Most students who are about to graduate high-school or college and head off into the real world do very little to prepare for what’s ahead. They take their classes, enjoy their time in school, and before they know it, it’s a few weeks before graduation, they haven’t found a job, or have any real idea what they’re going to do after the graduate.
If you’re going to graduate within the next year, be prepared.
Come Up With a Plan
What are you going to do after you graduate? You need to find a way to be productive. No matter what your parents gave you up until now, money doesn’t come free in the world. You’ll need to find a way to start making some money. This means getting your resume ready and finding a job. If you’re planning on a more advanced education, you’ll still want a summer job to pay for the high-cost of higher-education! You might not get the highest paying job right after graduation, but that’s not the point. Get a job that will help you get into the job that you really want.
Minimize Your Debt
If you’re graduating college, you probably have a significant amount of student loan debt piling high, and possibly additional credit card or vehicle debt. You’ll most likely want to consolidate your student loans to get a better interest rate. If you have a credit card with a significant balance, try to lower the rate on that as well. Work whatever you can before graduation and throw that money toward your debt so that you’re not in as deep of a whole when you graduate.
Make Sure You Have Smart Bank Accounts
You probably still have the first checking and savings account that you ever had. They’re probably not the best options for you out there. Get a high-yield savings account through a place such as ING Direct or Emigrant Direct. They will offer much better interest rates than what you’re getting now. You’ll also want to find a good checking account with little or no fees. If you can find one that bears interest, it’s even better. ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking account is a great option for those who don’t need to write too many checks.
Don’t Make Big Plans For Your Newly Found Income
You’ll probably get a very significant raise after you graduate and move into a full-time job. You’ll have a lot of new money that wasn’t there before. It’s natural for us to want to take some of this money and spend it on new furniture, new clothes, new vehicles, and the like, but don’t! Pretend like you’re living in college for the next couple of years, and use every extra dime you get to fight your debt and get rid of it once and for all. Imagine, you’ll be 24 or 25 years old, completely debt free, and have all of your income to do whatever you want with, now that’s freedom!
College is a financial disaster for most people, they have to get all sorts of student loans just to get through it, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Soon after you graduate, you’ll be setting financial patterns that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Make smart decisions with your money so that you’re not in the same situation that many in-debt baby boomers with little to nothing saved for retirement are today.