Congratulations to all of our new college grads on beginning their new jobs. I feel like a proud mama watching my daughter and her friends achieve this milestone. They are moving to new cities and establishing new homes. What advice can we share with them? What advice can we share with any of our friends who are returning to the workforce? Let us share their excitement as we begin celebrating a new start after graduating from college.
Here are 12 things that I would tell you if you were my child. Following some or all of these recommendations will ensure that you become financially independent. The goal at the beginning is to keep as much money in your pocket as you can.
• Continue to live like a poor college student for as long as you can.
• Learn how to cook.
• Do not buy a new car or lease a car. If your car needs to be replaced, buy a used car.
• Continue to rent.
• Become financially literate.
• Plan a budget and live below your means.
• Sign up for any employer match retirement programs.
• If allowed, stay on your parent’s health and dental insurance (until you are 26 years old.) Sit down and review what your parent’s premium cost is with and without you. Most plans have a flat ‘family rate’. Figure out what your portion of this is and pay this premium to your parents instead of your company’s plan.
• If your employer’s health insurance cost is zero to you, you may want to take the benefit and use your parent’s plan as your secondary insurance.
• If this is not an option, sign up for an employer HSA if it is offered especially if the employer makes a contribution to help fund it.
• Do not sign up for the ‘extra’ employer benefits during your first year. You do not need long-term care, cancer insurance, whole life insurance, or whatever other ‘benefit’ they are offering. Contain your costs and hoard your money. As you educate yourself, you can decide what other benefits you truly need. Remember that the company representatives are there to sell you something.
• Pick up a side hustle and pay down your college debt as fast as you can.
What advice would you give your 22 year old self? Share your advice in the comments below.