How to plan your finances for post-graduation life


Mackenzie Smith, Guest Columnist

As amazing as college is, I know there are definitely some of you that can’t wait for the day you are officially done, diploma in hand. It’s what you worked so hard for, but life after graduation can seem scary and stressful. With the right planning ahead of time, you can at least worry about one less thing– money.


Student Loans


You have a full six months before you need to start making payments on most student loans. Follow up and check with your lender for both federal and private loans, as depending on the loan you have, it could differ. However, if you do have a grace period, work it to your advantage to get your feet under you instead of splurging your increase in pay every other Friday.


Lifestyle Creep


Speaking of splurging, an increase in pay does not have to mean an increase in spending. I would recommend for those of you living off of ramen to maybe use some of it to improve your diet to include more nutritious options, but you don’t need to suddenly buy a brand new car or start renting a five-bedroom house by yourself just because you can. Spending your money to purposefully improve your quality of life and put extra towards your savings or investing goals can give you peace of mind that will be very worth it.


Emergency Fund


You may have more bills and expenses now that you are officially out on your own. You may have a hard time finding a job right away, or you may work for a company that lets you go during the probation period as they hit budget issues. We aren’t trying to jinx anything here, but pretending life is all butterflies and roses isn’t the smartest plan of action. Your emergency fund is, to put it very briefly, a savings account you can access immediately in case of an emergency with roughly three months worth of expenses. This is the buffer between you and a bad time so that in the event something bad does come along, you can roll with the punches and have time to get back on your feet.


Retirement Planning


Even though retirement may seem like a long way off, investing now will have a huge payoff in the future. Take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans, especially plans that the company offers to match, such as 401(k)s. Investing a small amount of your paycheck (1-6%) will add up to financial security during retirement.