You may be wrapping up a long college career, but your days of learning are far from over. As you begin to enter the real world, the workforce, and adulthood, here are some things you should know post-grad.
1. Grace Periods
A grace period is a set amount of time after a due date where a creditor may receive payment without penalty.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of when your student loan and other payments are due and to know whether a creditor offers a grace period. In fact, some students might not even know that grace periods exist in the first place but they can come in handy post-graduation. They give you time to get used to your new pay schedule and help buy you some time if you’re in a financial bind or need a few extra days to rustle up the cash for your next payment.
If you want to manage and keep track of your finances, you may want to open up a checking and savings account if you haven’t already. For convenience, go mobile with your bank account to compliment your new and busy lifestyle. Opting to manage your savings online rather than going with a traditional banking option might have some perks. No hidden fees, getting paid early and the ability to set up auto payments for your bills are a few of the great perks that may be available in the online banking realm.
3. Put Together a Budget
You may have been keeping a pretty tight budget during your college career, but there’s a good chance that your new budget may get even more crowded once you add your student loans and other debts into the mix. Creating a budget plan may help you live within your new economic boundaries and hold you accountable. If you need some help managing your finances, you might want to check out one of these personal finance apps to help you along the way.
When creating your budget, be honest and realistic about each item. Try and minimize your spending on entertainment and unnecessary impulse buys as much as possible. If you can live at home post-grad, you likely won’t have to worry about rent payments eating up a large chunk of your budget, which might help you get ahead financially.
As exciting as it is to get that first job offer fresh out of school, it’s important that you take a close look at the benefits package you’re being offered. You should understand the benefits being offered and know how to get the most out of them. For example, a 401(k) is a retirement savings plan which you can contribute a portion of your pre-tax earnings into. You may also be able to borrow against the value of a 401(k) plan. If you come across some financial hardship, you may be able to withdraw funds before retirement. But keep in mind that there will most likely be a penalty payment applied toward this withdrawal. It may be a good idea to participate in this option if your employer or potential employer offers it.
Also, consider asking your employer if they offer any stock options. They may give you stock options as a part of your compensation which may allow you to buy company stock at a discounted price. This may be laid out in your benefits package already or it might be something that’s in the works.
Investing early and often will benefit you tremendously in the long run.
5. Networking Is Important
Whether you’re moving to a new city or staying in your hometown, networking is going to be an important part of the process as you continue to build your professional network.
Go to social and professional networking events, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Always have your business cards and resumes handy. Get names of individuals you've connected with and add them your network on LinkedIn. Just remember to follow up and remind them how you met.
6. You May Not Get the Job of Your Dreams
As much as you may have the perfect picture in your head of the exact job you’re looking to land, don’t worry if things don’t go exactly to plan right out of the gate. As we’ve already mentioned, building a channel of networks and connecting with people in your field of interest or at companies you want to work for may help you get your foot in the door. Even if you have to settle for a role that isn’t exactly what you’re looking for initially, make sure you work hard, get acknowledged for your good work, and stay diligent.
Keep applying for that dream job, find ways to you’ll need, and prepare yourself for job interviews.
7. Mentors are Great
Finding a mentor after college may be one of the best decisions you can make for personal growth and valuable guidance. Finding someone you trust and who is experienced in your field can be a huge boost when you’re applying for jobs or internships. Schedule regular meetups that give you a chance to ask questions and build a connection.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Celebrate
Getting through years of late-night study sessions, long hours of class, and a ton of hard work is no easy feat, so you’ve earned yourself a celebration! After you walk the stage at graduation, you may want to plan a if you have the money for it. You deserve it!
As you begin to establish your career, try to schedule some time throughout the year to take a break and reset your mind. You may be surprised by how rejuvenated you feel after a well-earned vacation.
9. Setting Goals is Important
After accomplishing a big milestone like graduating college, it’s time to set some goals for the next stage in your life. Keep the upward momentum going by figuring out some long and short-term goals for yourself. Vision boards are a great way to help you map out your plans and visualize the goals you’ve set for yourself. Whatever method you feel most comfortable with, try to keep things consistent and keep working towards your ultimate goals.
Remind yourself daily of the things you want to accomplish and don’t start to panic if everything doesn't pan out as planned right away. Positive progression takes time and patience.
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