It’s graduation time and you know what that means. It’s time to pull out those words of wisdom for recent graduates. Someone asked me not too long ago, what advice would I have liked to receive when I graduated from college.
Hmm, some really useful ones are:
- Never pass up an offer for ice cream
- Know that today’s “crisis” is tomorrow’s funny story
- Always accept an offer of free money
And where can you get free money legally? In your 401K or other type of workplace retirement plan.
Many companies will add money to your account if you put some in yourself. If you make no other decisions with your retirement account at your new job, at least make this one – contribute enough to get the company match – it’s free money waiting for you to take it.
When it comes to financial tips for new graduates, here’s my top 5:
- Plan: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re likely to end up there. Find a trustworthy advisor who can show you what the future looks like depending on your goals and savings habits. Some advisors have free or inexpensive programs for new graduates (see Symphony’s offer of a free financial plan for adult children of current clients).
- Contribute to your Retirement Plan: when you get your first job, contribute at least up to what the company matches to your retirement plan. For a Turbo Boost, contribute the maximum. Your retired self will be thanking you a few decades from now.
- Open a Roth IRA: It’s a great way to take advantage of the special tax-free growth and withdrawals in retirement this type of account offers. You don’t get to deduct the contribution from your income now like you can with a Traditional IRA but if you don’t need the deduction today, it’s a great way to put your money to work for the long term.
- Live on Less: Live on less than you make and save the difference. If you want financial independence early in life, live on half of what you make and save the rest!
- Give: Find a charity you believe in and give of your time (or money). You’ll grow your heart and network and have a lot of fun. You’ll be richer each time you get involved. A rich life well lived is what we’re all after and it doesn’t take a lot to achieve it when you’re generous.
Now for some ice cream – – –