Personal Finance Tips and Advice for Recent College Graduates

What is one of the best parts about graduating from college?

Morningstar columnists and experts are here to tell you what they wish they had done when they graduated. Here are his knowledge, personal finance tips, and more for college graduates.

Money Saving Tip: Save When You Can, Where You Can

“When you’re just starting out, saving for retirement seems depressingly abstract. It’s incredibly difficult to prioritize it over other financial goals like buying your first home or taking a big trip. So here’s some advice: It’s worth it to start saving for retirement as early as possible, as well as set and meet some short-term financial goals.Achieving small financial wins can help you buy into the value of savings that way. That saving for retirement — a distant, intangible goal — may not help.”

,Christine Benzdirector of personal finance and retirement planning

“Whether your company offers a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, invest in it as soon as possible. By doing so, you are setting yourself up for investment success. How much you save and how much time you spend Save is a punch one-two winning approach to building wealth for retirement. And if your company matches some or all of your contributions, all the better!

“Invest your retirement plan contributions appropriately. Don’t let your contributions sit in a low-interest cash account because you don’t know where to invest them. If your company doesn’t let you default into the plan’s target-date vehicle Which is closest to your retirement date (which can be hard to think of, given that you’re just entering the workforce), put the money there yourself. As time goes on and you build your retirement kitty If you do, you may decide to diversify beyond the target-date option. . . but that’s the best place to start.”

,Susan Dzubinskydirector of materials

“Contribute to your 401(k) as soon as possible. Even if you think you can’t afford it. It doesn’t hurt as much if it comes out of your check before you see it.” !”

—Sylvia Hauser, senior copy editor

“I keep my retirement portfolio very simple. It is a widely diversified group of passively managed funds across major asset classes. Being consistent and not overly complex has given me peace of mind to know if I should be in good financial shape whenever I decide to retire.”

,Amy ArnottiCFA, Portfolio Strategist

Money Spending Tactic: Find Balance and Spend Wisely

“Listen to the calming voice inside. It’s easy to do, easier said than done, but one thing I wish I knew when I was younger was the clear trap of success—making more money, being a group of people at work.” Managing Groups – Won’t necessarily lead to more happiness. Don’t assume that every career ladder will be worth climbing. Ask yourself, “Will I dread this job on Sunday night, or wait for the week ahead?” -Sometimes there will be alignment – Remuneration work will be fun and worthwhile. But sometimes it will not. In favor of fun and meaningful.

“Your ‘time on earth allocation’ is more important than your financial allocation. There’s no shortage of information on how to manage your financial assets – how to set up asset allocation and choose investments, for example For- on But there’s less guidance on managing a more precious resource–our time on earth. Life moves so fast, so think about how to spend your hours and days The time pays to edit it brutally.”

—Christine Benz, director of personal finance and retirement planning

“Stuff is just stuff. Focus on experiences. When we first start earning, we all have the urge to buy whatever we can afford, and I certainly could afford to ( and sometimes more than that) I could spend. Many others on this thread say you should start saving early, and you should. But when it comes to spending, my advice would be spend intentionally. Even flea-infested people remember that. Pay attention to the experiences, the memories will last much longer than before with the latest AirPods.”

,ruth senior editor of

Personal Finance Tip: Advocate For Yourself

“Negotiate (within reason) for the best starting salary. Don’t lower them hoping to wow them and get a promotion later. All your subsequent salaries and bonuses are going to be anchored to your starting amount. Find out where your What the skills are worth, and don’t change yourself small.”

,Sarah Newcombbehavioral economist

“Network—I don’t mean in any artificial way. I mean, get out there, chat with people outside your department, learn as much as you can about other people in the company. Learn about the personalities of those departments.

“Of course, make your boss happy. Your boss is the most important person to your early career. But don’t put all your eggs in that one basket. Through your actions, make yourself as visible as possible to multiple decisions Make-creator. You want many important people to advocate for you, not just one.”

,john recenthalervice president of research

Financial Planning Tip: Establish Good Habits—Money and Otherwise

“Don’t let your credit card balance exceed a month’s net pay. Credit card debt will quietly choke your finances.”

,sylvester floodChief Content Strategist

“Remember that federally funded student loans are considered ‘good debt,’ and paying them off early is not necessarily your best financial move. You can consolidate your loans if you have a lower interest rate, and If your payments are manageable, you can take that loan for a long time without hurting your credit or your lifestyle. The rule of thumb here is that if your interest rate on student loans is around 6% or less, you probably It’s better to invest your extra cash instead of paying off debt faster.”

-Sarah Newcomb, behavioral economist

“Live below your means. It doesn’t sound like much fun. But given that many young graduates already carry student loan debt, don’t take on more debt by spending more than you can afford. Make sure you have That’s the income you need to cover your bills, set up an emergency fund, and start building a retirement kitty. And then treat yourself to those Lollapalooza tickets.”

—Susan Dzubinski, Director of Contents

“Get into the voting habit. Less than half of Americans aged 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 presidential election, a very low turnout overall. No matter how bad the system sounds, vote so you can effect change. Vote in local elections as well as national ones, and also during the midterm. Tell your elected officials about priorities like climate action or health care.”

,Leslie NortonEditorial Director, Sustainability

Career Advice: Be Flexible

“Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to choose a lifelong career when you’re in your 20s. My original plan when I started as a fund analyst at Morningstar at age 22 was to try things out for a few years and then Had to figure out. What to do next. I was lucky enough to end up in a great company that I’ve been with for my entire career, but I’ve also done a lot of different roles over the past 30 years. I also worked on Morningstar Left for a while to work as a financial advisor for another company. Experimenting with different roles has allowed me to discover strengths I never knew I had, for me I find the sweet spot between what’s important, and what I’m good at and how I can contribute. To empower investors.”

—Amy Arnott, CFA, Portfolio Strategist

“Look for the wide gap between opportunity and cost of living when you’re starting out. Don’t hesitate to go abroad for it. I graduated in the recession after the financial crisis with the goal of a career in journalism, and there were Very few opportunities in North America. I ended up in Hong Kong with a two hour trip, including a boat ride. What I did during that trip (food, work, podcasts) was under my control, my fare manageable , and the opportunities were world-class. After a few years, I was able to eliminate that commute, return home, and create the daily routine I wanted. If you’re interested in going abroad, consider undergraduate/postgraduate programs , especially if they come with scholarships. Sometimes you can live on campus, schools often help with the financial side and can get you started with an entry level job. Employers value international experience too, Which is a form of human capital and education and b benefits you for the rest of your life and career.”

,Andrew content editor for

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