Starting a Financial Life: Advice for New Graduates
Congratulations, 2013 graduates. You did it! Now it's time to learn something really useful.
Having conquered all those classes, now you can move on to mastering the practical skill of managing money. Luckily, the economy is in better shape than it was a couple of years ago, and the overall unemployment rate for college grads is roughly half that of the total U.S. population, boding well for your job prospects.
If you learn to manage a paycheck, spend less than you earn and stash away some money for later, you can put that education to good use, no matter what you choose to do.
Here's some advice to get you on the right path.
• Be nice to your parents. In addition to giving you a place to stay until you find a job, they might pay for your health insurance. If you have insurance under a student plan, it probably will end in mid-August. If you're not going to get coverage through a job by then, start working on other plans right away.
Under the Affordable Care Act, young people can stay on a parent's health-insurance plan through age 25, but they need to re-enroll if they've been on a student plan. After you're hired for a job, it could take three months to qualify for insurance, so a parent's plan or a short-term health plan can be an option. (Short-term plans typically don't cover pre-existing conditions.)
按照现行的《平价医疗法案》(the Affordable Care Act)，年轻人一直到25岁都可以纳入父母的医疗保险计划，但是如果他们曾经保过学生险，那就需要重新登记。在你找到工作以后，可能需要三个月以后才有资格享受保险待遇，因此你可以选择参加父母的医保计划或者一个短期的医保方案。（短期方案一般不会承保投保前已有的疾病。）
If your parents aren't a fallback, you might need to buy a short-term policy until January, when individuals will be able to buy conventional health insurance through new marketplaces, federal or state-run exchanges that offer standard health-insurance plans from various carriers. Open enrollment begins in October.
Whatever you do, don't skip getting insurance. Even those who are young and healthy need it, since a car accident or unforeseen illness can put you in a giant financial hole.
• Reduce debt. An estimated two-thirds of today's graduates will leave with student loans, and the average borrower balance is almost $27,000. Debt is such a burden that it's worth scrimping for a few years, and even delaying graduate school, to pay off at least some of the debt. That will save you in interest costs and give you far more flexibility in your later twenties and beyond.
Consider $20,000 in 10-year federal loans at 6.8% interest. The total monthly payments would be $230, and total interest would add up to about $7,600 over the loans' life. Paying just $20 a month extra will shorten the repayment period to nine years and save you $900 in interest over the life of the loans. Paying a total of $400 a month─what a car payment might be─will pay off the loans in five years and save more than $4,000 in interest.
Because loans are generally made for an academic year, grads might have several and at different interest rates. Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com, a student-marketing company, recommends paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first and notifying the servicer that the payment is an extra one, not an advance on the next payment.
In addition, paying through automatic debits from your bank account could reduce your interest rate by 0.25 percentage point, according to loan servicer Sallie Mae SLM +1.61% . Just make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the payments.
How do you balance all these needs? Stretch your dollars by buying a cheap used car instead of new one. Get a roommate and take your lunch to work. Before committing too much to debt payments, be sure to have at least $1,000 in savings for emergencies─or three months of expenses in the bank if you never want to move home again. If your employer offers a match for a retirement-plan contribution, contribute enough to get at least some of that so you don't pass up free money.
• Know your credit report. Employers might care less about your grades than your credit record, which shows how well you manage your obligations. So before you apply for a job or a car loan, go to AnnualCreditReport.com and see what your credit report looks like. You can check each of the three big credit bureaus' reports for free once a year.
If you didn't have your own credit card in college or didn't use it, you may not have much of a credit record at all. In that case, a landlord might not lease you an apartment without your parents cosigning. (That's another reason to be nice to them!)
To build a credit record, you should have one or two credit cards and use them at least every couple of months to show you can pay your bills responsibly. Paying student loans on time also will help build a good credit history.
• Avoid unnecessary fees. To make your budget work, look for free checking accounts at a local credit union or an online account. Avoid automated-teller-machine fees and link your savings account to your checking account so that you'll never pay an overdraft fee. Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees and in full to avoid interest.
• Use your social network. Your friends are used to sharing information, so take advantage of each other's knowledge. Don't post your bank balance or salary online─that's tacky─but don't be shy about asking other recent grads what they pay for rent, car insurance or Internet service. Remember what you learned in college: It's good to be friends with someone who did the homework.
5. 利用你的社交网络。你的朋友们习惯于共享信息，因此，要互相利用别人了解的信息。不要在网上贴出你的银行存款余额或工资──那样也太傻了──但是也不要羞于启齿问问其他最近毕业的学生他们的房租、汽车保险费或上网费是多少。记住你在大学期间学到的这一点：与做了功课的人为友是件好事。 【已有很多网友发表了看法，点击参与讨论】【对英语不懂，点击提问】【英语论坛】【返回首页】