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8 Smart Moves For College Grads

Have you or one of your kids recently graduated from college?  There's a lot to look forward to—a first job, maybe marriage and family and financial success.  But college graduates can't assume that good things will happen automatically.  Here are eight moves to make as soon as the ink on the diploma dries:

1. Get organized.  Put your house in order by collecting vital papers such as your Social Security card, passport, and any investment documents and insurance policies.  For optimal protection, store papers you don't need regularly in a bank safe deposit box or another secure location.

2. Start paying down debt.  If you've borrowed money while earning your degree, chip away at your liability.  The top priority is to wipe out credit card debt, on which you're likely paying a sky-high interest rate.  What about student loans?  Often those interest rates are low and much of your repayment will make a dent in the principal.

3. Devise a monthly budget.  Once you have a firm grasp on both your monthly income and expenses—rent, car payments, and the like—create a budget.  The goal is to be in the black, spending less than you earn, with some savings to spare, but allocate funds for entertainment, too.

4. Open bank accounts.  If you don't already have them, set up checking and savings accounts at a local bank.  But don't overdo things with your new debit card.  And be careful with credit cards—using them can help establish your credit history but try to pay off your borrowing quickly to avoid high interest charges.

5. Look to invest.  Now that you have an income, think about how to use some of it to earn more money.  For starters, open a brokerage account with a reputable firm.  At this early stage in your life, you generally can afford to be relatively aggressive with your investment choices, because you'll have time to overcome temporary losses.  But keep in mind your personal tolerance for investment risk.

6. Create a "rainy day" fund.  It's impossible to anticipate all of the expenses you'll incur during the next few years.  Try to set aside something extra in case of emergencies.  For instance, you might face a layoff or an unexpected medical or dental bill.  Have enough savings on hand to carry you through for a few months.

7. Think about retirement.  That's not a misprint.  Although you're still decades from calling it quits, the sooner you start saving for retirement, the better.  Take advantage of company plans such as a 401(k) (especially if your company matches contributions) and consider supplementing your savings with an IRA.

8. Obtain financial guidance.  Fortunately, you don't have to do it all on your own.  We can provide assistance based on your personal circumstances.  Don't hesitate to contact our office for more details.



INDEX
  • Why Aren't More Millennials Moving On Up And Out?
  • Taking Socially Responsible Investing To The Next Level
  • Don't Be Caught Red-Handed By The Wash Sale Rule
  • Leading Economic Indicators Hit 10-Year High
  • Avoid These 6 Mistakes In Stretch IRA Planning
  • More Flexibility Allowed In Flex Spending Accounts
  • Individual Bonds-Ugh!
  • Set Aside The Funds One Might Need For A Rainy Day
  • Protect Against Possible Terrorist Attack
  • U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Rose Again
  • Fed Chair Strikes A More Cautious Tone, But Still Expects Moderate Growth
  • Count Off 3 Tax Breaks For Higher Education
  • Don't Be Victimized By These 10 Common Scams
  • Retirement Plan Choices For The Self-Employed
  • New Law Says Tax Debtors May Lose Their Passports
  • Compare Minor's Account To 529 Plan
  • Are You Being Socially Responsible?
  • 8 Smart Moves For College Grads
  • Seeking Financial Aid: Don't Fear The FAFSA
  • New Baby? Consider An Education Savings Plan
  • HOW THE IRS RESOLVES AN IDENTITY THEFT CASE:
  • 3 Ways To Deduct Mortgage Interest
  • HOW THE IRS RESOLVES AN IDENTITY THEFT CASE
  • Understanding Deflation
  • Don't Play Up Super Bowl Outcome In Stock Decisions
  • When Should Millennials Start Retirement Saving?
  • Have Your Child Kick Into A Roth With A Reward To Boot
  • Sizing Up The Energy Boost To The Economy
  • A Stock Plunge Amid Strong Economic Data
  • 14 Top Year-End Tax Moves For Individuals In 2014
  • Drill Down For Three Key Oil And Gas Tax Breaks
  • When It Pays To ID Security Sales
  • GDP Growth Data Masks Strength Of The Recovery
  • Be On The Lookout For Crimes Involving An Elder Fraud
  • UNDERPERFORMANCE/OVERPERFORMANCE
  • S&P 500's New All Time High Wednesday Will Probably Continue Over Upcoming Months, But Other Indexes Are Struggling
  • U.S. Stock valuations are within the top 10 valuations of all time but probably won't crash. Why?
  • Seven Steps To Digging Your Way Out Of Deep Debt
  • 5 Steps To Protect The Digital Assets You Own
  • The Long-Term Fiscal Status Of The United States
  • Margin Debt At Record Levels
  • What To Do When You're Suddenly Widowed
  • A Common Error In Powers Of Attorney
  • Should You Move To A Different State?
  • Tax Cost Of Being Your Own Landlord
  • Why Do GRATs Remain In Such High Demand?
  • Don't Wait To Harvest Your Losses
  • The Best States To Move To For Tax Purposes
  • 10 Reasons For The IRS To Flag Your Return
  • Many Women Face Special Challenges As Retirement Nears
  • Nine Reasons To Consolidate Debt
  • Straight Talk About Living Trusts
  • SEPPs From An IRA: Don't Change Horses Midstream
  • New Regulations Fill In Gaps On 3.8% Surtax
  • Do You Know Life Insurance Basics?
  • Top Income-Earners Drive U.S. Economic Growth
  • Give IRA Cash To Charity: Heads You Win, Tails You Win
  • Four Wash Sale Strategies To Help Clean Up Taxes
  • College Savings: How Much Do You Need Each Month?
  • Surprising New Research: Large Caps Top Small Caps
  • Newly Widowed Face 401(k), IRA Options
  • Retirement Saving Takes Time And Must Be A Priority
  • Divide-Conquer To Convert To Roth IRA
  • What Is Probate And What Does It Protect?
  • A Research Surprise On Bond Funds
  • After New Tax Law, Do You Still Need A Bypass Trust?
  • Start Estate Planning For Your Child Now
  • Seven Tax Ideas To Use Throughout The Year
  • A Comprehensive Way To Plan For College Savings
  • Bulletproofing Your Will Before Death
  • IRS Mercy on 60-Day IRA Rollover Error
  • Feds Warn Of Life Settlement Dangers
  • Know The Tax Rules On Charitable Gift Deductions
  • IRS Ruling Boosts IDTs as Estate Planning Technique
  • A Defined Benefit Plan Lets You Sock Away Large Amounts If You Can Overcome Some Obstacles
  • Economic Shifts Bring New Pitfalls And Prizes
  • Evaluating Great Companies
  • Inflation Versus Deflation
  • Jeremy Grantham And Lou Stanasolovich Discuss Market Valuations
  • Ramifications Of A Weakening Dollar
  • Secular Versus Cyclical Bear Markets
  • Small Business And Work Opportunity Tax Act
  • Time To Plan For Estates, Wills, & Trusts



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