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How to Start Dealing with Finances Post College?

Posted by : Premraj | Posted on : Wednesday, August 5, 2009

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Two of the most important things you must do  after college are:

  •  Conduct a “State of the Union” for your finances, sign-up (sic) for an online money management system”
  •  Develop sound saving habits from the start”

… and we couldn’t agree more.

•l  Set up an online money management system

Treating your finances seriously is crucial to your ability to create a sound financial future for yourself, and for your family later. One of the best – and easiest! – ways to do this is to sign up for an online money management system that gives you an entire view of your finances.

Sound a little obsessive-compulsive? Well, perhaps it is, but you won’t find a financially successful individual who hasn’t done something similar and why not use the free Internet tools that are available to help you with this chore?

•l  Develop good savings habits

Starting with good savings habits right from the start is important. So, what do you need to save for right now? Well, here are a few you probably can’t get away from:

– You need an emergency fund right now. Otherwise, how will you pay those bills on time if you lose your job?

– If your are employed, you need to begin retirement planning right now. You can’t count on social security and there are no more gold watches with a comfy retirement after 30 years.

– If you plan to purchase anything of any value in the future, you need to start saving right now. Do you really want to stay in that rat-trap you call an apartment forever?

So, let’s break these requirements down into bite-sized bits:

1 Setting up an emergency fund, even if you put only a little into it each month, can be a great way to ensure you will be able to pay your bills in the event a problem occurs. Saving while paying down debt is the only way to ensure you’ll be able to pay for the unexpected expenses that will happen as you continue to pay down your debt.

2 Retirement planning can never begin too early and if you are lucky enough to be working for a company that contributes a matching percentage to your retirement account, you are throwing away their good dollars if you don’t match it. So start investing at least the match and see “In the future …” below for hints to improve those dollars.

3 Saving for the future has to start right now. No, it doesn’t have to be a lot, but for every debt you pay off, put a little more into your future savings funds. For every expense you clear off your monthly list, put a little more into your future savings. When it comes time to put money down on a car, or a condo, or an engagement ring, you’ll be prepared.

  • l In the future …

As you get raises, pay yourself first – increase your 401(k) contributions by just 1% with each raise, and you will be contributing the maximum in only a few years. Increase your savings percentage with each raise as well. Don’t use your raises only as a way to ‘get out of debt faster’; use some of that money to improve your financial growth too.

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