Adulting 101: Life After School

by Lauren Beichner

Marketing Specialist

Member Tips

If you're reading this - congratulations! You made it to your adult life chapter. This time comes with many 'firsts' and new adult decisions, including how you will manage your money. You may have accepted your very first full-time job and you're thinking 'wow, I have SO much money now'. Although it may be true that you are making more than you ever have before, it's important to be responsible with your newfound paycheck in order to set yourself up for a life of financial stability and ultimately financial freedom. 

Here's what to do to get yourself started off on the right foot: 

1. Pay Down Your Debt

More than half of American students1 now need to borrow to pay their way through college. If you're one of those students, you probably are graduating sitting on a pile of debt - don't worry, you can pay this down quickly if you make it a priority. First, determine a monthly payment towards your student loans based on what your current income is. Next, go to your lender's website and sign up to make automatic payments to your loan account. Try to go well beyond the minimum payment (if you can) in order to pay your debt down fast. Remember, you don’t want this debt hanging over you forever and the sooner you pay it off the sooner you can start using your money for more exciting things.

Try Our Debt Consolidation Calculator

2. Automate Your Savings 

Do you want one less thing to think about? If you answered yes, then automating your savings is a great way to take one less "to do" off of your plate. Set up your checking and savings account to automatically draft money from your checking to your savings every month so you don't even have to think about it. This way, you'll be saving money without having to do a thing! You should aim to save at least 20% of your monthly income.2

3. Pay Your Bills On Time

This may sound like a no brainer - but you would be surprised how many college graduates don't understand the importance of this. If you get in the habit of paying your bills late you can get yourself into a lot of financial trouble and your credit score can take a major hit - and fast. To avoid this, make sure to pay down your balances as fast as possible. 

4. Contribute To Your Retirement Savings Plan

If you're thinking that you're far away from retirement - you're right! However, now is the time to start contributing to your retirement savings plan to make sure you have built up a large nest egg for when the day comes that you do retire. Think of it this way: if you start saving earlier, you will only have to save smaller amounts at a time versus large chunks at a time later on. Trust us, you'll be avoiding stress down the road if you start saving for your retirement now.

Looking For 1:1 Financial Advice?

You Have Dreams and We Have Ways To Help You Make Them Come True!

Coastal Wealth Management, *available through CUSO Financial Services, L.P., will provide you with a free and personalized financial review as a member benefit. Taking advantage of this opportunity right after college is a great idea - it will help set you up for sucessful financial future. 

Get Your Free Financial Review

Want More Financial Resources?

We care about bringing great financial education to our members. That’s why we’ve partnered with EverFi, a financial education leader to provide a variety of training modules. These interactive learning tools are loaded with valuable information that’s easy to find. You can access them on your laptop or mobile device, wherever you go!

Learn More


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*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA / SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Coastal Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

CFS representatives do not provide tax or legal guidance. For such guidance please consult with a qualified professional. Information shown is for general illustration purposes and does not predict or depict the performance of any investment or strategy. Past performance does not guarantee future results.