Congratulations College Graduate!

You now have your first job out of college. Or maybe you know someone who is in this situation. What do you do?

This is an exciting time in your life. You’re probably going from very little income to what seems like a lot of money. How do you manage unfamiliar situation?

Your first step is to create a budget. A good rule is 50/20/30. Learning this rule can help you with financial success!

The first 50% will go towards your fixed expenses. This includes things like rent, car payments, and insurance.

Next comes an allocation of 20% towards your savings & debt. Start building up your emergency fund (6 months of expenses). If you have accumulated student loans, you will start paying them from this part. If your employer offers a 401(k) with a match, make sure to put in enough to get the maximum match. You don’t want to leave free money on the table! A Roth IRA may also be a great savings vehicle for you.

The last 30% goes to your living expenses. This includes food, entertainment, and clothing. If there are big ticket items you wish to buy, like a TV, save some money out of this budget item until you have enough to purchase it.

Many people run into problems because they don’t have an emergency fund. The emergency fund insulates you from unexpected ‘life events’ like a car accident. By having this fund, you don’t have to go into debt to handle the situation.

Your budget isn’t etched in stone. It will change over time. But if you can stick to the 50/20/30 principles, you should be able to live comfortably without the stress of money.

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