Earning a college degree is a fantastic accomplishment. Congratulations to all the recent grads.

If you have a recent college grad in your life, I hope you will stay focused on continuing to help them. Especially right now. Moving from college to adulting is fun, exciting, and oftentimes a period when so many young adults make costly financial mistakes.

The sad truth is that it’s rare for any college grads to have been taught how to be money smart. That’s where you need to step in –once again –and help them learn the habits that will build financial security.

Here’s what to focus on:

Start student loan repayment. The single worst mistake a young adult can make is to fall behind on student loan payments. That will increase their borrowing costs, ruin their credit and can’t even be forgiven in bankruptcy.

Technically, student loan borrowers don’t need to begin repayment of federal loans until six months after graduation. Payments are required even if they do not have a full-time job just yet. The smart move right now is to have the borrower contact the loan servicer and find out when payments must start, and what the monthly payment will be for a 10-year repayment plan. Being able to start on time and pay back the loans within 10 years is the best move. Yes, they can ask to delay starting, but forbearance and deferment can come at an additional cost; in many cases interest owed continues to be added to the loan balance.


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