Hi everyone! In one of my earlier posts linked here, I touched on life after college and the transition into the “real world”, but I thought I would dive into that topic a little deeper. Becoming an adult can be very overwhelming and scary at first, but it doesn’t have to be! The best way to tackle the adult world is to take the time to plan out your future and learn about your financial situation. The easiest way to do this is to follow the 7 steps I have included in this post!
1. Start planning your future
Figure out what you want your life to look like. What are your expectations? Where do you want to live? How many children do you want to have? If not children, how many dogs do you plan to have? While it is impossible to plan your exact future, having an idea of what you want your life to look like in the long run is important. Setting up a general plan of what you want your future to include and ideally look like will help you know what kind of financial situation you need to be in to accomplish that.
2. Establish financial goals
This includes creating short-term goals, all the way to long-term goals. Where do you see yourself financially in 1 year? What about 10 years? If you don’t have financial goals after college, you likely won’t ever know when you are sitting comfortably and it will be very difficult to build your bank account up to that point. Setting goals gives you something to work for and is so rewarding when you meet them! Once you have these goals, create a plan of action in order to achieve them. A tip to make sure you accomplish your goals: make sure they are realistic and achievable! Failure is no fun, so make sure to set goals that will push you, but are not impossible to achieve.
3. Know your credit score
To everyone reading this, knowing your credit score is so important! There will likely come a point in your life where you will want to buy a car or a house and the bank will run a credit check on you. Being an adult, you need to know if you have a poor credit score or not. If you do have a poor score, you must take action and look into ways to build your score back up.
4. Use credit cards wisely
I have touched on credit cards in a previous post linked here, but I am going over it again because it is that important. You need to understand that a credit card is not free money, and if you still have that mindset you should not have one. A credit card is not meant for every day purchases and whatever you do decide to purchase should be something you can afford to pay back once your statement is due. If you use your credit card responsibly, your financial situation can be improved greatly.
5. Create a monthly budget
Creating a monthly budget will assure that you aren’t going crazy with your spending. The best way to do this is to separate your wants from your needs. Many people think they need cable, but I promise you will survive without it. Needs include rent, insurance, food, utilities, etc. If you are tight on money, yet paying for a tanning or gym membership, you should probably think about cancelling those and saving as much as you can.
6. Build up your savings account
Speaking of saving… now that you are in the real world, only having $100 in your bank account won’t fly. It is time to be mature and become financially independent. Now that you are out of college, you shouldn’t be calling your parents every week asking them to transfer money into your account. If you are doing this, you definitely shouldn’t be making daily trips to Starbucks either. Remember, Starbucks is a want, not a need (though I'm sure some of you would beg to differ).
7. Take control of your student loans
This is extremely important if you still have student loans. Get in contact with your loan officer and start building a plan to pay back your loans. The simple step of figuring out how much you owe after college can be terrifying, resulting in many graduates simply pushing the thought under the rug and ignoring the fact that they owe money. Not taking control of your student loans can send you into a whirlwind of financial trouble, negatively effecting your credit score and even your personal life. Many people don’t realize that if you get super behind in paying off your loans, the government can garnish your paychecks and bank accounts to get back the money you owe. So, make sure to stay on their good side and take care of those loans!
Leaving the college world can be very intimidating, but following these seven steps will help you get started on the right foot, making your adult life a lot less stressful! Becoming an adult is a huge step in the next stage of life, one that should be exciting and enjoyable. Just make sure you are taking care of your financial life too!
I'm curious, what was the hardest part for you when transitioning into the adult world and how did you overcome that? Let me know in the comments section below!
xo, Heather Marie