Personal Finance Tips for Recent College Graduates

Personal Finance Tips for Recent College Graduates

Canadian post-secondary students are both optimistic and pragmatic when it comes to their prospects in the workforce. According to the D+H Student Index, four in five future grads feel positive about job prospects in their field. And today’s students aren’t all about making a big salary – they also want to learn. Sixty-two per cent of students say “learning opportunities” are the best perks a company can offer, slightly edging out “a high salary.”

This is all goodnews for Ralph DeJong, a VP with D+H Canada.

“The fact that students value the opportunity to learn and develop new skills more than a high salary shows this age group is making choices today that they think will help set them up for success in the future,” says DeJong.

Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, shares the enthusiasm.

“This is a great trend; it shows that the next generation has a good head on its shoulders,” says Schwartz. “The key will be maintaining that mindset and promoting it through the rest their life, including their finances.”

With a new batch of students about to enter their final year of post-secondary studies, Consolidated Credit offers the following personal finance tips for recent college graduates to help them stay the course toward professional and financial prosperity:

  • Work hard, save hard – Recent graduates are in a uniquely independent position in life. Often, they don’t have to provide for a family, and they haven’t yet entered into a mortgage. This is an opportunity to take on jobs that might be less-than-ideal for a family man: head “up north”, or move “out west”, or work overtime and maximize your earnings before you settle down.
  • Avoid debt – Many new gradshave some level of student debt. In order to stay ahead of student loan payments, it’s important to avoid other forms of debt. Fresh out of school, you don’t need a large gas-guzzling vehicle or a big place to live. Don’t pile unnecessary bills onto your existing student loan – pay it down while you can still live on the cheap.
  • Get experienced – The D+H Student Index shows that students value learning opportunities, and they are wise to do so. An entry level position will offer awealth of knowledge that will set the stage for promotions and higher income. You might need to start with a less-than-ideal salary, but it beats going further into debt while waiting for theperfect opportunity.
  • Goals, goals, goals – Stay on track by setting financial and professional goals. The D+H survey showed that the majority (57 per cent) of students expected to eliminate their student debt within five years. Make that a firm goal and boil it down to monthly payments to help you achieve it. Professional goals can help propel your career by setting targets like promotions or bonuses; having something to strive for can be extremely motivating.

“Positivity and prudence are incredible tools when starting out a career,” says Schwartz. “Combining that with careful planning and wise spending will help put the theories into practice.”

If you want to learn more about making responsible financial decisions, check out Consolidated Credit’s free Personal Finance educational section. If you’re struggling with debt, call one of our trained counsellorstoday at for a free debt analysis.

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