According to the Council for Economic Education, only 21 states in the U.S. require high school students to take a course in personal finance.
“For soon-to-be high school and college graduates, transitioning from the classroom to the real world can be exciting and overwhelming,” says Mary Jo Snyder, Selinsgrove branch manager. “I get to meet a lot of high school and college students as they open accounts with us, and as a trusted financial advisor, we’re here to help put your finances in order and create a plan that incorporates your short- and long-term financial goals.”
“From my interactions with students, I’ve seen firsthand that that the financial decisions made during their time during and right after school can affect them years down the road,” Mary Jo adds. “If those decisions are well-made, they can set grads on the path to financial independence.”
Mary Jo suggests that if you are a recent graduate or you know someone who’s graduating soon, you can review these strategies to help take control of finances and future planning:
Start a savings account (if you don’t have one already). Norry Bank helps you automate your savings efforts with a program that rounds up every debit card transaction to the next dollar and transfers the cents to a savings account. Learn more about Savings Made Simple here.
Start a budget. Learn about our online and mobile services available to help you manage your finances and track spending remotely. A good rule of budgeting is the 50/30/20 plan - 50% of your income for necessities, 30% for discretionary spending, and 20% for savings.
Learn about credit scores—a representation of your financial past, present, and future. Our Norry Bank staff can offer tips to help you establish and maintain good credit. Find a location near you and set up a time to meet with one of our bankers.
Pay off student loans. It may be tempting to make the minimum monthly payments, but a more aggressive repayment plan can save you thousands in the long run. Some companies will help you pay off your student debt; make sure to ask about this when negotiating benefits with prospective employers.
Plan for retirement. Automate your savings so that a portion of each paycheck goes directly into a savings account. Take advantage of your employers’ 401(k) plan and any matching contributions, if offered.
Learn the basics of investing. Knowing how stocks, bonds and mutual funds can affect an investment portfolio shows you how financial decisions can grow—or shrink—your savings. Some financial literacy-based websites provide definitions for concepts like compound interest, for example.
Establish an emergency fund to cover life’s unexpected events – from a car breaking down to a new suit that you need for an upcoming job interview. You can start small with a 52-Week Money Challenge and in a year’s time you’ll have socked away $1,378. Or you can be more aggressive and start out with a lump sum and build from there. A good goal for emergency fund savings is three to six months of net pay.
“This stage of a grad’s life is all about empowerment—and financial matters are no different,” Mary Jo says. “Norry Bank is proud to congratulate this year’s graduating class, and we wish them a prosperous financial future.”