If this is your last semester at Kansas State University then there is no doubt that you are busier than ever. You are sending out résumés, preparing for interviews, applying for graduation, and finally purchasing your cap and gown! Everything you are doing now is exciting and your life is about to change dramatically as you transition from being a student to being a full-time employee. As you’re building your career and life outside of college there will be many financial decisions that you will need to make. Here is a list of a few things to consider as you prepare for graduation and beyond.
How are you going to manage your debt?
Many students will graduate with student loans that need to be paid off. The first step you will want to take as you get close to graduating is to find out who your loan servicers are and set up accounts with them. Your loan servicer is the company that hosts your loan and who you will be making payments to. After you have set up an account you will want to decide what kinds of payments you will want to make, such as standard or graduated. Powercat Financial Counseling has brought SALTmoney.org to Kansas State University students and alumni and this is a great interactive website to use to understand what your loan payments will be.
Do you know your credit score?
Your credit score is a number representing your creditworthiness based on past and current credit files. The range of credit scores is from 300 to 850 and new graduates need to be aware of the dangers of a poor credit score. Bad credit will make it hard to get an apartment, car loan and even a job. There are many ways to build your credit score, but one simple way is to make all payments on time and never miss a single payment. You can view your (unofficial) score for free anytime at www.creditkarma.com.
Do you have a budget?
Upon graduating college and obtaining a job you will start to have a lot more income, but also more expenses. It may be hard to begin managing your money and new expenses so it is a good idea to start sticking to a budget. A budget is not meant to have a negative connotation; it is simply a way to control your money instead of letting your money control you. If you would like to start forming a budget Powercat Financial Counseling has spending plan worksheets available online at www.k-state.edu/pfc/budgeting.
Will you start saving?
Hopefully when you graduate you will begin to have money available for savings, and your employer is likely to offer retirement plans such as 401(k)’s. If your company will offer to match your contributions to your 401(k) then you should take this opportunity, it’s basically free money! Another reason to think about saving as soon as you graduate is that interest on your savings grows exponentially so the sooner you start saving, the more you will have when it comes time to retire!
Are you insured?
Students used to be removed from their parent’s health care insurance immediately after graduation; however under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, parents may now keep their children on their insurance until age 26. This may be a relief to a few of you because it gives you a little more time to build up income before you must pay for your own insurance. As you graduate and accept a full time job you will want to assess your company’s health care plan and talk with your parents about whether or not you will stay under their plan for a little longer.
There are many other decisions that will need to be made around graduation time and countless other questions that you may have, but hopefully this list will help you get started thinking about your financial future! For further questions, please request an appointment at www.k-state.edu/pfc!
Wende Witthuhn Peer Counselor I Powercat Financial Counseling www.k-state.edu/pfc