← College Funding

Financial Advice for Graduates

20 Finance Professionals Share Advice For New Graduates

Graduation is an exciting time for young adults as they begin on the path to establishing a career and gaining financial freedom. But amidst the excitement, it's important to begin making a plan for financial success. That's why we asked 20 financial professionals to offer their advice to new grads by answering this question:

If you were 18 again, what one financial move would you ABSOLUTELY make?

  1. "If I was 18 and recently graduated from high school or college, one financial move I would absolutely make is learn to live below my means. Most graduates are burdened with tons of student loan debt and have little or no emergency or retirement savings."

    Anton Ivanov
    Anton Ivanov
    Founder of DreamsCashTrue.com
  2. "I would open a savings account. No matter what, deposit about $50 a month into it, and don't touch it. In a year, you'll have more than $600, and that doesn't count the earned interest."

  3. "View college tuition as an investment and make sure that the salary in your career of choice will be sufficient to justify the amount of student loans you take out."

  4. "I would put off living alone for as long as possible to keep housing costs down...And as much as I love pets, I urge people to put off acquiring furry family. Not only is it harder to find a rental to live in, but it's an added expense when you're trying to launch your career, get a handle on cash flow, etc."

  5. "Do the exact opposite of the conventional financial wisdom. Build an emergency fund equal to two years of your income before you ever think about investing, use financial products that guarantee your nest-egg will grow to a specific amount by the day you want to tap into it, and don't defer your taxes - pay them now while you know what the tax rate is."

  6. "If I were 18 again, the one financial move I would make is to start investing in a Roth IRA - no matter how little I could invest. I would invest a set amount each month and let the magic of compound interest start working for me."

  7. "Thinking back the one financial move I would absolutely make if I were 18 again would be to pull together a group of 4 or 5 of my core friends or family members and create an ’advisory panel‘ where we can talk about financial issues that we all face."

  8. "If I were 18 again, the first thing I would do is begin a credit line (to build up history) and open a Roth IRA (a mostly non-taxable retirement account). Entire books have been written on the subject of why and how a Roth IRA will protect your future. At age 18, you may feel as though you're immortal, but at age 65, you'll be happy to be able to retire - a luxury in our current economy."

  9. "Sign up for a credit card, make nominal monthly purchases and pay off the card monthly. This is a great way to build up your credit in anticipation of buying a first home."

  10. "Now is the time to start investing for your retirement. No one wants to hear that though. That's the last thing that you want to think about after getting your first job. But, the earlier you start has a dramatic effect on how much your money will grow to retirement."

  11. "If I were 18 again, I would absolutely swing for the fences every chance I got. Take risks when we are young because we won't want to when we are old."

  12. "Save 10 percent of your income no matter how little you make. Get in the habit now so when you're older you can save more. It's about having cash/resources available for when things happen in life (e.g. major car repair, home repair, loss of a job, etc.)."

  13. "Save, save, save. Establish a budget and stick to it. Open an IRA or Roth IRA and contribute as much as possible to allow compounding to work in your favor."

  14. "I would get basic investing/trading education from OTA in summer school session, start investing early and save no less than 15% of my income per month."

  15. "If I were 18 again the main financial move that I would make is to set and follow a written budget plan. You will get various answers to this question ranging from ‘open a ROTH IRA’ to ‘start an emergency fund’ but none of those suggestions will be easily implemented without a working knowledge of your inflow versus outflow of cash on a monthly basis."

  16. "I would put money away each week with the thought that I WAS GOING TO LIVE TO BE OVER 50! Never thought I would!"

  17. "If I were 18 again the financial move that absolutely benefit my future would be to make sure that every dollar spent for education went towards classes with the best future career potential. The Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine have articles about which jobs will be there in ten years. This does not mean that you have to give up your dreams-musicians make sure you get a teaching certificate, sports enthusiasts look at chiropractic degrees, and drama majors learn that all selling is also acting."

  18. "If I were 18 again, I would definitely have spent more time learning about proactive investing and managing my long term trading accounts. Blindly adding money to accounts is a fool's approach to investing. Had I been proactively monitoring my accounts and taking full advantage of employer benefit programs, I would have significantly more money saved up!"

  19. "I would have committed to using the money I made working part-time during college for my retirement funds. I didn't fully appreciate the significant impact that early retirement contributions can have on your long-term retirement cushion due to the power of compound interest."

  20. "I would say the number one most important thing to do when graduating high school is that you should avoid as much debt as possible in college. Don't get the credit card, try to avoid student loans and work to get the money you need. Having debt once you get to college graduation can put a damper on how much you can begin saving early in your career."

About the Author


Wait! Before you go…

Your feedback is valuable. We hope you can take a few moments to complete the survey, so we can improve our website.

Complete the Survey