The late, great, Rik Mayall and his fellow Young Ones lived in a very different era from modern students. While the trials and tribulations of house sharing may ring familiar bells, the financial landscape facing the modern student is very different to that of their 1980s counterparts, fictional or otherwise. With universities opening their doors to new and returning students alike in the next few weeks, let’s look at the steps recent graduates can take to find their financial feet.
Understand that you are now your own family and in charge of the family finance
While parents and family will always be there for you, as a graduate you’re now a fully-fledged adult and now in charge of your own future, with all that implies. Hopefully you will have had the opportunity to learn healthy financial habits such as budgeting, if not then the sooner you start to acquire them, the better it will be for you in the long run.
Try living like a student for a while even when you’re working
Landing your first decent job is arguably one of life’s best milestones. Those who’ve struggled financially to get through university could well feel justified in treating themselves a bit more generously now that they finally have a regular salary. This is perfectly understandable, but also try to keep a longer-term perspective in mind. If you can stick to living like a student for a while, you can free up your salary for other purposes, whether this is paying down debt or saving up for a deposit on a house.
Build an emergency savings pot as quickly as you can (even if you have debt)
This may seem like a topsy-turvy piece of advice, but it’s aimed at stopping you from getting (further) into debt. No matter how great you are at planning ahead, life can always throw something unexpected your way and that something could just as easily be a great opportunity as a problem. In either case having ready access to funds can save you a lot of hassle when life’s slings and arrows hit you.
Make sure that you are on the electoral roll
Credit checks are a fact of life these days and one of the key points of passing them is being on the electoral roll. If you’re still sorting out your accommodation options or working in an environment where it may not be feasible to register to vote at your main accommodation (such as in a hotel or holiday park), then it is much better to be registered at your parents’ address (or the address of another family member) than not to be registered at all.
Keep on learning
If you’re a recent graduate then the chances are you have many years ahead of you and that you will see many changes during those years. To keep yourself employable until you are ready to retire (if you choose to retire), remember to invest time and money in yourself. Keep your skills up-to-date and work on maintaining and building your social and professional networks. Your graduation is a huge step in your education, but it is far from over.