Credit Counseling for College Graduates
Things change after college. Your new boss won’t be as lenient as your old professor. Instead of a GPA your new obsession becomes your credit score. Rent may double or even triple, and monthly payments on student loans will be due soon.
A lot of people will find such a drastic shift in priorities overwhelming. Nonprofit credit counseling can help recent graduates cope with and understand some of the concerns that arise when shifting from student to professional.
When left unchecked, expenses have a tendency to run amok. If you want to rid yourself of student loan debt, while saving for a family, a house, or retirement, a nonprofit credit counselor can help steer you in the right direction.
Financial Planning and Advice for College Grads
Most of us don’t want to think about saving for retirement right after graduation. What’s the point of earning money if you can’t even spend it?
The point of creating a budgeting is to track your expenses, so that you can spend as much as you wish, without neglecting essential expenditures. If you don’t budget, you will likely end up overspending in one category or another, be it paying too much interest on your student loans or overpaying on your cell phone bill. Budgeting is the smartest thing you can do with your money, no matter how much or how little you have.
Nonprofit credit counselors can help advise you in several ways:
- Creating a budget – Show you how to efficiently track and chart your income and expenses so that you can manage your first paycheck effectively.
- Building credit and understanding credit scores – Provide tips on how to build and maintain a strong credit score.
- Responsible credit use – Advise you on what to do and what not do with credit.
- Setting financial goals – Can help you establish milestones to work towards on your mission for financial independence.
Start saving early so you won’t have to worry about playing catch up when you’re older. It may sound absurd now, but there will come a time when you are either unwilling or unable to work. A lot of people assume Social Security will have them covered, but that alone will fall well short of covering medical expenses along with the ever-growing cost of living.
Other Ways Credit Counselors Can Help Recent Grads
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Whether that’s starting a family, buying a house or simply being free of debt, credit counseling can help get you there.
Credit counselors will give you tips on how to break into the job market and snag the attention of potential employers. After securing a job it’s natural to think about your next step.
Around 84% of Americans see owning a home as a good investment, according to a survey done by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Buying a home isn’t something you do sporadically, and a mortgage isn’t something you agree to overnight. Credit counselors can help you weigh your options and determine what homes are in or around your price range.
Speaking with a counselor before going through with a mortgage can give you more insight in the homebuying process, which can ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes time to make a lasting decision. They are a convenient source for information that you would have spent days, weeks or even months scavenging for elsewhere.
Credit Counseling for Student Loan Help
Repaying student loans takes years. That’s why it’s best to take the time to understand each and every repayment plan available rather than just going forth with the standard repayment plan.
Nonprofit credit counselors know the plans and the perks and drawbacks that come with them. They can walk you through each one and explain in plain terms what they are and how they work. They also can tell you how interest will accrue depending on the plan you choose and inform you on student loan forgiveness programs while explaining how to qualify for them.
Some programs, like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), will forgive the remaining balance on your student loans after making 120 qualifying payments while working for a qualified employer.
There are several loan forgiveness programs that can save you money but keeping track of them all on your own can be a hassle. A credit counselor can help ease the pressure of examining and comparing multiple repayment options.
Graduating college is a major accomplishment, but it’s only the beginning. It’s important to plan the next stages of your life rather than rush into them. Saving early and often can set you up for a comfortable retirement. Speaking with a nonprofit credit counselor can help educate you on some of your options when it comes to repaying student loans, looking for a job or trying to land your first mortgage.
About The Author
In his 40-plus-year newspaper career, George Morris has written about just about everything -- Super Bowls, evangelists, World War II veterans and ordinary people with extraordinary tales. His work has received multiple honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press and the Louisiana Press Association. He avoids debt when he can and pays it off quickly when he can't, and he's only too happy to suggest how you might do the same.
- Henry, C. (2017 July 12) 84 Percent of Americans See Homeownership as Good Investment, Affordability a Growing Concern. Retrieved from https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/84-percent-of-americans-see-homeownership-as-good-investment-affordability-a-growing-concern
- N.A. (ND) Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Retrieved from https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service