If you’ve earned a college degree, you know how difficult and time-consuming it can be to gain a higher-education. The obvious objective is to become educated in a variety of areas, both in your field of study and in general topics of interest. The second objective is often overlooked, and that is to learn how to effectively manage life on your own. When your education goals have finally been achieved, it’s time to move on to a life outside of college and that requires a new way of thinking and comes with a completely new set of responsibilities.
College graduates have similar concerns to the rest of us – a sluggish economy, stagnant job growth and wider worries about global financial issues. But post-graduates also have unique issues to deal with when moving on and entering into the real-world:
- Limited ‘real-world’ experience
- Unrealistic goals or expectations that are too high
- Conflict between further education and finding a job
Financial Advice for New College Graduates
Many graduates who walk across the stage over the next few weeks may not know where they’re headed next, but new habits will need to be established right away. Perhaps the biggest challenge for anyone striking out on their own is managing their personal finances. How well you handle your money will determine which opportunities are available – and which one’s are not. In order to purchase a new home, lease a new car and fulfill the financial needs of a growing family, a strong credit history will be required. In addition, the success of your chosen career is to a large extent, dependent on how well you manage your personal finances and demonstrate responsible money management.
With the enactment of the CARD Act, limits have been placed on anyone under the age of 21 who wants to obtain a credit card. If you can’t provide a sufficient level of income, a co-signer is required to open a credit card account. For some this was merely an inconvenience, but for many students it was the “stop” sign that prevented them from incurring thousands of dollars of debt – and at the same time – prevented them from building their credit. Less than fifty percent (49%) of college students currently have a credit card, a significant drop from the 84 percent of undergrads who had a card in 2008. Whether the CARD Act is responsible or not, an increasing number of students have navigated their way through college life without the use of a credit card.
Why Graduates Should Consider Plastic
Graduates who have been able to complete their education without needing to use a credit card are to be applauded. The idea of having available credit may seem like a temptation that will lead to debt trouble, but a responsible young adult with a university education should be wise and responsible enough to manage a credit card and there’s good reason they should do so. A credit card is the easiest way for young people to begin establishing a credit history – a necessity to ensure a mortgage and other types of loans. A credit card is also a helpful tool to have in case of emergency and for times when cash is unavailable for life’s necessities now that you’re on your own.
Credit Card Options for College Grads
If you’re one of the 51 percent of college graduates that has never carried a credit card, keep in mind that you’ll be STARTING FROM SCRATCH. Until you prove your creditworthiness, you’re likely to incur additional fees and higher interest rates than those with established track-records. Over time, with regular on-time payments, your terms will improve and you’ll eventually qualify for better offers. Until then, here is one good suggestion to help you get started:
Capital One® Cash Rewards for Newcomers
The Capital One® Cash Rewards for Newcomers is designed for anyone with a limited credit looking to build a solid credit profile. It’s an especially good choice for recent college graduates that have little or no credit history. Although it has a relatively high interest rate (24.9%), unlike many cards in this category, it includes NO ANNUAL FEE. In addition, you can earn 2% cash back on travel purchases and 1% on everything else. A good way to get moving in the right direction! More details…
Please keep in mind, if you were fortunate enough to establish some credit history during college, you’ll have a much wider selection of offers to choose from. Be sure to shop around and compare credit cards from a variety of different issuers. Consider offers with the lowest interest rates and try to avoid annual fees altogether. Rewards are an excellent PLUS.
YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE IS NOW!
Now that you’re on your own… IT’S TIME TO BUCKLE UP. Good financial management is the key to your future! By acting responsibly now, you’ll ensure you’re well prepared for the long road ahead – both personally and professionally. Get started today… you’ll be thankful you did…