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What Would You Tell A College Grad?

What Would You Tell A College Grad?

                A new degree, a new job, a new paycheck – college grads have a lot of first happening in their lives.  For many, long-range money management is also a first.   If you could give a young adult just starting on the path of life, financial advice what words of wisdom would you share?  Several financial experts recently submitted their choices.   See if you agree.

-   Be wary of credit.  If you make a habit of putting all your purchases on credit cards, regardless of whether you can pay your bill in full at the end of the month, you might still be paying for those items in 10 years. If you want to keep your credit cards for the convenience factor or the rewards they offer, make sure to always pay your balance in full when the bill arrives, and don't carry more cards than you can keep track of.

 -   Know where your money goes – The best way to do this is by budgeting. Once you see how your morning caffeine fix adds up over the course of a month, you'll realize that making small, manageable changes in your everyday expenses can have just as big of an impact on your financial situation as getting a raise. In addition, keeping your recurring monthly expenses as low as possible will also save you big bucks over time. 

-  Start an emergency fund - Having money in savings to use for emergencies can keep you out of trouble financially and help you sleep better at night – especially if you are a home owner with water heaters that leak, windows that break, etc. Also, if you get into the habit of saving money and treating it as a non-negotiable monthly "expense", pretty soon you'll have more than just emergency money saved up: you'll have retirement money, vacation money and even money for a home down payment.

-   Start Saving for Retirement Now – Retirement may seem like a world light years away, but in reality, preparing for retirement can never start too early. With the benefits of compound interest, the sooner you start saving, the less principal you'll need to invest to end up with the amount you need to retire.

- Take care of you – Take steps now to keep yourself healthy – eat a low-fat diet including fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, have regular medical check-ups, no smoking, limit how much alcohol you consume and drive defensively.  You’ll thank yourself later when you aren't paying exorbitant medical bills.

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