Trust Matters  
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Ah, spring is here! The birds are singing, the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming… and your whole life is stretching out before you – congratulations! As a new college grad, you may now be launching into your career with your first serious job, bringing with it your first real paychecks, and, while exciting, deciding what to do with your money can be overwhelming. But no worries, you have the greatest financial advantage of all on your side: time. Embrace the following suggestions for new college graduates to get your new fiscal life off on the right foot!

Make A Budget

Establishing a reliable budget is a crucial first step, once you’ve acclimated to your new salary and lifestyle. Once you have determined precisely where your money is going, you can confidently manage your expenditures, knowing what you can afford and when. For new grads, the 50/30/20 rule is appropriate: allocate 50% to needs like rent, utilities, transportation, groceries, and minimum loan payments; 30% to splurges, like trips and tickets; and 20% to savings, contributions to your 401(k) and an emergency fund. Overall, always aim to spend less than you make!

Start Savings For Retirement

Contribute as much as you can to your retirement fund now, before significant expenses such as buying a house and raising children come into play. Indeed, make sure you reach your employer match if you have one (typically 3-6%) since it’s free money.

Build Your Credit

Good credit is the key that unlocks many doors to financial success. A high credit score will help you get the best rates on loans, insurance, and a mortgage, and many employers and landlords also check credit scores when making employment/tenancy decisions for due diligence. Now is the time to begin building your credit. Start by reviewing your credit report on a free, helpful website such as Credit Karma, both to see where you stand and to access their personalized suggestions for building your credit. In terms of debt, tackle all high-interest balances first.

Establish An Emergency Fund

Set aside an emergency fund of three-six months’ worth of living expenses. While you may never need it, having this cushion in place just in case you become injured/ill or lose your job is great for peace of mind. Also, putting those funds into a money market mutual fund or a high-yield savings account will make your money work for you.
Some final words of advice: Amid all these responsible behaviors, don’t forget to have fun! Put aside a portion of your money each month to save/invest (20% or so), and then spend some guilt-free on adventures – eat delicious food, go to that concert, take that trip you’ve wanted to take. Now’s your chance!
About the author: Shauna Osborne first published this article in the May 2022 edition of Treesdale Life.

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