After these highly-developmental, educational years of your life, you are ready to start your career and embark on your own. This transition to the world of work will be different from the life you have recently been used to, and will come with some challenges, but also great rewards!
Filling out your W-4
Approximately 30-40% of your hard earned paycheck will be forked over to Uncle Sam every month. Ouch! The IRS form W-4 determines the amount of federal income tax withheld from your paycheck and all new employees are required to complete the form when beginning a new job.
Download your Form W-4 from the IRS Website.
For practical tips on filling out this important paperwork, view our helpful W-4 guide.
Developing a well-thought out budget is a key factor in keeping yourself out of deep debt. Budget your take-home pay minus your expenses in the following categories:
- Debt repayment
If you have expenses that are incurred more (or less) often than monthly, convert these payments into a monthly amount when developing your budget. For example, if your auto insurance payment is due every six months, convert this premium to a monthly amount by dividing it by six. Splitting these payments into your monthly budget will help you avoid scrambling for your bills at the last minute.
Complete our Budgeting Basics worksheet to help you consider the many subcategories to consider.
Paying off your student loans
You may be wondering what you need to do about your student loans once they come out of their deferment period. The mistake you don't want to make is to procrastinate! Start paying off your loan(s) as quickly as possible.
- Schedule exit counseling.
- The counseling process takes about 30 minutes to complete, during which time you will receive valuable advice on how to manage your student loan repayment.
- Know your grace period to begin repayment.
- Communicate your new address to your student loan company.
- Should you consolidate loans?
- Look into this option because it could lower your monthly payments and lock in the current interest rate (which will save you money long-term).
- If you have difficulties making repayments, contact your loan company. Communication is key!
- You may get your loan deferred temporarily, if absolutely necessary.
- It's important to know this will add to the interest and life of this loan.
View our student loan document to read more detail about these tips.
Where to put your savings
Savings are usually put into low-risk, interest-earning accounts. However, there is also opportunity for higher-risk investments, which may yield larger returns. Learn about the different accounts available when deciding to save and/or invest your money:
- Savings accounts
- High-yield bank accounts
- Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
- Money Market Funds
- Money Market Deposit Accounts
Housing: Rent vs. Buy
What's the best option for you? Typical budgets suggest you allocate 25-35% of your income for all expenses associated with your housing (whether it is rent or house payment). To learn more about questions to consider and the advantages of each, view our Rent vs. Buy guide.