How to Achieve Financial Success after College

Achieving financial success after college requires surmounting hurdles unique to that time of your life. Learn how to get your financial future off on the right foot.

Instructions

  • TIP: If your company does not offer a 401(k) plan, consider staring an individual IRA or other retirement fund.
  • Step 1: Set goals, both long- and short-term. They will help you to measure your achievements. And don't forget to break out the champagne when you reach those goals.
  • FACT: In 2008, _Forbes_ magazine reported that computer engineering was the most lucrative college major.
  • Step 2: Begin saving for retirement. Sign up for your company's 401(k) plan. Use automatic deductions to make it easier to put money aside. Because of the compound interest 401(k)s earn, people who start saving for their retirement in their 20s are miles ahead
  • Step 3: Consider whether you can live without a car. The downsides of owning an automobile are the costs of the car, insurance, and car repairs. Check for alternative options like public transportation where you decide to live.
  • Step 4: Begin paying off your student loans. You'll be required to pay a minimum balance every month. If at all possible, pay more than the minimum so the loans will get paid off faster.
  • Step 5: Pay the full balance of your credit card every month. If you can't afford a purchase, don't make it. With annual interest rates reaching 18%, it's possible to end up paying for purchases made today over the next 30 years -- with enormous amounts of interest.
  • Step 6: Consider your housing options. If you have to rent, try to find a roommate to share expenses. And there's no shame in moving back in with your parents for a while, as long as you both lay down some simple ground rules, and you have a timeline in place for when you'll be ready to move back out.
  • Step 7: Account for your finances carefully. List your debts and any income you expect to receive. Look for ways to keep the former less than the latter.

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