By Farm Bureau Financial Services on May 6, 2020
College graduation is an exciting time. If you’re a new graduate or know a new graduate, here are a few tips to make the transition more manageable.
EDITOR'S NOTE: College graduates are entering a time of uncertainty as the economy reels from COVID-19 impacts. These tips were formulated before the coronavirus hit and affected each of us.
FIND A SOURCE OF INCOME
Finding a job right after graduation is a smart decision. If you don’t land your ideal job in your field on the first try, don’t worry. According to a LinkedIn study, millennials are likely to change job positions four times between graduation and their early 30s. It’s important to find a job so you can pay your bills while you search for your dream job. Pad your checking account by working on a side hustle.
A recent survey suggests 50 percent of millennials rely on a second source of income.
MAKE A BUDGET
The word “budget” might sound a little scary, but creating one helps you get real about your finances, which can lessen anxiety and prevent any major flubs. Your budget will likely change if you move or get that job you’ve been working toward. But taking stock of what you’re spending right now will help you make the best decisions when negotiating a new lease agreement or other big expenses.
TALLY YOUR CREDIT CARDS
College can be a tricky time when it comes to paying the bills, buying essentials and having a little fun. You may have racked up a credit card balance. Plan to pay it off before it balloons. Consolidate high card balances into one payment on a low interest card if possible and pay more than the minimum.
Vow to whip out your card only in emergencies and use your budgeted cash for everyday items instead.
REVIEW YOUR STUDENT LOANS
Nearly three quarters of students graduating from a four-year university have some type of student loan debt, according to Student Loan Hero. Thankfully, most student loans have a six-month grace period after graduation to allow you time to find a means to pay — a.k.a. a job. But as the school year winds down, you should review your terms and investigate the lender’s repayment options and requirements so there are no surprises. Create a roadmap to getting the debt off your shoulders.
SET UP AN EMERGENCY FUND
Even the smallest of nest eggs can put your mind at ease and help prepare you for an unexpected financial crisis, like a flaky roommate or a bill from the doctor. Aim to save up three to six months living expenses (or more) in a no-risk savings account. Open one now and set up small weekly automatic transfers from your checking so you’re squirreling away about 20 percent of your monthly income.
Graduating college and taking your next steps in life can be overwhelming — you are making all sorts of important decisions that previously were not on your radar. Your Farm Bureau agent can help. They can share advice on budgeting, and crucial insurance for your car, your apartment and your life.