Graduation season is here again. Caps and gowns are donned with pride as proud family and friends look on with smiles and cheers. With the average graduate leaving college with a debt of over $35,000, there may not be much to cheer about. Once the ceremony is over, graduates must face the realities of launching into their new life. For those who have secured employment, it is important keep a few financial tips in mind.

First, it is important that one know their real income. A salary is not one’s actual income. Income is what is taken home after state and federal taxes are removed from each paycheck. A monthly budget should be based on this number. A monthly budget should first account for fixed expenses such as rent, car and student loan payments. Once fixed expenses are accounted for, variable expenses should be estimated and ranked in order of importance. Variable expenses are things such as groceries, utilities and entertainment.

An important financial tip is to avoid credit card debt. A credit card is a valuable tool to build credit. However, if not chosen wisely it can ruin one’s credit. Every new deal that promises to save money should not be taken. The best way to use credit is to pay off credit card balances at the end of the month.

For anyone who has fallen into the trap of credit card debt, there may be a solution. Bankruptcy may allow a debtor to discharge unsecured debt. Unsecured debt are things like credit cards and student loans. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow for a fresh financial start. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can provide all legal options on bankruptcy and find what would best fit one’s unique financial circumstances.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com, “The 4 Things All Parents Teach Their Adult Kids About Money,” Andrew Plepler, May 8, 2014

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