As my oldest child prepares to take his first full time job, I am compiling financial advice to help him start out on the right financial footing. Here are nine tips I wish I knew as I began my post college life:
1) CREATE A BUDGET: It is an invaluable tool to know what you have to spend and where your money goes. A budget also decreases your stress level because there are no surprises.
2) START AN EMERGENCY FUND: Set aside 5-10% of your pay for emergencies. Build the fund up to 4-6 months of living expenses.
3) CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS RETIREMENT: If your employer offers a 401k, max it out. And don’t forget to take advantage of a matching 401k program.
4) PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME: This may seem obvious but my son has not had to pay bills yet.
5) PAY YOUR STUDENT LOANS IMMEDIATELY AND QUICKLY: Pay at least $25 over the monthly minimum. Be aggressive and set a goal to pay your debt faster than the term.
6) ESTABLISH CREDIT BUT PAY IT OFF EVERY MONTH: Get a low interest credit card but cap the available credit to $1000.
7) LEARN TO COOK (OR AT LEAST PREP): Eating out is hard on the wallet and on the waistline.
8) START INVESTING: With so many digital options for savings, it is easier than ever to invest on your own and it is fun.
9) FINALLY, LEAVE ROOM TO SPLURGE ON LIFE EXPERIENCES: You will work hard so it is important to treat yourself to some fun.
What financial advice would you give a young adult as they enter the workforce?