Finance Tips for New College Grads

Finance Tips for New College Grads

Core Facts

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Graduating college is a momentous life event that should be celebrated. It marks the end of a chapter, and the beginning of many new ones. It also marks the entry of many young adults into the workforce and new opportunities. Unfortunately, some of those opportunities open the door to making disastrous financial decisions which could affect the rest of a new graduate’s life. 

Here are some common mistakes and a little advice on how to avoid them: 


Many college grads make the mistake of assuming that a big pay day is just around the corner and that they can skate by on credit until their expected salary kicks in to save them. The statistics would suggest otherwise though. In recent years, almost three-quarters of students graduating college were saddled with an average debt of over $25,000 each. 

Adding to that debt while hoping for a well-paying job to pay off your student loans and increasing credit card balances is an overly optimistic approach. What if that job never comes? You’ve put yourself in a very precarious position, financially speaking. 

Driving an Uber until you get that big job, or getting another reliable source of income - of which there are many available to young adults - is maybe a less glamorous approach, but a far more responsible one. The average Uber driver can earn about $40,000 per year, after expenses - even more in some bigger cities. Wouldn’t you rather have an extra 40k in your pocket, than piling up credit card bills and avoiding calls from collection agencies?

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it

Golden rule #1. If the only way you can afford something is to throw it on a credit card - YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT. Credit cards are convenient and powerful tools, but also a temptation to spend way beyond your means. 

Live within your means

Ok, so let’s say you get that first job. What next? Don’t fall into the trap of spending every penny (and more) of your paycheck. Now would be the time to set in place good financial habits. Start saving a portion of your income (even if it’s only 10% of every check that comes in). As a young adult, you have the luxury of time to accumulate savings. Every dollar you set aside now towards your savings or retirement is more valuable than if you spent it on a $10 cocktail or a $5 coffee. 



Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. 

Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable-- we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances. Member FINRA & SIPC


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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 516-921-4200 Visit our website:

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Jake Mendlinger
Account Manager
516.829.8374 X 232

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