Consumer Watch: Must-do list for your first year out of school

Here are the top three things newly graduated adults need to accomplish their first year in the workforce (KOKH). 

People learn some unforgettable lessons after making their own mistakes, but some of those early adulthood mistakes can last much longer than we’d like.

For you soon-to-be, or already graduated students– complete this checklist, soon.

1. Do you have a job? You’re going to need one. First, be sure your resume and references are ready. Potential employers will ask you for strong references– usually three.

“Make sure that if you have any strong relationships with faculty or staff here, you want to make sure that you outreach to them and ask if they can be a reference for you,” says Jill Hibblen, Oklahoma City Community College Registrar.

2. Think about the future. Financially- you may be young now, but it’s important to start your retirement account as soon as possible. Personal finance site The Penny Hoarder recommends making retirement contributions for as long as possible. This will put you in the best position when you retire.

“Definitely take advantage of a 104k if it is available to you, but if you don’t have a 401k available to you through your job, you can still start saving for retirement by opening a Roth IRA account,” says Lisa Rowan, The Penny Hoarder writer.

3. Soon after graduation those student loan letters start coming in. Expect to start paying-off your loans three to six months after graduation. Consolidating what’s probably many smaller loans will make the debt easier to keep track of. Do not put off this debt. Look to see if there are options to pay based on your income if you cannot afford the payment.

Sticking to your budget as soon as your out of school will make it easier to figure out how to spend. Most financial experts recommend consumers keep their bills at 50 percent of their salary, and save 10 to 20 percent to build an emergency fund and additional savings. The rest is to have fun with– if you can afford it.

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