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What would be the best financial steps after graduating high school?

Would it be good to get a credit card? Do a part time job while being in college?

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Subject: Career question for you


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Doc’s Answer

The best financial advice would be don't jeopardize your financial future by start off with student debt. As soon as you can, you should begin to consider the costs you are about to incure. Before enrolling in a large university with high prices, consider community colleges and AP courses to gain cheap credits if your family needs to save more for college tuition. You can keep yourself open to a wide range of options and avoid taking on student debt.

Look around a bit before deciding where to attend college because it will significantly affect how much it will cost. For instance, following a public four-year college inside the state will be much less expensive than attending a prominent university. If a degree from a private college is more in line with what you require, there is a lot of variation from one institution to the next. Similarly, a hybrid learning school is frequently a more economical option. While you should decide on something other than price, it is undoubtedly worth considering.

Ask your high school guidance counselor for advice; they frequently know about exciting scholarships. Additionally, inquire at your bank or credit union, the places of employment of your parents, and associations for the business or subject you’re interested in studying. Numerous organizations, including nonprofit volunteer clubs, religious institutions, and community organizations, award scholarships to deserving students or students who satisfy specific requirements. Use websites like Scholly and to start your search online.

Many high schools offer courses for advanced placement (AP) or the International Baccalaureate (IB) that can be taken for college credit. Juniors and seniors in high school typically have access to these. They can assist you in avoiding subjects in college even though they are more academically rigorous than typical high school courses. If students enroll in a few AP or IB classes each year, they can easily cut a year off their time in college, saving them thousands of dollars.

The flexibility of a hybrid program can dramatically reduce costs that aren’t always related to education, from childcare to transportation costs, even though the per-credit expenses are the same. Additionally, you have more flexibility because most hybrid programs use asynchronous learning. You can do your homework at your convenience rather than a fixed class time that you must attend. This enables you to work more hours and earn money to support your educational expenses.

Another option to help lower the cost of your college experience is finding on-campus work. For instance, if you become a Resident Advisor in your college dorm, you may receive discounts on housing and food while at school. This lowers your costs significantly, so you can put more of your money toward your tuition costs. Work-study programs provide the option to work on-campus for reduced tuition costs.

Hope this was helpful Alana
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Yisel’s Answer

Hi Alana,

You've asked a truly significant question. Firstly, remember that college is a self-investment, even though it might be expensive depending on your chosen institution. If you opt for a state or community college before transferring, you could be eligible for more grants to help reduce the cost, meaning you won't have to pay the full tuition fee compared to an out-of-state college or university.

For instance, if you aspire to be a nurse, you can explore the scholarships or grants offered by community colleges or in-state institutions. Sometimes, you can even pen a letter to request for awards that the school may provide. Every little step like this can help bring down the cost.

Secondly, when I was in college, there were opportunities for work-study programs. This means you might be able to work on campus, like at the bookstore or the library, to earn extra money while still being on campus and saving.

Regarding credit cards, I would honestly recommend using your own money that's in your account. Consider getting a credit card that allows you to transfer $50 - 100 dollars every two weeks. If your parents send you money, you could put it in there as a savings account. You can then use this card to purchase books, supplies, and even food.

Remember, every step you take towards financing your education is a step towards investing in your future. Keep going!
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Christopher’s Answer

Hi Alana,

Great question and something that everyone should think about while in High School.

One way to start thinking about what steps to take would be to read David Ramsey's book called "The Total Money Makeover". The advice is real world, practical and stresses personal responsibility. It helps you think in terms of planning.

I also would recommend starting to save right away. If you get a job, you can open an IRA account at a bank and start putting $$ away for retirement (you will need to check annual contribution limits).
Regarding a credit card: you should set a goal of no consumer debt in your life. However, having a credit card can help build your all important credit rating. So i would get a cc but pay it off every month so there are no balance fees. If you start to build a debt balance on a card than don't use it again until a zero balance.

Good luck
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Beth’s Answer

I would advise saving some money, if you can, before you go to college. I don't think a credit card is a good choice. The reason is that you are borrowing money that you will have to pay back with interest- that is to say you will have to pay back more than you borrow. It can sound reasonable, but it adds up quickly and easily get you into financial trouble before you even have a chance to start your career. Do everything you can to keep your debt low and pay as much of your college expenses with your own money or with scholarships and grants. Apply for any and all scholarships you can: even a bunch of little ones can add up. Getting a part-time job while in college is a good idea if you can keep up with your classes, studying and all the things one must do in life (like laundry and showers). sometimes people find a having job while in college difficult, but this is often because they have difficulty with time management. Many colleges and universities have academic support programs that can help you with time management skills and scheduling your time.

Beth recommends the following next steps:

Start looking for scholarships now. Many businesses, organizations and local clubs offer scholarships. As I mentioned even a small scholarship, one that is only a few hundred dollars, can help offset your education expenses. Take advantage of this. Think about the kind of organization that might want to support a person like you- what do you love or like to do? Do you do any volunteer work or raise a particular kind of animal? Where do your parents work, does their company offer scholarships to their employees children? Look for options and apply for any, even if you think you are not an exact match.
I recommend avoiding expensive big name schools- unless they have given you a scholarship that offsets much of that cost. The smaller your educational debt when you get out of school, the easier it will be to get a good, smooth and stable start on your career.
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Mackenzie’s Answer

After graduating high school, it's essential to start building a solid financial foundation for your future. Here are some important financial steps to consider:

Create a Budget:
Develop a budget that outlines your income and expenses. This will help you track where your money is going and ensure you're living within your means.
Open a Bank Account:
Open a checking and savings account at a reputable bank or credit union. These accounts will serve as the core of your financial management.
Start Saving:
Begin saving money regularly. Aim to save a portion of your income, whether it's from a job, allowances, or gifts. Building an emergency fund is a priority.
Set Financial Goals:
Define short-term and long-term financial goals. These might include saving for college, purchasing a car, or building an emergency fund. Having clear goals will guide your financial decisions.
Build Credit Wisely:
If you're over 18, consider opening a credit card to start building your credit history. Use it responsibly by paying your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
Learn About Financial Literacy:
Educate yourself about personal finance. Read books, articles, and take online courses to understand concepts like budgeting, investing, saving, and debt management.
Explore Higher Education Options:
If you plan to attend college or a vocational school, research financial aid options, scholarships, and grants. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal aid.
Explore Career Opportunities:
Consider your career goals and research entry-level job opportunities, internships, or apprenticeships in your chosen field.
Live Frugally:
Be mindful of your spending habits. Avoid unnecessary expenses, and focus on needs over wants. Living frugally can help you save money and avoid debt.
Avoid High-Interest Debt:
Be cautious about taking on high-interest debt, such as credit card debt or payday loans. High-interest debt can quickly become unmanageable.
Invest Wisely:
If you have extra funds after covering your essential expenses, consider investing. Start with a retirement account or a taxable investment account. Compound interest can significantly grow your wealth over time.
Consider Retirement Savings:
Even if retirement seems far off, consider starting a retirement savings account, such as a 401(k) or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), as soon as you're eligible.
Seek Financial Advice:
Consult with a financial advisor or planner to get personalized advice and create a financial plan that aligns with your goals.
Protect Yourself:
Consider purchasing insurance coverage, such as health, auto, or renter's insurance, to protect yourself and your assets from unexpected events.
Build an Emergency Fund:
Aim to save at least three to six months' worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. This fund will provide a safety net in case of unexpected expenses or job loss.
Avoid Lifestyle Inflation:
As your income increases, avoid immediately increasing your lifestyle expenses. Instead, save or invest the additional income.
Stay Informed and Adaptable:
Stay informed about financial news and trends. Be adaptable and willing to adjust your financial plan as your circumstances change.
Network and Build Relationships:
Building a professional network and maintaining relationships can open doors to job opportunities, mentorship, and financial advice.
Pay Bills On Time:
Develop a habit of paying bills on time to avoid late fees and maintain a positive credit history.
Practice Patience and Delayed Gratification:
Understand that financial success often takes time. Practice patience and avoid impulsive spending.

It's greatt you're already considering this. These financial steps will help you start your post-high school life on the right financial footing, setting the stage for a secure and prosperous future.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Alana,

Financial Steps After Graduating High School:

After graduating high school, there are several important financial steps to consider to set yourself up for a successful future. Here are some key recommendations:

1. Create a Budget:

Start by creating a budget that outlines your income and expenses. This will help you manage your money effectively and avoid overspending.

2. Build an Emergency Fund:

It’s essential to start building an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses like medical bills or car repairs. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

3. Establish Credit Responsibly:

Building a good credit history is important for future financial endeavors, such as applying for loans or renting an apartment. One way to start establishing credit is by getting a credit card, but it’s crucial to use it responsibly and pay off the balance in full each month.

4. Consider Part-Time Work:

Taking on a part-time job while in college can be beneficial for gaining work experience, earning extra income, and developing time management skills. However, it’s important to balance work with academics to ensure academic success.

5. Explore Scholarships and Financial Aid:

Look into scholarships, grants, and financial aid options to help offset the cost of college tuition and expenses. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a good starting point to determine eligibility for various forms of financial assistance.

6. Save for Future Goals:

Start saving early for future goals such as buying a car, traveling, or pursuing further education. Setting aside a portion of your income regularly can help you achieve these goals more easily in the long run.

In summary, creating a budget, building an emergency fund, establishing credit responsibly, considering part-time work, exploring scholarships and financial aid options, and saving for future goals are all important financial steps to take after graduating high school.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used in Answering this Question:

Investopedia: Investopedia is a trusted source for financial education and provides comprehensive information on various personal finance topics.

The Balance: The Balance offers expert advice on personal finance matters, including budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt.

Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): FAFSA is the official website for applying for federal student aid in the United States and provides valuable information on financial aid options available to students.

These sources were consulted to ensure accurate and reliable information was provided in response to your question about the best financial steps after graduating high school.

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Marlyce’s Answer

Absolutely, Alana! I'm with those who suggest pursuing this WITHOUT USING A CREDIT CARD! Consider applying for grants and scholarships, and begin setting aside some savings. Embrace a frugal lifestyle to avoid the burden of repaying a huge amount of money with added interest.

Depending on your chosen college course, you might be able to find an employer who's willing to sponsor your education. In return, you could commit to working for them for a certain period of time. This could be a win-win situation, allowing you to gain both education and work experience. Keep going, you've got this!