Wednesday, June 1, 2011

11 Money-Smart Steps All Grads Should Take

By Wise Bread

Graduation season is upon us, and now is the time for soon-to-be and recent graduates to start thinking about what their futures hold. Graduating can be a scary and confusing time for young adults who aren’t quite sure how to make the transition from college life to the real world, but here are eleven tips to help make the transition a little easier.

1. Get Educated About Taxes
The government is going to take money out of your paycheck, so you might as well learn about the different types of taxes, brackets, and deductions. By educating yourself about taxes, you can learn where your money is going and how to better shelter your income, ultimately keeping more money in your bank accounts.

2. Be Careful With Credit Cards
If you have credit cards, don’t overuse them, no matter how tempting it is. Only spend money you have and be sure to pay off your balance in full each month. If you aren’t capable of exercising restraint when it comes to credit cards, use a debit card or only pay for things with cash. Also, check your credit score on a regular basis to make sure it’s accurate.

3. Sign Up For LinkedIn
LinkedIn is like Facebook for professionals. It enables you to connect with your personal and professional contacts, showcase your resume, and make new connections that can ultimately help you find a job. Take the time to fully fill out your profile so you can be more marketable to potential employers.

4. Start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund—money stored in case of an unexpected occurrence such as a job loss or sudden medical problem—is absolutely vital given the state of the economy. If you can, try to stash away some money each month so you have funds to fall back on should you lose your job (or, if you haven’t graduated yet, until you land your first job). Your goal should be to have enough money to support yourself for at least a few months – but any bit can help.

5. Get Educated About Retirement
It is never too early to start thinking about retirement. Educate yourself about 401(k)s and IRAs so you can start getting prepared. If you currently have a job or when you get one, find out if your company does any 401(k) matching. If they do, take advantage of it—it’s essentially free money.

6. Make Your Facebook Account Employer-Friendly
Go onto your Facebook profile and make it employer friendly. This means removing all inappropriate pictures and information or, at the very least, making your profile as private as possible so potential employers cannot see pictures from your crazy weekend in Vegas or your spring break trip to Cancun.

Tips 7 - 11 and Complete US News Article

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