Post-Graduation Financial Choices Make a Big Difference

David Franklin/Shutterstock.com

David Franklin/Shutterstock.com

It has been about a month since graduation, and as a recent high school or college graduate, you are probably beginning to focus more on starting college or finding a first job than buying a house. However, the financial habits you establish now will affect that first-home purchase down the road, so it’s never too early to start planning.

Here are three tips for building a solid credit history that will pave the way for that first home purchase:

1. Build an emergency fund. Many graduates experience a modest financial windfall after graduation, whether due to monetary gifts from friends and family or a new job. If you find yourself with extra cash, open or add to an emergency fund savings account. Whether you are a high school graduate off to college or a college grad off to your first job, building an emergency fund will help you have more control over unexpected expenses that could otherwise negatively affect your credit history.

2. Pay off debt. If you have a healthy emergency fund and some cash left over, pay down your higher interest debt. You will be better off if you can start your money-making years with more financial flexibility. If you are a high school graduate just off to college, be mindful of the extracurricular spending. The less debt you leave college with, the better off you’ll be when you start your first job.

3. Pay your bills on time each month. Late payments can result in big fees, but more importantly, they negatively impact your credit score. A poor credit score will hinder your future ability to borrow for major purchases like a car or home.

While it’s okay to splurge occasionally, living within your means beginning with your first paycheck will put you on the path to financial success so you’ll be ready when it’s time to invest in a home.
SOURCE: SunTrust Banks, Inc.