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Graduating Soon? Tips to Help You Plan for Your Financial Future Now!

Editors note: this America Saves Week, join us for a free webcast on Wednesday, March 1 at 2:00 pm EST. Together with the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission, and America Saves, we will provide information on these topics and more to get you the information and tools you’ll need to create a financial plan and manage your money. REGISTER HERE for this free webcast today! 

Six graduates taking a selfie while wearing their black graduation robes and hats

Are you a college senior? Starting your first job soon? This is an exciting time in your life and a good time to start planning for your financial future. During this America Saves Week, learn about some of the basic financial responsibilities you’ll have and tips to help you handle them successfully/plan for them.

To help you get started, here are some tips so you’re ready to act when you begin that new job: 

  • Manage your debt, including student loans –Many college graduates start their careers with student loans. Learn now about the student loan repayment process and what you need to do. The Department of Education has information to help you. 
  • Create and follow a budget – There’s one simple trick for saving for any goal: spend less than you earn. While that may not be easy when you’ve just started your job, you can start by making a budget, or spending plan. It will help you see where your money goes and where money can be saved. Create one on your own or use our interactive “Cash Flow Spending Plan” worksheet to help you with the process.  
  • Take advantage of employee benefits at your new job – Your new employer may offer health insurance, a retirement savings plan, or other employee benefits. Be sure to read the information you receive and consider your benefits choices wisely. If your job offers a retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b), join as soon as you can. Employment-based retirement plans are one of the most effective ways to save for your retirement and starting early helps you get time on your side.  Find out how the plan works and what decisions you’ll have to make. 
  • Manage your credit and understand your credit scores – Having good credit can help you achieve your financial goals – but misuse of credit or credit cards can make this tough, so learn how to avoid that now. Get your free credit reports and review them regularly – it’s important to understand the information that’s included and get any errors corrected. Check out the Federal Trade Commission for information on credit and how credit scores impact your financial plans.
  • Build an emergency savings fund – Life has a way of throwing unexpected financial roadblocks, detours and potholes in our path.  These can derail your efforts toward your financial goals. One strategy is to build an emergency savings fund so you don’t have to dip into other savings and are ready to handle emergencies when they happen. Putting money aside for this can be tough if income is tight, but every extra dollar helps. You can learn more about building an emergency fund from America Saves.
  • Save for your financial goals – When you identify your financial goals, consider what you need to make them happen.  This includes how much you need to save and how long that might take.  Be sure to make saving for retirement one of these goals! The more years you have to retirement, the less you have to save every month.  Learn more about saving for retirement. If you need help figuring out how much you should be saving for this goal, check out our interactive “Retirement Saving” worksheet.    

Sourced from Us Dept of Labor

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