College Planning:  Getting in Front of Your Finances After Graduation

BY: Brent Landrum

Graduating from college can be both an exciting and nerve-racking experience. The euphoria you feel upon receiving that hard-earned degree can quickly give way to the harsh reality of student loans and real-world expenses. What you do with your finances upon graduation is extremely important. Think about these three things as you prepare.


Open a savings account and set a goal to contribute monthly. Saving what you can, when you can, will result in very real gains over time.
If you don’t want the burden of having to remember to contribute each month, consider setting up an automatic transfer, or having a portion of every paycheck go directly into this account.

Avoid Fees

Many accounts have fees; however, there’s a good chance that you may be able to avoid them with a deposit account. Learn about ways to avoid monthly maintenance charges by asking a banker – they’re a resource, and are there to help you.
Keep track of your finances. Knowing how much money you have and where it’s going will help you budget. Avoiding fees for items such as overdrafts and debit card replacements can help you save hundreds of dollars each year. That adds up to a nice student loan payment or contribution to a savings account.

Live Within Your Means

Set a budget. Keep track of your spending and assess those areas where you may be spending too much. Follow through with your budget, so you set yourself up for financial success.
Make extra loan payments when you can. Follow your payment schedule, but when you have extra money, make an additional principal payment. Over many years, this can shorten the amount of time you are paying off student debt, and it can even decrease your final bill.
Conduct an annual financial review. At the start of each year, take a step back and look at how you did with your budget the previous year. Make adjustments to strengthen your financial situation for the upcoming year.
Focus on your long-term goals and what you hope to achieve. It is great to have career goals, but it is equally important to have financial goals. While things may feel tight from time to time – particularly early on – you will reap the benefits down the road. Speak to any SBCP retail banker to learn more about what we can do for you.


Brent Landrum

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