People are either savers or spenders.
While this behavioral trait may be planted in early childhood, the reality of making major financial decisions commences with high school and college graduation.
Last month we wrote about financial literacy for high school and college graduates, but the topic warrants more attention. So here are some words of wisdom for new graduates.
Rule #1: Live within your means.
- Among many things, recognize that you don’t have to keep up with your friends and co-workers.
- You don’t have to have a new car.
- You can dress nicely without spending a fortune. Plan your wardrobe. Don’t buy more clothes than you really need or will wear regularly.
- Learn to cook. It is much less expensive than eating out and can be more healthy. Make cooking a fun social time.
- Pay off your credit cards in full every month. Don’t justify cash back awards or shopper rewards as a reason to use your credit card to spend.
- Build up an emergency fund of at least 1 to 3 months of living expenses.
- Contribute at least 5% to 10% of your income to your employer retirement plan or an IRA. At a minimum, contribute at least 3%.
- Understand your student loan repayment requirements, if you have loans.
- Buy adequate car and renters insurance.
- Buy health insurance, even if only catastrophic coverage. Get in the habit of good, preventive care. Understand your deductible and co-payments.
Notice there is really only 1 rule? It makes everything else possible!
We are happy to meet with our clients’ young adult children to help get them off to a good start. Feel free to contact us if we can be of help!