College graduation is upon us, and for all of the book-learning new grads have accomplished over 4+ years, there is one subject area they are not likely to have mastered:
Between paying down that college debt and simply making rent at the start of the month, determining how and where to take control of a financial life isn’t exactly covered in Marine Bio.
Tony Steuer, financial expert and award-winning author of the new book, GET READY!: A Step-by-Step Planner for Maintaining Your Financial First Aid Kit is sensitive to how truly overwhelming finances can be, and has devised a list of the 4 most critical things every recent grad should know about managing their financial life.
Here are his 4 simple financial life-changers:
Actually read the documents.
All insurance policies are not the same. Prior to signing any financial documents, read carefully, and importantly, be sure that what you think is covered is actually covered. For example, renters insurance policies do not cover floods. Floods are covered under their own policy.
Watch your debt — and avoid consolidation.
Be wary of college debt consolidation loans. A debt consolidation loan is actually a refinanced loan with an extended repayment period, which means it will take longer to pay off your debt, and it does not mean that your outstanding debt amount is reduced.
Make a plan before acting.
As life requires major purchases, always plan first. Start by considering what your goals and priorities are.This includes paying off college loans, saving for retirement, buying a home and taking a vacation. Write them down, and keep it somewhere as a guide star.
Tackle one thing at a time.
Keep it simple. Once you know what is the most important – do it, but don’t overload. Take on one financial ambition at a time. Don’t set up a retirement fund, apply for two credit cards and book a trip to Aruba in the same day. While random bursts of energy may have helped you write that term paper, it’s best to make clear, purposeful and well-informed financial decisions, slowly…
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