4 Steps Toward Simple Financial Freedom Before you Even Graduate
If you are a college student right now, you’re probably very worried about what lies ahead. You hear it constantly in the media that the economy may not pick up for longer than we thought, that college tuition continues to rise past the rate of inflation, and that the future is generally bleak. What you may not know, however, is that these problems exist precisely because we’re experiencing a paradigm shift in the way we work, the way we earn money, the way we live. If money is a big cause for anxiety for you now, keep the following steps in mind as you make the transition into adulthood.
1.Stay away from credit cards.
Of course, I’m sure you’re parents warned you in high school about the dangers of getting credit cards in college. But it’s very important to stay the course and resist the temptation. It’s not because credit cards are inherently bad. They’re just a bad idea when you do not as yet have a steady stream of income, when you aren’t yet used to paying bills, etc. What’s more, credit card companies often prey on college students, offering you the worst interest rates and the worst terms and conditions. If you must get a credit card, wait a few years longer.
2.Talk to a financial aid counselor about paying back student loans.
If you’re in college right now, chances are that you’ll graduate with a nice pile of debt. First of all, don’t panic. Most loans have a 6 to 12 month forgiveness period in which you don’t have to start paying them back immediately after you graduate. The most important thing, however, is to visit with a financial aid counselor who can instruct you how, exactly, to pay back your loans. Once you know student loan payback like the back of your hand, you’ll be able to determine how best to get out of debt once you graduate. Remember—knowledge is power.
3.Set up a source of income BEFORE you graduate.
Many college students make the mistake of graduating without having any source of income. Of course, you may be thinking—how can I possibly be making money when I still have to worry about classes? One thing that you may not realize is that before graduating there are many easy ways of setting yourself up for a source of income—however small—that can pull you through as you look for more steady, additional work. Examples of this include blogging, consulting, freelance writing, web design, Internet marketing, etc.
4.Realize that the job market is completely different from what it was a decade ago.
Many students and recent graduates become anxious and depressed that they can’t find a rewarding full-time job right off the bat. The truth of the matter is that you might not ever find a rewarding full-time, in-office job. It’s important to realize that the job market today is radically different than it was just a few years ago. Those who can make it in a flexible economy, which provides many exciting, part-time and freelance opportunities, are those who will succeed in the end. Don’t get sucked in the idea that if you don’t work 9 to 5, you won’t be successful. It’s not your father’s world anymore.
As hard as it can be to realize that you are about to jump into adulthood, just remember that if you use your ingenuity and talents to their fullest, you’ll be fine in the end. Good luck!
Nadia Jones is an education blogger. She enjoys writing on such topics as education reform, education news, online learning platforms, sustainable living, personal finance, and more. Outside of the blogging world, Nadia volunteers her time at an after school program for a local middle school and plays pitcher for her adult softball team. She welcomes your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.Personal Finance