New grad? Here’s 6 ways to kick start your financial journey
Contributed article by : Beverly Wilks – Financial Education Advocate and Blogger at Bacon & Heels
Congratulations to the Class of 2023! As you graduate and head out into the full-time working world, you will also begin your financial journey. Over the next few weeks and months, you will start to make a variety of financial decisions such as renting an apartment to purchasing a new car to opening retirement and bank accounts.
If you have school loans, now is the perfect time to create a plan to repay this loan while on your path to financial success.
Below are 6 personal finance tips that can help you learn to manage your money and set you up on a path towards financial success.
Create a Spending Plan: Start by tracking all income and expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, transport and loan payments. The use the tracker to see how much you an allocate a portion of your income for savings and prioritize paying of any and all high-interest debt – this is the 20/50/20/10 approach to managing your money.
Build an Emergency Fund: Establishing an emergency fund is crucial for financial stability. Aim to save three to six months' worth of living expenses. This can be done by setting up automatic transfers to a separate High Yield Savings Account (HYSA), so you can consistently contribute to your emergency fund.
Minimize Debt: If you have student loans or other debts, develop a plan to repay them efficiently. Consider creating a debt repayment strategy, such as the snowball or avalanche method, to tackle your debts systematically. By making consistent debt payments, on time, and avoid accumulating new debt whenever possible. By managing and paying your debt consistently, you will build your credit profile.
Manage Your Credit: Your credit score, spending plan skills and retirement savings will all play a role when (and whether) you can achieve certain financial milestones, like putting a down payment on a house or fully paying off your student debt.
Start to Save for Retirement: It's never too early to start saving for retirement. If your employer offers a retirement savings plan, such as a RRSP, 401(k) or a pension, take advantage of it. Contribute enough to receive the full employer match if available. If your employer doesn't offer a retirement plan, consider opening a TFSA or an IRA and contribute regularly.
Connect with a financial professional: Consider consulting with a financial advisor or planner who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific financial situation and goals. They can help you create a comprehensive financial plan and provide insights on investments, retirement planning, and tax optimization.
The Bottom Line
As a new grad you will find yourself navigating new financial responsibilities. You may feel a bit scared about managing your money, but as you continue to grow in life and in your career, it’s essential to get a handle on your money.
I’ll leave you with two pieces of advice:
Yes, it’s important to save for a rainy day, build your retirement portfolio and ditch debt, so be sure to strike a balance and plan to include fun in your spending plan - life is for living!
Each individual’s financial journey is unique, so do not compare yourself to others, follow your own path
The decisions you make now will certainly shape your financial future, so starting to save, build up an emergency fund and start to pay back student loans soon as you graduate; by doing this you’ll kick off your adult life on strong financial footing.
To learn more about Beverly and Bacon & Heels, read the "Power 5" interview that we did with her in September 2021 - you can read the full blog post HERE.
Thank you for your contribution Beverly!