CPA David Young of the New York State Society of CPA’s said this year’s college graduates should begin their adult lives by making good financial decisions Monday during News 8 at Sunrise.
Young offered up five financial lessons for new graduates to deal with their personal finances.
His first lesson involved creating a plan to save. “You want to save, and to save, you should have a budget,” he said. “It’s a framework of all the money coming in and going out. You want to make sure, if you’re a new graduate, you’re accounting for your students loans. That’s going to be a new payment that you didn’t have to worry about while you were in college, and you want to save up an emergency fund. Maybe three-to-six months worth of expenses salted away to make sure you can weather any storm that my come your way.”
The second piece of advice is to understand money spent is money lost. “When you get that first job, one of the first things available to you will be a 401(k) or 403(b),” Young said. “Start saving early. The most powerful thing you have on your side is time. If you’re a new graduate, you have plenty of time to start saving, but the earlier you save, the more money you’ll have when you retire. The thing to think about is, most often your employer will match whatever you put in. If you put in some money, the employer will put in money. If you don’t put in money, you’ll lose that match. Save early!”
Young said control your debt. “This is crucial. The debt can bring you down. The first thing most graduates will have, will be that student loan debt. You have to account for that, but don’t compound that by getting a big, fancy car. Perhaps you can get away with a good, used, reliable car? Control you debt, because if you get into debt early, it’s often times hard to get out of that big hole.”
Along those lines, Young said be a good credit risk. “If you can control your debt, make your student loans on time, and get everything under control, you’re going to be a better credit risk, therefore you can get lower rates of interest if you go for a mortgage down the road.”
Young’s final piece of advice for this year’s college graduates is to be insured. “When you first get your job, one of the nice things that will be available to you is health insurance, and then you’re going to get other insurances,” he said. “First of all, for the health insurance, most often times the high-deductible plan works for a younger person because you’re not seeing the doctor as often. You’re going to put money into something called an “H-S-A,” which is a “Health Savings Account,” which is portable. It can go with you. Ultimately, that money can become your money down the road when you retire. It’s a nice pocket of money you’ll have for your medical needs. Don’t forget about renter’s insurance. Most often, new graduates will rent, but they think the landlords’ are covering everything inside their apartment. That’s not true. You want to get renter’s insurance to cover everything inside the apartment. You want to get auto insurance. You want to make sure all your insurance needs are being covered.
He added, that includes life insurance. “Getting life insurance is a lot less expensive when you’re younger. If you have a big student loan and your parents co-signed — God forbid something happens to you — your parents would be on the hook for that student loan. You want to make sure you have at least enough life insurance to cover that student debt.”
For more information on making good financial choices, visit the New York State Society of CPA’s website and check out their “Get Money Smart” section, click here.