Financial Advice for Graduates

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This time of year is special for high school and college seniors all across the country. As they graduate, they take the next step in their lives, whether that’s heading to college or starting a job and moving into the real world.

With each of these new beginnings come new responsibilities, especially when it comes to money. Going to college and moving out after college both increase independence of graduates, meaning less reliance on mom and dad. However, this doesn’t mean things have to be scary.

Putnam Bank has identified five financial essentials that are important for high school and college grads to learn. By creating good financial habits now, they are more likely to be financially responsible throughout their lives.

  1. Get in the habit of budgeting- using a budget allows you to have an overview of all the money coming in and going out. It can also help you create short and long-term savings goals and make better financial decisions.
  2. Make saving money a priority- life happens, and when it does, it’s good to have money you can fall back on just in case. You may have to start out small, but creating a good savings habit is all about consistency, no matter the amount you are saving.
  3. Use credit cards responsibly- there is no such thing as “free money.” Every cent you spend with credit cards must be paid back within a certain period of time or it starts to rack up interest as well. A good strategy is to co-sign a credit card with your parents and use it only for one specific cost, such as gas. Since you already pay for your gas anyway, you can use your credit card at the pump, then pay off the balance online. Just be sure to pay the entire balance off on time every time to avoid interest charges and late fees.
  4. Take advantage of interest when you can- the longer you have money invested earning interest, the more it grows over time. Don’t be shy about looking for accounts to stash your money for long-term savings. And yes, we mean saving for retirement, because you can never start too early.
  5. Recognize that being frugal isn’t a bad thing- yes, your friends and advertisements may tell you that having the latest and greatest everything is the only way to live. However, life and college are about more than the stuff you own. Learn to differentiate between a “want” and a “need.”

Independence is great, but it can be a little scary knowing you have to rely more on yourself to handle your finances. Following the above tips and using tools like Online Banking and Mobile Banking from Putnam Bank can definitely help.

If you or your graduate could use help managing your finances, call or stop by any Putnam Bank office today.

Putnam Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender