As college graduates get set to enter the so-called real world, CPA David Young offered up five financial lessons to serve as a productive guide Monday during News 8 at Sunrise.
Lesson number one is Plan to Save. “The first thing you’re going want to do is work on a budget,” said Young. “Once you get out of school, you’re going to have a little bit of time before that student loan kicks in. Take that into account in your budget. And now you’re going to have rent, your budget for food, and hopefully some income coming in. First thing, get a budget and save some of that money. You want to have at least 3 ot 6 months savings saved up in a savings account.”
Lesson number two Money Spent is Money Lost. “Most likely you’re eligible to put money into the employer’s 401(k) or 403(b), and they will match you,” Young said. “So if you don’t put money in, they won’t match you, and that’s the money lost. And if you’re young, start early. Start saving because someday you will want to retire!”
Lesson number three is Control Debt. “This is essential,” said Young. “You can get buried in debt and you can get into a hole you’ll never get out. Student loans are already a big debt. So maybe the first thing you do is you don’t need to be getting that big expensive car. Maybe a smaller car. get that debt under control, or else you’ll never get out of that hole.”
Lesson number four is Be a Good Credit Risk. “Your credit rating drives all of your other expenses,” noted Young. “It’s going to drive how much you can get a loan for, etcetera. So you want to make sure, the first thing you do out of the gate, is get your credit report. You may have never seen it before. So let’s get that so you have an idea where you stand. And that’s going to take into account all your other debts. So that’s why your should get your debt under control. Get a good credit rating.”
Lesson number five is Face Facts: Insurance. “When you graduate, you may not be on your parents plan any more,” Young observed. “You have to double check that. You need to get a renters policy if you’re going to live in an apartment so all your stuff is insured. Make sure you have auto insurance. Make sure you have all your insurance in place before you get a nasty surprise down the road.”
Young added consider disability and life insurance as well.
For more Smart Money Advice from the New York State Society of CPAs, visit nysscpa.org/getmoneysmart.