Spring and summer are seasons of change – certainly one of the busiest times of year for high school and post-secondary graduations as well as weddings. Throw in the arrival of new bundles of joy and the odd retirement party and people of all ages are going through major life changes this time of year. The first post in our “Summer Celebrations” blog series talked about retirement - this instalment, graduations.
The future is now! Financial tips for new graduates
Whether it’s from high school or post-secondary, graduation is a big deal. Starting the next chapter in your life can be both exciting and scary. It could mean moving, starting a new job, pursuing further education or taking some time off to travel. If you’re lucky, you may even receive some financial gifts from loved ones to help you on your way.
What should you do with the cheque from Grandma?
If you are the recipient of a nice financial gift from family or friends, keep this in mind: Manage your money wisely and you can enjoy a secure financial future. Manage your money foolishly and you can say goodbye to financial independence.
Here are some tips to help you remain financially on track:
- It’s okay to treat yourself with a set amount of money when you receive a gift like this. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating your academic accomplishment. Consider whether your gift will be more of a splurge, like a vacation, or something more practical, such as a new working wardrobe to start off your career on the right foot. Whatever you choose, avoid making dramatic alterations to your lifestyle that involve spending money that you may want to invest or tuck away for a rainy day.
- Keep a realistic state of mind so that you remain responsible with your money. Take time to soak in the reality of having more money, and avoid making plans or decisions hastily. More money in your pocket does not mean you don’t have to save, invest, or follow a budget anymore! Here are some easy money-saving tips.
- Having a game plan for your money is the foundation for your financial future. When developing your plan, consider all the factors that relate to your personal and financial circumstances. Talk to someone you trust who has solid business knowledge or experience with finances - they can help get you started.
- Beware of the scammer. Unfortunately there are people just waiting to get their hands on your money. Whether it be for an investment or a used car, before you make any big financial decisions, do some research and a background check so you know who you’re handing your money to.
Starting to invest
As a young graduate, time is on your side. Thanks to something called compound interest, the earlier you start investing, the more your money can grow. Regularly invest a small amount of money early in your life and you can end up with more money than someone who starts investing later on.
Want to jump in but don’t know how? Take these initial steps so that you can be a more savvy investor:
- Read up: There are lots of books, magazines and blogs out there with all sorts of interesting advice on investing. Remember to balance this with some good information from neutral and unbiased sources such as your local securities regulator. The ASC has plenty of helpful links and reading materials.
- Take a course: Though going back to school may be the last thing you feel like doing after graduation, the ASC offer both in-classroom and online courses – there’s something for everyone. Check out what’s available online year-round and coming up in the fall.
- Watch a video: If quick snippets of information are more your style, check out the ASC’s YouTube clips to learn more, including how to better protect your money from scams.
Whatever you decide to do with your money, enjoy it and this time in your life.
Check back next week for the next instalment in our summer celebrations.
Have a great summer everyone!