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> Monday, March 26th, 2012 > Lifestyles > Talking Cash: How should I start saving after graduation?
Talking Cash: How should I start saving after graduation?
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Published: Monday, March 26th, 2012
Many students here at Fanshawe will be graduating at the end of April. For some of you, this may be after only two or three years of education, and for others, it will be have been much longer. Also, some of you may be fortunate enough to graduate with little to no debt. Others won’t be so fortunate, having accumulated lots of student debt in their pursuit of higher education.
Within the next few months, hopefully sooner rather than later, you’ll find yourself employed, hopefully in your field of choice (although that sort of luxury feels rare in today’s job field, particularly in London). It may be your first full-time job, and it may be your first time saving money. There are two things you need to be concerned with at this stage of your financial life: saving money and paying off your debt.
If you have little to no debt and find full-time work after graduation, you’re in a great position because you can start saving for the big costs down the line, such as a down payment on a house, a new car and even retirement. When you’re only in your 20s, it seems pretty early to start saving for retirement, but the longer you save, the more your savings compound and the more money you will have in retirement. Your future self will thank you.
If you have debt, you have to make a decision to pay down your debt first and start saving later, or to do both at the same time. It depends on what kind of debt and how much you have. Typical advice from a financial planner would have you pay down your credit card debt as quickly as possible, even foregoing saving to do this. Paying down OSAP debt, on the other hand, can probably be balanced with starting to save. Every situation is different. Starting a new job would be a good time to speak with a financial planner for advice tailored to your specific situation.
Many companies have retirement savings plans, such as RRSP matching, pension plans and stock options. You should look into these. Retirement savings plans come in many shapes and sizes and not all are created equal, but any benefits offered by your employer are better than none. These benefits can help kick-start your longterm savings goals. You should also look into starting a TFSA, particularly if you want to start saving for the down payment on a mortgage, a new car or another major expense that may be coming up in the next few years.
By starting your career, you’re at the beginning of a long journey toward financial success. When you’re fresh out of college, it may not seem like there is much you can do to improve your financial situation, however, the seeds of mighty oaks were planted long ago. The same goes for finance. Saving for your future is a longterm process, and the earlier you start, the better your financial future will be.
Jeremy Wall is studying Professional Financial Services at Fanshawe College. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario.