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Personal Finance Tips for 2012 Graduates

by on May 30, 2012

By Samantha Savory

Unfortunately, out of all the courses that high school students are required to take, none of them cover basic personal financial management skills – a much needed fundamental necessary to being successful in this thing we call life. Many young adults spend their money  without even thinking twice. Most 18-year-olds don’t even know to take the time to sit down to budget and plan for the future.  If you are just graduating high school and are ready to head off to college, there are some key personal finance tips the PowerWallet team would like to share with you so you can get through college without landing yourself in a bad financial situation four years down the road.

1. Work while you go to school – Instead of borrowing additional student loan money to help pay for miscellaneous unneeded purchases, get a part-time job while in college. Although borrowing an extra $2,000 for a semester may not seem like a lot of money, add on interest over several years, and you could end up paying back several hundred dollars on top of the original loan amount. If it’s not an absolute must, don’t get yourself further into debt.

2. Always plan ahead – With PowerWallet, a free money management tool, you can easily monitor, plan and budget from one secure location.  Stay on top of your bills and set spending limits so you don’t find yourself living outside of your means.  PowerWallet can help you gain discipline in your spending habits and will give you a clear and real-time picture of your personal finances.

3. Know your student loan terms – If you are using student loans as a primary means for paying your way through college, there is nothing wrong with that. Federal student loans are available to help people pay for college who otherwise would not have the funds to do so.  I personally believe using student loans to get an education and learn a skill set that will achieve you a successful career in the long-run is fine, but only borrow what you truly need and most importantly, understand the contracts that you are getting into. It is imperative to know the interest rates you are being charged and how and when that interest will accumulate.  Learn the difference between an unsubsidized loan and a subsidized loan and how it will affect your repayment plan. Become familiar with Federal Student Aid website and the different types of loan options.

4. Stay in the know – New laws and regulations are always coming out regarding the credit and financial industry – and usually, they will have direct impact on your personal finances.  Make sure to check out the personal finance section of the Wall Street Journal or CNN and continue to learn something new and stay in the know.

 Reading and learning are two basic skills that could save you money and stress from financial headaches – make sure to follow these rules in an effort to financially prosperous. Also make sure to visit and start taking power over your finances today!

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