Your Post-Graduation Financial Plan
Knowing where you are financially is always important, and more so during big changes in your life. Graduation is one of those times. When you graduate, many things change, including the role money plays in your life. While going to college, your focus was on your education; being out of college, one of your primary goals should be to put together a financial plan and start paying off your student loans.
Your first step in putting together a financial plan is to find out where you stand now. You will want to find out your net worth, which is probably negative. Include all of your bills, loans and the amounts you have to pay monthly for each. Also list any income you have, from a job or other sources.
Once you have a picture of where you are now, the next step is to determine where you want to be. Don’t plan out a full year-by-year plan towards your retirement, but make some realistic guess as to where you want to be in one or two years. This will give you something to work towards. Make your goal simple, such as saving enough money for a down payment on a house or paying off a certain amount of debt.
With your current financial analysis and your goals, you can put together a monthly plan for how much money you will need to allocate towards different expenditures. If your goal is to save money for a down payment, you might consider putting more money into a savings account instead of accelerating your loan repayments. Having a simple plan will make sure that you are not impulsively spending money, but instead are actively working on your financial future.
If you are new at your job, many employers have outside advisers that can sit down with you and help you even more with your plan. Ask your HR department if your company offers such a service. If not, you can find a local financial planner and buy several hours of his or her time to go over your plan with you and make sure that you’re on the right track.
Putting together your financial plan is one of the most important pieces of paper you can produce, and it will go beyond just giving you a grade, and possibly secure your financial future.
Monday, June 23rd, 2008 at 7:17 am