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Graduating from college is an incredibly exciting time. You have your education behind you and your whole life ahead of you. Here’s what you can expect when you graduate both from a personal and financial standpoint:
There’s nothing better than the feeling of finally graduating from college. All of your hard work has paid off. All of those all-nighters you took to write papers are over. There are no more grades and no more taking notes. You can finally earn a paycheck and start your life. Although there will be challenges in the future, you can expect to really enjoy this time and the blank slate you have before you.
If you’re like the vast majority of college students around the country, you can expect to start paying back your student loans immediately after graduating or a few months after graduation depending on the type of loans you took out. The average college student who graduated in 2015 had $35,000 worth of student loan debt (and the number is growing.) Carrying a debt like this can feel incredibly stressful. Expect to get those student loan bills in the mail, and if you don’t think you can pay them, call your student loan servicer immediately and work out an alternate payment plan.
After living in the dorm or sharing an apartment with several of your friends, you’ll be tempted to inflate your lifestyle, especially if you get a new, salaried job right out of school. Perhaps you’ll want a new car, new clothes for your new job, or might be tempted to take a vacation. Having a little bit of fun to celebrate the end of your college career is normal, but try your best not to over-inflate your lifestyle, especially if you have student loan debt. The reason is that the faster you can pay off your student loan debt, the quicker you can build your long-term wealth and set yourself up to have an amazing rest of your life.
When you graduate from college, you might have some new financial responsibilities you’ve never had before. Although your parents might choose to help you in some way or another financially, graduating from college begins the transition to becoming financially independent. Down the road, this might include taking over your car payments and car insurance payments, getting off your family cell phone plan, and more. Many people will be able to seamlessly transition while it might take a bit of adjustment for others. Overall, this is a good thing and begins the first steps to taking on the world on your own.
Although graduating from college can be a challenging time financially, full of new responsibilities and coming into adulthood with all the bills that go with it, it’s also a very exciting time. As a new college graduate who might not be married or have a family yet, you have an incredible opportunity to start your life on the right financial foot.