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Financial Advice for Recent College Grads

May 28, 2021
Graduating from college is a major accomplishment that brings a lot of excitement paired with a healthy dose of reality. While it can feel overwhelming to navigate the “real world” and take the steps to manage your finances, Middlesex Savings Bank is here to provide recent college graduates with some helpful advice about paying off student loans, saving money and creating a simple budget to stick to.

Create a Plan to Pay Off Student Loans

The scary truth is that 65.7% of Americans over the age of 30 are still paying off their student loan debt. If you found it difficult to save money as a student, you might think this is inevitable for you too. Fortunately there are some tips for paying off student loans to prevent that from happening.

Even if you can only contribute a small amount of money right now, begin to pay what you can to keep your loan debt from growing. Consider all the times you’ve received money from family members on your birthday or a holiday. Instead of spending it, put that money toward your student loans. Since it’s not regular income, you may not depend on it as much, and it’s an easy way to begin paying down your debt.

Budgeting After College

It’s important to create a simple budget when you get a job and begin supporting yourself after college. When establishing a budget, consider all your monthly expenses, including rent, utilities, food and your commute. Be sure your net income can cover your expenses and any nice-to-haves while allowing you to contribute regularly to your savings.
Always remember to base your budget on your take-home pay rather than your salary, since this accounts for taxes and deductions and will give you a more realistic view of what you can spend.

Credit Score Matters

Your credit score is an important factor that demonstrates how likely you are to repay debt when being lent money. It’s used by lenders to determine the level of risk they’ll incur if they give you a loan and can also impact your ability to rent an apartment or buy a car. According to Experian, a “good” credit score is 670 or above. 

If you plan to borrow money for any reason, demonstrating that you have established a credit profile is a general requirement. Learn more about understanding your credit score.

To improve your credit, always pay your bills on time and try to pay them in full. If this is not possible, make sure to at least pay the minimum amount due each month. Try not to borrow or charge more than your budget can afford to pay off each month.

If you don’t have a credit card, another way to build credit is to apply for one to use on everyday purchases. By making the regular payments on schedule, you’ll notice a positive impact on your credit score in time.

Compare Bank Accounts

As a recent college grad, both a checking and a savings account are smart options to manage the money you access frequently as well as saving for the future.

1. Checking Account

A checking account allows you to both withdraw and deposit money and should serve as your regular spending account. Funds can be accessed through online and mobile banking, person-to-person (P2P) payment, checks, ATMs and at a local Middlesex Savings Bank branch. You will likely use direct deposit to have your paychecks funneled into your checking account and can also save simultaneously by putting a portion directly into a savings account. There are various types of checking accounts, which can come with no monthly fee, free online and mobile banking services for on-the-go money management, and no minimum balance requirements – like our Freedom Blue® Checking account. Explore and compare personal checking account options from Middlesex Savings Bank.

2. Savings Account

Savings accounts allow you to store your cash in a safe place while earning interest. They’re generally used to save money for a rainy day or unexpected expenses. There are several types of savings accounts with various benefits such as low minimum balance requirements, high yield interest rates, no monthly fees and some can even help secure a future retirement. Our team can help you select the right personal savings account for your goals.

3. Look for Special Promotions

When you’re ready to open an account, check for any available promotions or rewards. It’s important to keep a close eye on these ever-changing deposit and loan rates to lock in the best interest available to you.

If you're ready to open an account, our team of local community bankers is here to help guide you in the right direction. To get started, call our Information Center at 1-877-463-6287 or stop by one of our Massachusetts branches to speak with an experienced team member.

We have been helping our customers borrow, save, and plan for their future since 1835 and would be happy to help you reach your goals.

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by Middlesex Savings Bank