Makin' Money

Money tips for college grads

Chris Farrell Mar 7, 2011

All right, take out your No.2 pencils.

When it comes to a college education:
a. About two-thirds of all U.S. college students graduate with student loans
b. Incomes of college graduates are down over the past decade, adjusted for inflation
c. Both of the above

Students are borrowing more to pay for college because:
a. College costs have risen more than 4 times the rate of inflation for over two decades
b. Family incomes have stagnated
c. Both of the above

Go to the head of the class if you answered “c” to both questions.

Personal finance matters more than ever to college grads, but odds are their college did little on that front. It’s too bad considering how important managing money well is in the first few years in a career. Money Crashers has 7 important money tips for recent college grads. (Thanks to Wisebread for the pointer.)

The article covers the basics well, from buying a used car to renting to avoiding credit card debt. But over time I’ve become convinced that this is the most important money advice of all: Save.

Saving money is the basic foundation of financial success, but it’s often thought of as something that can be done later in life. The problem with that way of thinking is that saving is a habit, and the earlier it’s developed the better. Start saving when you’re 21 or 22, and you may have a nice bankroll by the time you’re 25 or 30.

It doesn’t matter if all you do is put aside a few dollars a week. It’s the habit that matters over a lifetime..

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.