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Steps to Take After Graduating College to Get Your Financial Life in Order

Graduating from college can be as much a source of anxiety and dread as it is pride and joy—even students leaving the harshest, most exacting academic programs can feel some level of worry about the future stretching out before them. But fear not—our step-by-step guide will ease the burden by helping you get your financial life in order and engage the ‘real world’ on your own terms.

Make a budget you can live with.

Budgets are the core of financial planning, so that’s where you should start. Don’t fall for the trap so many young people do; saving doesn’t have to be all or nothing; if your current financial situation only allows for minor savings, that’s still better than not saving at all. Create a budget you can live with, with proper allowances for entertainment AND saving, then stick with it.  And don’t forget, the little expenses add up over time!

Start investing.

You might be tempted to delay saving for your future (a house, or retirement) until you get a raise in a few years.  That’s a trap.  Take advantage of employer match in a 401(k).  The compounding effects that happen by saving early will help you tremendously in the future.

Start paying your loans down quickly.

If you’re lucky enough to lock in a loans with low interest, it’s ok to pay the minimum amount.  But if you have private student loans, or loans with high interest rates (more than 5%), consider paying them off sooner—the faster you clear them from your ledger, the better off your finances will be moving forward. We can help to advise you on the most appropriate strategy.

Put together a career development strategy.

When you’re young, your career serves as the vital engine driving any financial planning you make—so make sure you’re making the most of yourself. Figure out where you want to be and how you intend to get there, then start making it happen.

Start keeping yourself informed.

The last step of getting your financial life is one which lasts forever: Get informed, stay informed. You’re participating in the financial world now, so keep tabs on it: talk to a financial advisor, subscribe to a finance blog, and pay attention.

Why Waiting For The Right Time To Invest May Cost You In The End

At least once a week, a client will give me a reason why they don’t want to invest in the US stock market. They mention the headlines (which are designed to scare investors), and talk about the crisis-du-jour, or reference the looming economic dark clouds growing in the distance.

And so they sit in cash, with its perceived safety, waiting for the dust to settle, the clouds to clear, and the right time to invest.

But will it ever come… will it ever be so clear to the investor as to when they should invest?
Perhaps not.

Small Caps Continue to Dance Around the Long Term Trend

With all the discussion of the Fed, the referendum vote in Scotland, the S&P 500 hitting new highs and the IPO for Alibaba, some investors may have lost track of the small caps. They haven’t been so fortunate. Here’s a good article that helps to put this trend into perspective and why it hasn’t seen returns like the S&P 500:

SocGen Warns Small Caps Are Headed For a Big Correction


Why The Big Mac Index May Affect Your Decision to Travel Abroad

At first it sounds silly; use the cost of McDonald’s Big Mac to gauge purchasing power in different countries. What first started as a humorous approach to addressing the pricing discrepancies between countries for similar goods, has been taken more and more seriously by economists.

See for yourself which countries have the cheapest Big Mac, an indication that your dollars will go further.

Anecdotal evidence based on my experiences abroad is inline with these findings. I felt like I was getting more value in certain countries – After travelling through parts of Turkey, I discovered that I spent much, much less than I budgeted. While a trip to Europe ended with a blown budget.

Before my next trip, I will use the Big Mac Index to help create my travel budget.