Hi, my name is Janice and i have some information to share. Most new college graduates have little with which to start real life, no savings, and some debt. Here is my free financial advice to them.
STEP 1: Do enroll in the 401k at the earliest possible moment and make the maximum contribution. Some (most?) companies don't allow enrollment until you've worked there for a year. Mark your calendar.
STEP 2: You will need to immediately buy pots, pans, dishes, plates, utensils, work clothes, etc. Buy cheap for now. Don't run up much debt buying what you need. I didn't buy a TV until I had worked a few months. A TV is not a necessity.
STEP 3: Live far below your paycheck. What you don't spend is savings. Savings is money that can be invested, once you've built your emergency fund. It takes money to make money.
STEP 4: Don't invest a dollar until you can invest diversely. I saved $5000 (in addition to my emergency fund) before I bought my first stock. I bought ten all about the same time.
Now for the hard financial literacy truth: most college graduates have lived with their parents when their parents were middle-aged and past their poor years. Most new graduates will take a great decrease in standard of living at the start of their careers, if they want to pay off debt and build wealth via investment using savings. This is somewhat hard, but can be endured. A lot of real life includes doing what you don't want to do. Retirement may seem an eternity away to a new graduate, but life will seem to fly by. It will take about 30 years of strenuous saving to build the wealth to retire.
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Thanks for the financial advice for students! Since so few states offer financial literacy, any advice they are provided is better than nothing. At least make them start to think about money, saving, retirement, etc.