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This is the third and final part of the Life After Graduation series. Please read part 1 and part 2 before continuing!


After months of living in a new city, you’ve begun to feel settled. At your job, you’ve made friends. At home, you’re able to relax, no longer stressing about unpacked boxes. Getting settled after college is much like getting settled during college; in those first days after “Orientation Week” at school, most people had made friends and developed routines, but there was still a lot to learn about being a responsible student. Now, there are a lot adjustments to make on the way to becoming a responsible adult.

An important part of life after college is making early responsible financial decisions that have long-term benefits. Protecting the home you own, protecting your family, preparing for unexpected events and organizing your month-to-month finances are all necessary steps you must take. By applying the tools and resources available to you, early precautions can prevent stress and worry in the future, both financial and emotional. Following is some advice to help you make the transition to “grown-up” life:

Be safe, be smart

You already know about car insurance, but now that you’re on your own, you’ve got a lot more to protect than that rusty old junker you drove in college. Part of adulthood is making critical decisions about your future, and picking the right insurance is absolutely an investment in your future.

Look at ways you can save money, and if you’re newly married – or soon-to-be – you should be looking at what kind of coverage works best for you and your partner.

Think long-term

While just taking care of day-to-day expenses in your household can feel overwhelming, it’s also important to consider the bigger financial decisions you’ll face in the future. How much money should you save for retirement? How will you afford college payments for your children? What if something unexpected happens to you or your loved ones? By taking action to answer these questions now, you alleviate the potential stress of facing these financial expenses unprepared.

You can create a budget to save for retirement – know how much you need to retire and how much you should save each month, accordingly. If you’re planning to have children, you risk facing tough financial impasses in the future if you ignore early preparation. So start saving now.

Stay on-track

With applications and tools that track your budget in respect to your financial goals, you become more aware of how well you’re controlling and saving your money. Mint.com is a great resource for taking stock of your current financial situation and setting long-term goals for your money. After a few months of you using the application, Mint.com starts to notice trends in your spending and can adjust your budget based on your past history. The app can also send you email alerts to help you meet your savings goals and find creative new ways to budget.

Be prepared

When in college, experience taught you to become a responsible student. Budgeting time for homework, studying or your friends, you learned how to create a balance. Life after college requires making similar adjustments – to your finances, your family and home – but there are many great tools to help you acclimate quickly. By taking precautions now, you won’t have to worry about problems later. You can spend your energy enjoying the good life you’ve earned.

Do you have any other tips for getting settled into life after graduation?


Featured photo credit: m00by via photopin cc