Money Advice to New Graduates

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL–(Marketwired – Jun 11, 2013) – Congratulations to all new college graduates! For years they have had to juggle time and money to make it through school. The financial balancing act that they have been used to is just a preview of what they need to expect as they enter the working world. Most new grads will have to look for an apartment, possibly a car, and their first real job. Then, six months after graduation, most student loan repayments start. Talking about a juggling act and an introduction to personal finance!

Most kids grow up without learning anything about the rules of credit and they don’t have anywhere to learn these things except from their parents. If parents send their kids off to school without having taught them the basics of money management — particularly as it applies to credit cards — they shouldn’t be surprised when their children wind up with credit problems and have trouble making ends meet.

Lower-than-expected salaries, plus higher-than-expected living expenses and hefty student loan payments, makes stepping into the working world the more difficult for students and recent graduates.

It is estimated that those under the age of 25 will face unemployment rates twice the national average and according to 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 18 to 34 year-olds make up 45% of the total share of the unemployed population.

  • 21.9 percent of 18-24 year olds were in poverty in 2010, which is roughly 1.5 times the national average, and 14 percent of the U.S. population living in poverty, according to a Demos report.
  • 35 percent of undergrads carried a credit card and of those students the average balance is about $755, according to a 2012 Sallie Mae study.
  • It would take roughly 12 years for a student to pay off a $1,000 credit card debt with an 18% interest rate if they are making only minimum payments.
  • Total outstanding student loan debt loans exceeded $1 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.

To avoid the debt trap and stay solvent, Consolidated Credit recommends that recent graduates follow this advice:

  • Track purchases and put together a spending plan. Continuously check spending to make sure it is less than, or equal to, your income. If you’re spending more than you take home, make adjustments to your spending plan by reviewing your spending categories.
  • Once you know where your money is going, it’s easy to make small adjustments that can really add up. Look at discretionary areas of spending first. Spending for items like eating out, lunches, entertainment, clothing, personal items, etc., can often be reduced. If you cut a little in each area, you will not feel the pinch and it will still make a difference to the big picture.
  • Shop around for the best rates on car insurance, cable, or satellite packages and lower rates for long distance service or Internet access. Switch to a lower cost mobile phone plan and take advantage of discounts whenever possible.

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