Establish an emergency fund

An emergency fund is money set aside to protect yourself in the event of an unexpected financial crisis, such as a job loss or medical bills. Typically, you will want to have at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your cash reserve. Of course, the amount you should save depends on your individual circumstances (e.g., job stability, health status). A good way to establish an emergency fund is to earmark a portion of your paycheck each pay period to help achieve your goal.

Manage your debt situation properly

Whether it’s debt from student loans or credit cards, you’ll want to avoid the pitfalls that sometimes accompany borrowing. To manage your debt situation properly, keep track of your loan balances and interest rates and develop a plan to manage your payments and avoid late fees. If you need help paying off your student loans, consider the following tips:

  • Find out if your employer offers some type of student debt assistance
  • Contact your lender about your repayment options
  • Consider whether loan consolidation or refinancing is available

Maintain good credit

Having good credit will impact so many different aspects of your financial situation, from obtaining a loan to gaining employment. You can establish and maintain a good credit history by avoiding late payments on existing loans and paying down any debt you may have. In addition, you should monitor your credit report on a regular basis for possible errors or signs of fraud/identity theft.

Determine your insurance needs

Insurance might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your finances. However, having the right amount of insurance is an important part of any financial strategy. Your specific insurance needs will depend on your circumstances. For example, if you rent an apartment, you’ll need renters insurance to protect yourself against loss or damage to your personal property. If you own a car, you should have appropriate coverage for that as well. You may also want to evaluate your need for other types of insurance, such as disability and life.

As for health insurance, you have a couple of options. You can usually stay on your parents’ insurance until you turn 26. In addition, you may have access to health insurance through your employer or a government-sponsored health plan, or you can purchase your own plan through the federal or state-based Health Insurance Marketplace. For more information, visit healthcare.gov.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2019.

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Disclaimer

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by LFC), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from LFC. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. LFC is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the LFC’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. If you are an LFC client, please remember to contact LFC, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services.

2019-06-12T20:17:58+00:00