Starting Out On Your Own

What's next? If you're a recent grad, you've probably gotten that question a lot. Because starting out on your own can be a challenge, we've got a few tips to make "what's next" a little easier.

Financial Advice for Recent Grads

Graduating high school or college and starting out on your own can be an exciting — and sometimes scary — time. Here are a few ways you can achieve your goals — and make it on your own.

Make a Budget — And Stick to It

The secret to financial health is simple: spend less money than you make. But simple doesn't always mean easy. To help yourself along, as soon as you know what your income will be, make a budget you can live with. Don't forget to include money for your rent, utilities, groceries and payments on any debt you might have. And make sure to leave a little leftover for fun, so you'll be more likely to stick to it!

Build an Emergency Fund

Unexpected expenses are just a part of life, whether it's a car repair, a vet bill or a period of unemployment. It's best to prepare for these ahead of time by saving money each month. In general, you want to have 3-6 months of expenses saved up. But, you can build it slowly, so don't let the numbers intimidate you. To get started, consider opening a savings account where you can earn interest on your money, even if you don't have much to start with.

Start Saving Now

Think it's too early to think about retirement? There's really no better time than today to start saving for it. With many years of compound interest ahead, your retirement will grow exponentially by the time you're ready to retire. And if you wait, you may find yourself wishing you hadn't — to save the same amount in the end, you'll need to increase your savings a lot for every year you don't contribute. One of the best vehicles for you to save with is our Roth IRA, which can offer tremendous tax savings when you retire.

Manage Your Credit

Give yourself some credit and consider opening a credit card if you don't already have one. Using a credit card is a good way to build your credit history. Use it for small purchases, or even one or two big ones. Just be sure to pay it off in full each month. Compare our credit cards and see which one is right for you.

Don't Ignore Your Loans

Learn the details of your student loans now, so you can tackle them when repayment starts. Learn about different payment options and what to do if you have trouble affording them. If you have more than one loan, consider consolidating them to make payments easier.

Get Your Own Place

Rent may be your biggest expense each month, so really think about what kind of place you can afford. And don't forget about the cash you'll need up front for a security deposit or broker's fee. To save some money, consider getting a roommate or two. That will help lower your rent, and you'll have someone to split utilities with. If you're considering buying a house, congratulations! You can learn all about that process here: Buying a House.

Shop Around for a Car

Unless you live in a place with public transportation, you'll probably need a car to get to and from your job. Pick a reliable car that makes sense for your area's climate. Don't get distracted by flashy extras. And consider buying a pre-owned car — many dealerships will offer warranties on used cars and it can be a great way to save even more money. Look at our auto loans to find one that makes sense for you.

Top 5 Things You Should Know When Starting Out On Your Own

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