For the new college graduates who are receiving diplomas this month, now is a time of new beginnings. First off, Congratulations!
There are many opportunities to embrace, but I must warn you: Many new graduates make unwise decisions that can derail their finances and send them down the wrong path. If you don’t want to be one of them, pay attention, and avoid these three money mistakes:
Thinking education is behind you. College may be over, but in reality, you’ve simply graduated to the next level of your life. There will be new teachers to encounter and new lessons to learn, many of which will be financial. One of the best things you can do at the start of your adult life is to take a financial education course. Visit a nonprofit homeownership organization to learn what you need to do to buy a house. Learn how you can increase your savings and begin to invest. Not only will you avoid the financial pitfalls that many young people have to dig themselves out of, but you will have the benefit of time to find your fortune and watch it grow.
Moving too fast too soon. You have your first job and you’re moving into your first apartment. Naturally, you want it completely furnished with top-of-the-line furniture, even if it means you have to charge it on a credit card, right? Not so fast. There’s no rule saying that you must buy all of your furniture immediately. Start with a bed and add pieces as you go along – and as you can afford to pay for them. Not only will you protect your credit, but you’ll appreciate the furniture even more if you save for it.
Believing time is on your side. When you’ve just graduated from college, it’s easy to tell yourself there’s plenty of time to worry about saving money later. But the reality is, life evolves and changes with lightning speed, while unfortunately, our financial habits tend to remain the same. If you train yourself to save money and make wise financial choices now, you’ll not only build up a little nest egg, but you’ll have good financial habits later. If you don’t, you’ll wake up one day wondering where all the time – and your money – went. By saving as little as $25 to $50 a month (that’s one or two dinners out a month), you’ll get into the habit of putting money aside, and in time, you’ll see your contributions -- and your financial status -- grow.
Now that you have your diploma, here’s to professional – and financial – success.