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Tips for Surviving the Post-College World on 5/24/2012

For recent college graduates these are exciting and challenging times. No more days and nights studying for exams and applying for scholarships. Now it’s time for job hunting and paying student loans.

Here are some ideas for making the most of your post-college transition time:

  • Maximize your job search. Start hunting for jobs at your school’s career center. They have a vested interest in finding jobs for their graduates, and at most schools the service is free for students and recent grads. Treat your job search like a full-time job, and don’t get bogged down looking for the perfect job to fit your major. Expand your options and look into related jobs and fields as well.
  • Consolidate your student loans. If you have multiple federal loans, look into consolidating them through the government. You can also look into the income based repayment program. Consolidating private student loans is also an option; you may qualify for a lower rate, saving you money. Check out SLFCU’s student loan consolidation program.
  • Manage your debts. Graduates can end up with a variety of loans, including federal and private student loans, credit cards, and auto loans. One technique is to focus your payments: Make the minimum payments on all of your loans except the one with the highest interest rate. Put all of the extra money you can into that loan until it’s paid off, then move down the line. Getting rid of the high-interest loans first can save you money in the long run.
  • Make a new budget. It's time to revisit your budget or make one for the first time. Whether you're still looking for employment or have started a new job, having a budget will help you make the most of your money.
  • Start thinking about the future. Retirement might seem far away, but every financial advisor will tell you that starting early is the key to building a large nest egg. Make compound interest work for you by starting to save now. Even a few dollars a month can make a big difference over the long term. Contribute to a company 401(k), or open an IRA of your own.
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