Financial tips for college graduates May 09, 2013, 8:24 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

As students graduate from colleges and universities across the country and begin to plant the seeds for their financial future, the Independent Community Bankers of America and Bank of American Fork offer tips to help graduates manage finances in the real world.

“Graduation is an exciting time for students who are often anxious to gain financial independence,” said Terry Jorde, ICBA senior executive vice president and chief of staff.  “It’s important to remember that the financial decisions you make now will affect your future for years to come, so take a moment to outline your short- and long-term financial goals and come up with a monthly budget that will work for you.  Believe me, this is one simple exercise that will be well worth any recent grad’s time.  You’ll thank yourself a few months and a few years down the line.”

Jorde suggested that students who don’t already have their own individual bank accounts (not cosigned by mom and dad) open one immediately.  “Look to a community banker who can work with you one-on-one to make a financial plan that suits your individual needs,” said Jorde.  Visit your nearest Bank of American Fork branch or find a community bank near you by visiting www.banklocally.org or downloading the free ICBA locator app for your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry.

Other tips include:

• If you don’t have strong financial literacy skills, take some time to educate yourself on money matters, such as credit and ways to save for retirement. There is an abundance of resources available from programs such as FDIC Money Smart

• Understand credit, how to build it and what hurts it.

• Set up online banking to help you manage your finances from anywhere.

• Start saving for retirement now even if it does seem like a long way away. Many employers offer investment matching plans to help you get started.

• Set up an automatic savings account that pulls from your account every month as soon as you get your paycheck. Some employers also allow you to defer savings to another account. If you don’t see it, chances are you won’t miss it so much. Having a safety net in your savings account will help you stress less.

• Stay on top of any student loans, don’t miss deadlines and consolidate if appropriate. Some companies will help you pay off your student debt; make sure to ask about this when negotiating your new job.

• Review your banking, credit card and loan statements regularly so you can be aware of any errors.

• If you move, notify your bank, card and loan issuers immediately.

• If closing a bank account, confirm that the account and appropriate lines of credit have been closed by verifying with the bank.

• Take advantage of working with financial planners who can help you create your financial roadmap and a smart monthly budget for this stage in your life.

This stage of a grad’s life is all about empowerment—and financial matters are no different. We congratulate this year’s college grads and wish you a prosperous financial future.  We’re here to serve you in whatever way we can.

To learn more about ICBA, visit www.icba.org.

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