Good Morning Green Panda Readers.  Some of us may be about to experience a major milestone is our lives, in a few weeks some of us are going to be graduating from college.  After college our professional and financial lives truly begin.

After graduation we may be forced to find a job, manage our income, pay off our debt, and start saving for our retirement for the first time.  Being out of school and in the work force full time definitely comes with both some personal and financial freedom.  Our individual life really truly begins after graduation because we are suddenly not living on a class schedule and we now have the freedom to do what we want when we want.  However, if we are not careful we could end up making devastating mistakes that could end up costing us for a very long time.

Use these helpful tips to start your financial life off on the right foot after graduation:

– Find a Stable Income.  The main reason why students go to college is to become educated and find a job in their field of study.  As soon as we graduate from college (or even during our last semester) we should start applying for full time jobs in our field of study.  Recent graduate students should not expect to find a job at the top of their profession, but even an entry level position helps us gain work experience in our field and with our employer.

– Budget Your Money Carefully.  After college graduation we may be forced to actively manage our budget for the first time; this includes paying our bills on time, repaying our debts on time and making sure that we have enough money each month to pay for our living necessities. Paying our rent, buying our groceries, and personal entertainment expenses are all factors that we have to include in our monthly budget planning.

– Save Regularly. As soon as we have a regular income we should also start saving regularly.  We may be tempted to spend all of our money because we are excited to have our new found stable income, but we have to get in the habit of saving money on a regular basis with each pay check. Saving for the short term in a High Interest Savings Account or in Fixed Income Investments (Bonds etc.) are both great ways to establish good savings habits at a young age.

– Invest for the Long Term.   We have to make sure that we budget in some money for long term investing when we are planning our monthly expenses.  Saving for a down payment on our first home or saving for retirement are very common long term investment goals. The advantage of investing for the long term is that we only have to save a little bit each month (or with each pay check) because a little bit of savings can add up to a lot of money over the long term.  We can also take some more risk with our investment options when we are investing for the long term. Try investing in a Balanced Fund or an Equity Fund for your long term investing.

Photo by AntoGros