Getting Your Recent College Graduate in Financial Shape

Do you have a recent college graduate returning home this summer? If so, your adult child may need a reality check about money management. The next step after walking across that stage is full on adulthood, and it’s important to understand the financial basics. Here’s how you can support your adult child in developing good financial habits.

  1. Consider splitting your child’s bills instead of paying in full.

If you’ve helped your child financially by paying his or her bills, now may be a good time to start splitting some of that responsibility with them. This means instead of paying the full balance, you and your child can each pay half. Or you can continue paying the majority of their bills, but have them contribute a small portion by the due date each month.

This is a great way to ease your child into being financially independent. Your child will also begin to learn how to pay bills on time, every time.

  1. Have “the talk,” but this one is about credit.

One of the most important steps to being a financially responsible adult is building and maintaining good credit. When your child has good credit, he or she will be more likely to sign their own lease when they’re ready to move out without seeking a co-signer. Their credit score can also influence how much (or hopefully, how little) they pay in a security deposit. And if they need to buy a new car, they’ll be able to do so on their own with a lower interest rate.

Talk to your children about the importance of establishing good credit and how they can maintain it. Explain that it’s best to:

  • Pay bills on time, every time
  • Avoid rotating credit by paying off all cards in full at the end of each month
  • Use less than 30 percent of available credit
  • Avoid opening accounts they plan on closing, negatively affecting average age of accounts/credible credit history

But more importantly, savers with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. >> Set a goal, make a plan, and start saving by taking the America Saves pledge today.

  1. Be supportive, but from a distance.

Once you and your child have thoroughly discussed future financial plans, it’s time for you to be a cheerleader from the sidelines. Give them the best possible financial advice, but don’t step in to save the day unless you absolutely have to.

Your child will appreciate your love and support when you encourage them to continue saving and working towards their goals, but allow them to save the money themselves.

Now that you’re trying to instill good financial habits, it’s important to allow them to carry their own weight.

  1. Encourage your child to start saving for retirement.

The sooner your child starts saving for retirement, the better off they’ll be when they’re ready to retire because of the miracle compound interest. Your child can enroll in a 401(k) plan at work, or start an individual retirement (or IRA) savings account outside of work. If their employer is willing to match their retirement savings contributions, they should enroll and double their savings, or else they’re leaving money on the table. >> Get the answers to your FAQs about IRAs 

  1. Talk to your child about paying back their student loans.

If your child borrowed student loans, collection agencies will begin contacting them about repayment within six months after graduation. It’s important for your child to understand the terms of their loans and all of their repayment options so they can select the best payment plan.

If your child takes a few financial missteps even after you’ve given them guidance, don’t panic. Think about all the times you fell before you got your finances in order. They’ll figure it out eventually too!


Let America Saves help you and your child create a financial plan to save money. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. Take the first step today and take the America Saves pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. And it doesn't stop there. America Saves will keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.


Teach your recent grad financial independence with these tips. The sooner they learn to be financially responsible, the better off they’ll be! v/@MilitarySaves https://bit.ly/2IBIJIq 

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Previously published on 5/21/18

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