Advice For New College Graduates

Advice for New College Graduates

Congratulations! Now go get your financial life in order.

Last week I was flipping through the latest issue of Money Magazine and I picked up three great tips for new college graduates.

I’ve written before about advice for a high school graduate and I’ve shared a bit about my own college experience, but I haven’t written specific to the college grad.  So, check out these tips.  Not a recent college grad?  Share them with one you know.

Career: Clean Up The Online Presence, Yo!

If you have a MySpace or Facebook page, it’s probably best to give it a good spring cleaning.  It’s more likely nowadays that any perspective employers will be doing their own web searches to get the goods on you.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure there is nothing on the page that you wouldn’t mind your Grandmother seeing.  Best bet is to go private with the profile for a while.  Change your profile so that only your friends can view it.

Spending: More Money Coming In Than Going Out

For many graduates this is the time to step up and learn the basics of budgeting.  I’m not talked big spreadsheets and software, just a plain on pencil and paper version to get you started.  Landed the job?  Write up a quick budget so you can visualize how much money you will have coming in (income) versus how much you’ll have going out (expenses).

If the result is not a positive number, go back and cut a few expenses out…as long as it takes you to get comfortable with the ins and outs.

Saving: Mom and Dad Are No Longer The Emergency Fund

Get going with your company’s 401k from day one.  Seriously, start this immediately and you’ll never miss it.  Most companies will start throwing in a matching contribution at some point.  That’s free money, dude.  Also, seriously consider setting up automatic contributions for an Capital One 360 savings account (or similar online account).

Start with as little as $25.  You won’t regret this and you’ll only want to increase this contribution over time.  This money can then be used for possible emergencies situations in the future.  It’s time to stop relying on Mom and Dad for the bail out.

Other than that, I would just add to take your time getting into the brand new car and extravagant apartment.  Ease into your spending and you’ll stay ahead of the game.

Got any other advice?  Share it in the comments below…

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.


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  1. Thanks for your comments, guys!

  2. Great advice, especially about the online presence one.

  3. Something I’ve seen in a lot of friends when they first graduate – they retain the “frathouse” mentality. After about 6 months, you should really evaluate the people you hung out with in college. It may hurt, but think about the guy who was always broke, at the beerpong table, and eating only hot wings and doritos. Is he the guy you want to go to a steakhouse with when your thirty five?