May is truly a month for celebration – it’s graduation season and the Class of 2016 is ready to face the world with diplomas (and student loans) in hand.
However, May isn’t just about caps, gowns, and tassels; it’s also a month to celebrate one of the most important people in many of our lives: our moms. That’s why we can think of no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day and the newly graduated Class of 2016 than going to directly to the source.
9 tips for the Class of 2016 from money-savvy moms
We asked some of our favorite financial writers and experts, who also happen to be moms themselves, to impart some wisdom on today’s graduates.
1. Define your values and goals
“Take some time to explore your values. What matters to you and what makes your life worthwhile? Figure that out and you can start creating a financial plan that matches your values and goals.”
-Miranda Marquit of the Adulting.tv podcast
2. Don’t fear the credit card
“Don’t be afraid of credit cards. When used responsibly and wisely, they will help build your credit score now for when you need it later for buying a car or a home.”
-Shannon McLay of Financially Blonde
3. Keep living like a student
“Live cheap as long as you can. The longer you can live a frugal student lifestyle, the longer you’ll have to save up money and pay down your student loans. It’s hard to resist lifestyle inflation when you get your first job, but you’ll be better off if you set yourself up before you start moving up.”
-Holly Johnson of Club Thrifty
4. Start investing now
“Invest as early as you can. Whether index funds or carefully chosen individual stocks, invest in whatever motivates you to spend less than you earn and set aside money for your future. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can learn from any mistakes, become accustomed to stock market gyrations, and benefit from compound growth.”
-Julie Rains of Investing to Thrive
5. Get a cheap, reliable car
“You don’t need a new car. Seriously, even if your current car is on its last legs, you don’t need a brand new one. Used cars are just fine.”
“Go for a quality product – think Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Take care of it. Ask your local mechanic what needs to be done and when. Oil changes are every 3,000-7,000 miles. Going too long between changes can damage your engine. Brakes need to be changed depending on how hard you are on them. Slowing down just a touch can add years of life to your brakes. Changing your brake pads on time can keep your rotors from warping, which is a far more costly repair than just the pads.”
-Mindy Jensen, Community Manager of BiggerPockets
6. Don’t let money control your life
“Don’t let money keep you stuck in life. The only way you can keep yourself from getting stuck is to live within your means. If you have debt, you don’t have extra spending money. Go out and provide value for people and make more money, and don’t over spend the money you do have. These are the two basic rules of money.”
“You be the one that controls money, don’t let it control you. Money is just a currency, a tool of exchange. If you can master it early, you will save yourself a lot of headaches in the years ahead.
-Tiffany Angeles of TiffanyAngeles.com
7. Refinance your student loans
“If you have multiple student loans, research refinancing. Refinancing can save money by lowering your interest rates.”
“To explore this option, make a list of all of your loans, note which ones are federal and private, current monthly payment and interest rate on each, and when you plan to pay them off. If you have federal loans, make sure you review the unique federal benefits and whether those benefit you… Every college graduate’s situation is unique, so make sure your loan repayment plan best fits you and your budget!”
-Emma Johnson of Wealthy Single Mommy
8. Keep an eye on your credit
“Keep your credit scores high by taking a look at your credit reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com (the only place you can get them for free). [Also] learn about the five parts of a credit score and leverage your scores to save money (and deposit fees on utilities) on car loans and home loans in the upcoming years.”
“You created a plan to graduate from college and you worked that plan to bring graduation to fruition. You can do the exact same thing with personal finances. Make a plan and execute that plan. Welcome to adulthood.“
-Shay Olivarria of Bigger Than Your Block
9. Avoid lifestyle inflation
“Try to manage lifestyle inflation. It’s great to graduate and get that first job. You feel like a real adult who can BUY ALL THE THINGS!! However, if you manage your money well from the start you can have a lifetime of financial security.”
-Catherine Alford of CatherineAlford.com
The role of moms in financial literacy
As a new mother celebrating her first Mother’s Day, I can’t help but look at my own daughter and wonder what she will be like when she graduates from college in 20 years. Will she be ready to face the world ahead? Will she know how to manage her potential student loans or make financially sound decisions with her future in mind?
Whatever may come, I hope that I impart on her the importance of educating and empowering oneself on personal finance basics such as budgeting, credit, and savings.
On behalf of moms everywhere, a big congratulations to the Class of 2016! Now go forth in the world and make your moms proud.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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