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Financial advice for new grads

Save, spend and still have fun after graduation

Congratulations, new grad! Welcome to the professional world. Whether you're graduating from high school or college, it's an exciting change. It's a time of planning for the future, new jobs and new places to live. Here are some tips to help you prepare for life after graduation.

Your own place.

How much cash do you need up front to rent an apartment? First month's rent, last month's rent and/or a security deposit are all possibilities. Looking for a place that has utilities included or getting a roommate can help you save.

What to wear.

Depending on the job you have or are seeking, you may need new clothes. Save by selecting clothes that easily mix and match, or shop for gently-used clothes at a consignment store.

New car! (or new to you)

If you have a commute, but no public transportation, you'll need a reliable vehicle. Make sure substance outweighs the flash and don't rule out used or leased cars.

Loans, loans, loans.

When it comes to repaying your federal student loan, know the details: when repayment starts, payment options, what to do if you have trouble making payments and more.1 Also keep in mind that grace periods differ for federal and private loans, and if you have more than one student loan you can research consolidation.

Give yourself a little credit.

Consider opening a credit card to build positive credit history. Use the card for small purchases and pay it off in full every month - don't buy more now than you can afford later. Compare our cards to see if one is right for you

Create a budget.

Don't forget to factor in utilities, groceries, medical insurance and retirement savings/ 401(k). Take a little money from each paycheck and build a safety net in case you need emergency funds. And lastly, make sure there's a little wiggle room for some fun!

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Perez, Maria. From Student to Professional: Financial Advice for New Grads. N.p. unknown. N.d. April 2013.

1Learn about how, when, and to whom you make your federal loan payments. N.p. unknown. N.d. April 2013

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This article is based on information available in May 2013. It is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting, or other advice and should not be acted or relied upon without the advice of a professional advisor. A professional advisor will recommend action based on your personal circumstances and the most recent information available.