Personal Finance After College


Ah, its that time of year again. Final exams are ending and lots of excited seniors will be graduating and dipping their feet into the water known as the real world. With a steady paycheck, many forgo their Ramen-led lifestyles and then some. Life is good.

Splurging will only last so long. What do you do with this new found money?

Set Goals

Have short and long term goals that you want to achieve. Its the first step to figuring out what to do with your money. Do you want to go get your Master’s degree after a couple years of work experience? Are you planning on getting married to your long time girlfriend/boyfriend? Would you like to own a home in the near future? These are all legitimate goals and can only be achieved through financial responsibility.

Honey-Do List

 Still not sure about your goals? Here is some food for thought (not Ramen) to get you started:


  • Pay off your debt – got student loans? Credit card balances? Pay it off as quick as possible. Don’t put it off.
  • Setup an emergency fund – shit happens. Be prepared for life’s curve balls like car maintenance etc. 
  • Save money for a house – renting an apartment is like giving away your money. 
  • Plan for retirement – contribute to your 401k and then your Roth IRA. You will thank yourself later.

How To Save For Goals

If you are paying off debt, try increasing the monthly payments. The faster you get rid of debt, the more time you have for achieving your goals. Time is money.

I mentioned automating your savings briefly in a previous post. When saving for a goal, take a cut from your paycheck and put it into your savings account first and foremost. Don’t touch this money until you’ve reached your goal. 

Contributing to your retirement may not be your first priority, but if you have a 401k with an employer match, don’t give up free money. Even if you have debt, make sure you contribute to a 401k.

Why Not Save In The Stock Market?

You could do that instead of putting your money into a savings account, but its not guaranteed. Because the market is so volatile there is no telling how your funds will perform five years from now. A good approach would be to invest long term, in a broad index. Historically the S&P500 has gone up in any given ten year period. Keeping your saving in both a bank and brokerage is smart. Putting all of it in the stock market is not – diversify your risk.


The key is to be prepared. When you spend less time figuring out how to pay/save for things, you have more time enjoying what you want. 



One Response to “Personal Finance After College”

  1. 1 Temporary Test Blog » Blog Archive » Personal Finance After College

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