Some Real-World Advices for College Grads

It is college graduation time. That means those of us who have been around block a few times cannot refuse to accept sharing some of our sage advice with the young people who are planning to start their professional lives.

Although every decision you make when you are 21 or 22 won't forever change the course of your life. Alternatively, being afraid to experiment or afraid to fail may keep you from important experiences.

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"Your 20s actually are the time to explore," says Jean Chatzky, financial editor of NBC's "Today" show, author whose books include "Not Your Parents Money Book" and the mother of a college-age son. "Before you get married and before you have kids, you do not have a lot of financial responsibilities."

The job market for new college graduates is improving somewhat. Employer's preparation to hire nearly 9% more new graduates this year than they did in 2013, along with a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. But crushing amount of college debt is going to constrain the financial lives of many for years, could be decades.

In accordance with the Institute for College Access and Success, 71% of students who graduated from four-year colleges in 2012 were saddled with student loan debt and average debt load for those students was $29,400, a 25% increase from 2008.

Save money automatically- You can do it throughout payroll deduction, automatic withdrawal from your bank account or throwing change in a jar. Julie Rains, the mother of a college sophomore who writes about personal finance for Wise Bread and her own blog, working to Live Differently says "Building the habit of saving and setting money aside is more important than the amount in those first few years," says

Pay your bills on time- Not only is it a good habit, it would help you build credit and avoid exorbitant late fees.

Choose your friends wisely- Do not hang out with or even consider dating, people who encourage you to spend your money stupidly. Those kinds of attitudes rub off. The dating part is particularly important since you absolutely don't want to marry someone who does not share your financial values.

Weight the costs vs. benefits before going to graduate school- In some fields, for instance education; a master degree is a necessity. In others, having a master degree grants few career benefits beyond what you learn. You do not want to accrue extra debt to get a degree that won't increase your salary. After you have been in the workplace a number of years, you might decide to change direction or your employer may pay your way.

Learn about personal finance and investing-

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The Internet is blowing up with blogs and websites aimed at teaching 20-somethings how to handle their money. Read, learn and think ahead.

Don't expect to get a job by only filling out online applications- You are more expected to find out a job throughout your college professors, parents, friends of parents and parents of friends, pastors, former babysitting clients and anyone else you know. This can need talking to people on the phone or in person. Just do it.

Clean up your social media profile- It is the first thing prospective employers would look at. If you don't by now have a LinkedIn profile, make one to highlight skills you have gained through your education, your volunteer work or any jobs you have had so far. Keep in mind to spell all the words right and do not trust autocorrect. First impressions are very important.

Stay in touch with your college friends and professors- Networking is one of the most important career skills you will ever learn and social media has just made it simpler. Decades after you graduate, you could get your dream job from guy you played poker with as an undergraduate.

Learn to cook and clean- Not only will cooking save you money, but you will also be improved. If you don't previously know how to clean and do laundry, elevate those skills, too. If you are living at home, it is an excellent trade for free rent.

Splurge on experiences, not things- This is not the time to buy a new Corvette or a designer wardrobe, yet if you just got a wonderful job with a fabulous salary. You will never be this free again. Take every opportunity to travel and try recent experiences.


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