Financial Preparations for College Grads

Financial Preparations for College Grads

If you’re preparing to graduate from college, you’re likely focused on getting your postgrads plans in place and updating important documents like your resume and cover letter. While you’re getting ready for life after graduation, don’t forget to take some time to get your finances in order, too. We’ve compiled a few things to consider below.

Set Money Milestones

If this is the first time you’ll be managing money on your own, it can feel overwhelming to figure it all out at once. To help yourself stay focused, set small, achievable goals for your finances.

Milestones to consider could include things like opting into your employer’s retirement plan as soon as you begin working or establishing an emergency fund and setting up a direct transfer of money into it when you get your first paycheck.

Get on Board with Budgeting

The word “budget” gets a bad rap. We often compare it to a diet. While dieting makes people think of giving up their favorite treats, the true definition of diet is simply what you eat. Similarly, the idea of following a budget isn’t meant to be restrictive – it’s to have a handle on where your money comes from and where it goes.

Changing your mentality about budgeting can help you feel motivated to get on board with the idea. Set aside a money date with yourself every month to go through your income, expenses, savings, and what adjustments you may need to make.

Face Student Loans Head On

Student loans can seem like a daunting topic, but they don’t have to be. Approach your loan repayment head on to avoid running into surprises down the road. While it’s simplified in some respects, there are ultimately three steps you need to take to start tackling your student loans: know what you owe, make yourself aware of repayment terms, and make a plan.

Don’t Wait Until You Earn “Enough” to Save for the Future

Whether it’s retiring or investing, one thing is true – the sooner you start, the more opportunity you have to earn. Because of compound interest, setting money aside in retirement or investment accounts from an early stage (even if you don’t have a lot of extra cash to contribute) can work in your favor in the long run. To determine what options are best for you, meet with a trusted financial advisor early on to get your questions answered and set goals.

Check Your Credit (Spoiler Alert: Everyone Else Will)

Whether it’s a potential employer, a possible landlord, or even your car insurance company, there are plenty of people who’ll be checking your credit. For this reason, among others, it’s important that you keep a pulse on your credit, as well.

Your credit is one important indicator of your financial health and can also help you detect fraud or illegitimate activity on your accounts. Typically, you can access your credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. Be sure to use, as it’s the only website authorized by the government to provide you with this information. Your credit score is also a number worth monitoring. PSECU offers our members free monthly access to their credit score*.

Choose a Financial Institution that Works for You

There are plenty of financial institutions to choose from, so make sure you’re making the best choice for you and your finances. Look for an option that’ll give you the access you need, control you want, and rewards you deserve, like PSECU. We offer countless benefits to college students now and after graduation.

For more information on navigating finances as a recent grad, visit our blog.


*PSECU is not a credit reporting agency. Members must have PSECU checking or a PSECU loan to be eligible for this service. Joint owners are not eligible.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.