Five Money Lessons For New Grads That Everyone Should Follow

New graduates are about to walk smack into the Great Recession, and they need every bit of financial advice they can get. The Wall Street Journal has five excellent money tips that should apply not just to new graduates, but to everyone.

1. Savings Matter: Learning to sock away funds not only teaches you to do more with less, a lesson you will carry with you for life, but it gives you the financial cushion to sustain a job loss or emergency without falling into debt.

2. Find And Read The Fine Print: Don’t let page-long consent agreements stare you down. Instead of blindly signing on the dotted, take five minutes and read your contracts.

To avoid that headache, look at agreements and contracts as though you were on a scavenger hunt for key facts: How can you end this agreement? How can the other side terminate the deal? What exactly will you be paying and when? And what happens if a payment is late or missed? Knowing the significant details will help you make better decisions and avoid much grief later on.

3. Focus On The Total Cost: Resist the urge to draw out your loan’s lifespan in exchange for smaller monthly payments. Remember, companies don’t make suggestions out of the goodness of their hearts. They don’t even have hearts! Always consider for the full, long-term implications of any financial decision.

4. Debt Is The Great Divide: Debt is a shackle that binds itself to the borrower. Debt can be a powerful tool for financing a home or education, but it drastically limits your financial freedom. Treat it warily, especially with credit cards.

5. There Is A Permanent Record: It’s called your credit score, and it will follow you for life. Your credit score serves as an objective measure of your fiscal responsibility. The lower your score, the more expensive credit will be. Higher scores open doors and lower costs, allowing you to finance your future for less.

Five Money Lessons for New College Grads [The Wall Street Journal]
(Photo: CarbonNYC)