This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

8 Money Moves For New Graduates

Assuming adult financial responsibilities may be one of the toughest tasks you face after college graduation. But if you approach the challenge in a logical and organized manner, it doesn't have to be as daunting as it sounds.

To help you get started, here are eight critical financial moves you should make soon after graduation.

1. Study the job market

You probably looked for your first post-graduate job either near where you went to school or near where you grew up. That's fine, but now that you are free to go anywhere to choose, you should make yourself aware of what opportunities are available elsewhere.

Location makes a big difference in the job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, state-wide unemployment recently ranged from a low of 3.3 percent to a high of 9.7 percent. Mean wages by state range from a low of $34,770 to a high of $54,740. Don't settle into your career until you are fully aware of all your options.

2. Update your checking account

Some banks have special terms that allow students free checking. Now that you no longer qualify for those terms, you should look for an account that will continue to give you free checking. Free checking accounts are in the minority, but they do exist, and they are more likely to be found at online banks than at traditional banks, according to recent research.

3. Open a savings account

For many students, banking is strictly a flow-through arrangement: Money goes into the account, but it soon goes out again to pay for tuition, expenses or fun stuff. Now that you're a graduate, you need to start accumulating money, and that means you should open a savings account.

Don't necessarily settle for the bank where you have your checking account. Savings account rates vary greatly from one bank to the next, and with the national average now down to 0.07 percent, it is very important to do better than average.

4. Check your student loan payment schedule

Most student loans have a grace period before you have to start making payments. This grace period is often six months after graduation, but not all student loans have a grace period and not all grace periods are the same. Check your student loan terms to see when you will have to start making payments, so you won't be caught short when the time comes. If you have multiple student loans, don't assume that the grace period is the same for all of them.

5. Upgrade your student credit cards

Some credit card companies have special offers that help students get a card with little or no credit history, but that usually means accepting a higher interest rate. If you've established the beginnings of a good credit history by consistently making your payments on time, and you now have a steady income, you may be eligible for a lower interest rate via a non-student credit card.

6. Build an emergency fund

One of the first rules of managing household finances is to expect the unexpected. You can prepare for the unexpected by building up an emergency fund. This can help you through problems like car trouble or losing your job. You might start slowly, but if you put a little of each paycheck into your emergency fund, it will build steadily while helping you develop one of the most important financial skills: the ability to save money.

7. Start saving for retirement

If your employer sponsors a retirement fund, start participating in it right away, even if you can only afford small contributions at first. Retirement may seem like a long time away, but the longer your money is in a retirement plan, the more it can earn though investment. That means that your earliest contributions have the potential to earn more of a return than the money you'll put into the plan in later years.

8. Create a household budget

Managing all of the above, plus taking care of the essentials such as food, clothing, and shelter, requires planning. To make this work you need a budget to determine where your money will go, and to make sure there is enough to meet all your needs. Just make sure your budget creates room for saving as well as spending.

Once you get past these transitional tasks, managing your household finances can become more routine. As a college graduate, you should be well prepared for the challenge. After all, a major purpose of college is to teach you how to learn, and when it comes to financial matters, you should never stop learning.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%
YHOO $36.60 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs