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Adulting Career Transition

Why LinkedIn is Essential for College Students

May 17, 2022

LinkedIn is growing in popularity among Gen Z, and it’s setting off a wave of envy and fear of missing out for some college students who worry they’re behind—even if they aren’t yet in the workforce.

  • The key to using LinkedIn effectively is to create a detailed and engaging profile.
  • Learn and use basic etiquette when sending messages and making connections.
  • Don’t neglect LinkedIn; update your status regularly and explore job postings.

Stop worrying about work experience and connections. After college, as you get more experience with internships and a job, those sections will naturally fill themselves out. For now, follow these 8 steps to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile.

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Adulting Student Life

Fact or Fiction: The Truth About College Student Insurance

May 4, 2022
Students working on laptops laughing

By now, most of us know what insurance is, although maybe not entirely sure how it works or what makes a good policy. When it comes to the necessity of insurance, there is often some debate on what is covered, what’s a reasonable price, and if it is really something that people should invest in. College is one of the most expensive and risky investments a family can make. Still, many people may feel like insurance is unnecessary or unaware of what is included in a student renters and tuition insurance plan.

We break down all the misconceptions and myths surrounding college student insurance.

Fact or Fiction – 8 Misconceptions About the Value of Insurance for College Students

1. College students can’t afford renters or tuition insurance.

Fiction: Renters and tuition insurance are pretty affordable. In fact, a monthly renters policy with GradGuard costs as little as a Chipotle burrito meal! Students can also get coverage for as little as 1-2% of their overall tuition expense for tuition insurance, including room and board and academic fees.

2. My landlord will likely not replace my things if they’re stolen or damaged.

Fact: Presumably, your landlord has insurance that covers the building, but not what’s inside. So, if your backpack is stolen or your laptop is destroyed, you will be the one to replace it. Having a renters policy is essential in giving you peace of mind that your things will be protected if something happens.

Let’s take it one step further: GradGuard’s Renters Insurance follows you wherever you go. If your bike is stolen while running an errand or if your suitcase is taken while studying abroad, your renters policy has you covered.

3. My school has a refund policy, so I don’t need to pay for tuition insurance if I have to withdraw.

Fiction: Yes, your college or university indeed has a refund policy that is often only good for the first few weeks of classes. Beyond that, nearly all institutions don’t provide refunds if you were to completely withdraw, even for a medical condition such as anxiety, depression, or Covid-19.  Tuition insurance can help protect you so you don’t need to rely on this if you need to withdraw for a medical emergency.

4. My stuff doesn’t cost that much.

Fiction: Find out just how much your stuff is worth — and how renters insurance can cover it all. When you sit down to think about all the things needed to attend college, it can add up – and fast! If the unexpected were to happen, do you have the budget to replace everything you own? Renters insurance can help you get your money back so you don’t have to stress about how you would replace a stolen or damaged laptop or bike.

5. Renters insurance covers more than just my personal belongings.

Fact: The fantastic thing about a renters policy is its wide range of coverage! Not only is your stuff covered in your residence, on campus, traveling to and from school, and studying abroad, GradGuard’s renters insurance includes liability coverage and loss of use protection.

Liability and medical coverage – If you unintentionally damage your place of residence, you may be held responsible for damage to your apartment building or injuries to guests. Liability coverage may help you pay for any medical fees, property damage, or court costs in this situation.

Loss of use protection – This is important to help cover the costs of food and hotel rooms if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril like a fire in your residence hall.

GradGuard’s Renters Insurance provides these exclusive student endorsements, including a low $100 deductible and no credit scoring.

6. I am young and healthy, so nothing will happen to me.

Fiction: There is a reason the unexpected is, well, unexpected – you can’t and won’t see it coming. Even though many college students are in good health, being in college doesn’t magically make you invincible. Addressing the fact you may need to withdraw from school for any unforeseen reason is uncomfortable, but you know what’s even more concerning? The idea of losing thousands of dollars.

No one wants to think about ever needing to file a claim with a tuition insurance plan, but it can reimburse the cost of a completely withdrawn term in the event of a covered illness or injury.

7. My roommate has renters insurance, so I’m already covered.

Fiction: While you and your roommate might share snacks and a Netflix account, their policy usually covers their things, not yours. Getting your own policy allows you to customize protection that’s perfect for what you need. And if your entire residence is unintentionally damaged, the reimbursement costs can climb quickly. Separate policies will ensure all of your belongings are covered.

8. Epidemics including Covid-19 are a covered reason with tuition insurance.

Fact: GradGuard tuition insurance plans purchased on or after February 18, 2022, include an epidemic coverage endorsement, which can provide protection when an insured student completely withdraws from school for the covered term due to becoming ill with any epidemic or pandemic disease, including COVID-19.

With life comes a lot of responsibility. We are here to help guide and educate you on the risks of college life. Now you know the truth about college renters and tuition insurance!

Adulting Student Life

A Student’s Guide to Insurance: Travel Edition

April 19, 2022

Being a student has its fair share of traveling. From breaks, vacations, traveling to and from campus, to even studying abroad. Whether you’re road-tripping to the west coast, studying abroad in Spain, or enjoying the beaches of Southeast Asia, knowing the ins and outs of student insurance can help make your trip a safe one!

There are a few different kinds of insurance you should consider when traveling during school, both in and out of the country: Auto, Health, Renters, and Travel.

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Adulting Student Life

Books That Every Twenty-Something Should Read

March 17, 2022
Books to read in your 20's


Many people believe that your twenties is the best time of your life; not many obligations and the freedom to shape your future. Others couldn’t disagree more, feeling that this decade builds a solid foundation through hard work and hustle. Regardless of the type of experience you have, we can all agree that our twenties are a time of change, transition, and challenges.

There is an overwhelming pressure to have everything “figured out” by the time you reach your 30s. Everyone thinks that somehow you can magically figure out how to land your dream job or become financially independent before then as if it were instinct.

In this day and age with TikTok, Instagram, and Podcasts, it’s easy to think most twenty-somethings don’t read anymore. But many still do! Reading is not only good for your mind but also your soul. GradGuard’s leadership and marketing teams helped contribute to this list of essential books for all twenty-somethings to read.

20 Books Everyone Should Read in Their 20s

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is a classic masterpiece that journeys with the reader through struggle and hardship while illustrating the importance of pursuing your dreams by following your heart. There is a lesson to learn during the young boy’s journey with each passing obstacle and hurdle that he encounters.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

White Oleander is the unforgettable story of Astrid’s journey through a series of foster homes and her efforts to find a place for herself in impossible circumstances. With perseverance and wit, Astrid faces the challenges of loneliness and poverty. She aims to understand who a motherless child in an indifferent world can become.

Recommended by Jeff Hitchens – Chief Operating Officer, GradGuard

This beautifully written story takes the reader through the journey of self-discovery. It examines how a mother-daughter relationship can shape our lives.

Jeff Hitchens – COO at GradGuard on White Oleander

Money Ball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

Even if you aren’t into baseball or sports in general, this book still has much to offer. A well-told “sports” story introduces the reader to the value of thinking outside the box and looking beyond traditional success metrics. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is the tale of the 2002 Oakland Athletics and their general manager, Billy Beane. Beane constructs a winning team with almost non-existent funding using an analytical approach to determine each player’s contributions.

Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Life is difficult. The first line is a crucial lesson to learn in your twenties. This book has answers and valuable discussions on how people of all ages can find meaning in their relationships or careers as they build a life. The book asserts that we each have a spiritual life and conscience that needs attention. Building awareness of caring for our spirit is vital to our mental and physical health.

What Do You Care What Other People Think? by Richard P Feynman

One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman, possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. Feynman’s autobiography is filled with stories of a life well-lived by someone who dared to think differently and creatively. Key lesson: Do not let your life be constrained by what other people think.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz uncovers the source of self-limiting beliefs that steal joy and create unnecessary suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a robust code of conduct. He believes they can rapidly transform our lives into a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love, which landed the book on our list.

Recommended by John Fees – Co-Founder, GradGuard

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Covey believes the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. In order to change a given situation, we must change ourselves, and in order to change ourselves, we must be able to change our perceptions.

Habits 1, 2, and 3 focus on self-mastery and moving from dependence to independence.

Habits 4, 5, and 6 focus on developing teamwork, collaboration, and communication skills, and moving from independence to interdependence.

Habit 7 focuses on continuous growth and improvement and embodies all the other habits.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is a combination of a young girl’s coming-of-age story and a look into the dark side of racism and prejudice. Scout Finch lives with her brother Jem, and father, Atticus in Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression.

“I first read to Kill a Mockingbird in middle school and immediately fell in love with the characters. It wasn’t until further into adulthood, after rereading the novel repeatedly, that I fully appreciated its recognition of key issues such as race, sexual assault and violence, unjust political systems, and class status and the issues that result.”

Derrick Shy – VP of Business Development, GradGuard
Recommended by Derrick Shy – Vice President of Business Development, GradGuard

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig

Tina Seelig is a Stanford professor whose class on creativity helps students recognize problems as great opportunities. This book shows us the importance of not becoming overwhelmed by the world’s problems. Whether it’s affordable energy, clean water, global warming, or hunger, all significant problems need attention and effort. It includes a helpful series of experiments that also help readers consider constraints, and how big issues can also become significant financial opportunities.

When – The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

Life is not a race, nor is any day, month, or year. This book helps frame time more productively and demonstrates that timing is a science — an emerging body of multifaceted, multidisciplinary research that offers fresh insights into the human condition and valuable guidance on working smarter and living better. At the end of each chapter is a ‘Time Hacker’s Handbook,’ a collection of tools, exercises, and tips to help put the insights into action.

“Entrepreneur and NYU Marketing Professor, Scott Galloway offers some useful insights into how to find happiness in the modern world. Keep life simple. Complexity can kill love and meaning and make success more difficult to find.”

John Fees – CO-founder at GradGuard

The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway

Scott Galloway regularly offers hard-hitting answers to the big questions: What’s the formula for a life well lived? How can you have a meaningful career, not just a lucrative one? Is work/life balance possible? What are the elements of a successful relationship? Whether it’s advice on if you should drop out of school to be an entrepreneur or discovering what the most critical decision in your life is, Galloway entertains, inspires, and provokes.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

For most of the lives of all twenty-somethings, Afghanistan has been in the news and this novel helps illustrate how the intersections of culture, conflict, and caste shape the human condition. The Kite Runner is a powerful cultural story of a man who struggles to find forgiveness and love amidst a war-torn Afghanistan and his subsequent immigration to America. It’s a work stuffed with florid prose and subtle depictions of small beauties throughout.

Recommended by John Fees – Co-Founder, GradGuard

Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

As one of the very first books ever written in the field of self-help, it includes valuable insights on how to achieve your goals. With over 100 million copies sold worldwide, it’s worth reading as the ideas can be applied in all areas of life, even if the book’s focus is on wealth. One great idea for all twenty-somethings is to surround yourself with a group of people who share your vision and push you toward your goal. This group needs to be in harmony with you and must have a different skill set that compliments yours.

The Defining Decade – Why Your 20’s Matter and How To Make The Most of Them by Meg Jay

As a clinical psychologist, Meg Jay tells of real conversations she has had with 20-somethings and their struggles. While this book doesn’t always provide practical answers or a formula, it does deliver advice and observations that are useful as twentysomethings shape their own lives. Lesson: Aim to complete your formal education before you turn 30.

“She shares stories from her patients, how they woke up one day and felt like they just wasted away their 20’s and thought their 30’s would be ‘when they figure stuff out’, but that’s not the case. You can have a good career, good relationship, and be successful. NOW.

Natalie Tarangioli – Director of Marketing and Communications
Recommended by Natalie Tarangioli – Director of Marketing and Communications, GradGuard

As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

This book presents that “thoughts” are things, and we are what we repeatedly think about. The book shows us how each man holds the key to every situation that enters into his life, good or bad. He may remake his life and transform his circumstances by working patiently and intelligently upon his thoughts. Learn to create the life you want in your mind, then manifest its reality through your hard work and actions.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath

We have all heard “change is hard.” But why is it so hard to make enduring changes in our businesses, communities, and our own lives? The biggest obstacle is a battle created in our minds. Psychologists have discovered two different systems rule our minds: the rational mind and the emotional mind, competing for control. The rational mind desires a great beach body, while the emotional side wants another slice of cake.

Mindset – The Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this book, she brilliantly shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of our lives can be dramatically impacted by how we think about our talents and abilities.

Recommended by Brianna Bell – Marketing Coordinator, GradGuard

“People who believe that their capabilities cannot be changed in a fixed minset will not grow like those who think their abilities aren’t limited and can be developed with a growth mindset.”

John Fees – Co-Founder at GradGuard

Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

This is an essential read whether you want to resist other people’s possible manipulation or learn how to influence others for your purpose. The book shows us that in a world where people are overloaded with more information than they can deal with, they fall back on a decision-making approach based on stereotypes. These develop because they allow people to act correctly with little thought and time. However, they can be exploited and effectively turned into weapons by those who know them to influence others to act in specific ways.

The Art of Not Giving a F*ck – by Mark Manson

This is the second book by popular blogger and author Mark Manson. In this book, he points out that life’s struggles are what give it meaning. The senseless positivity of ordinary self-help books is neither realistic nor worthwhile.

This was one of the best books I have read.”

Rob Kubasko, Creative Director, GradGuard

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Born into poverty on a small farm in Missouri, Dale Carnegie built a successful career as a traveling salesman before becoming one of the modern-day best self-help gurus and prolific authors. How to Win Friends and Influence People has become an iconic bestseller by helping us achieve important life goals, discover new ambitions, and get things done and done well.

Recommended by Rob Kubasko, Creative Director, GradGuard

Our minds are a powerful tool. Reading is the best way to expand our horizons and exercise our brains, ultimately one of our most important muscles. These stories and books serve as a needed reminder that we’re not alone as we learn to face all life has to offer once we leave the nest.

Adulting Transition

Ultimate Guide to Getting Your First Car

March 4, 2022

Your first car could be one of your first major investments, and an important one at that. Having a personal car is a necessity nowadays because it is more convenient than commuting, especially if you are the type of person who has a lot of errands to do. But what should you consider when purchasing your first car? 

Type and model of the car

The type and model of the car are the first things you should weigh on because this one is a personal choice apart from being a practical one.

  • What type of car do you prefer?
  • Do you want a sedan or an SUV?
  • Do you need to use it for yourself only or do you have a family to consider?
  • Is it going to be for personal use or are you going to use it for a business?

These questions could lead to the type and/or model of the car you are going to get. If you still don’t have an idea of what you should buy, there are news articles that suggest the best practical cars in this season. For instance, here’s a US News article that suggests the most practical car options for the year 2021. But apart from practicality, this could also be just a personal preference. Would it be a dream car? It’s your decision to make. And after considering these, you can proceed to the next one—the price.

Price range and amortization

After choosing the type or model of the car that you want to purchase, it’s time to look around and check its price. You can go research different car dealerships near you and check if the vehicle you want is available there and how much they are selling it for. You may also review the car loan process beforehand to get all the details needed.

The best thing to do is to personally inquire and sort of get a customized deal that would suit your budget. Some car dealers try to adjust their rates depending on the capacity of the customer, considering other factors such as the amount of downpayment to be made, the length of the term, and the amount of amortization you could afford. It’s not bad to haggle sometimes.

Just remember that this is a major financial commitment and it could affect your credit score in the future. So you better make sure that you can commit to whatever deal you are going to get for your new car. 

Insurance and tax

Apart from monthly payments, your vehicle is also subject to tax. But there are vehicles that are exempted from tax such as old cars. There are also a few states that do not impose a tax on cars such as Delaware, Alaska, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Montana. You can purchase your car in these states, but you may still have to pay car tax if you move the vehicle into a state that imposes a tax on cars.

Car insurance is also important because accidents could always happen and it’s better to be secured rather than having to spend more later on. There are different types of car insurance and they vary depending on the state you are in. There is mandatory car insurance that covers your liability when accidents happen, and some options are for the damages your vehicle could get. There is also gap insurance where you get covered if the car gets stolen — basically, it prevents you from paying the whole amount of the car after it was stolen. 

These are just a few, basic pointers you need to remember when getting your first car, and again, just be reminded that purchasing a vehicle is a major decision and you should not be too quick when deciding what to buy and where to buy it from. Take your time and try to always look for the pros and cons before purchasing.

Adulting Career Transition

Best Jobs for Introverts

February 8, 2022
Introvert Jobs in College

It can be difficult enough to find a job. Finding one that you, as an introvert, can thrive in is even more difficult. It can seem like the world is built for extroverts, and large portions of it can be. However, in these modern times (especially during the pandemic) finding a job where you can limit your social interactions—or even work from home—is a lot easier.

Money isn’t the only thing you should be considering when looking for a new job. It is important, but you may find out that even if a job pays well, it isn’t the best for you. Here are 4 jobs that an introvert like yourself may enjoy.

1. Architect

Architects mostly work independently, planning and designing a variety of different buildings. If you like to solve problems and have a creative mind, being an architect may be the right pick for you. 

2. Librarian

This one may seem self-explanatory. A library is a quiet setting, one that many introverts can be drawn to. Being a librarian involves helping people find and check out books, as well as being responsible for the library’s upkeep and possible events. This job has more social interaction than you may think, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before accepting any position.

3. Social Media Manager

If you are knowledgeable and passionate about social media but don’t want to post about yourself, being a social media manager could be perfect for you! Social media managers create posts for clients, as well as plan and market larger campaigns. This is a job that can allow a lot of freedom and opportunities to work from home.

4. Editor

Like language? Have a passion for reading and writing? Consider becoming an editor. Editors mostly work alone and a good number work from home. They spend most of their time reading and looking over content to make sure it’s ready to be published. An editor could edit content for a variety of different mediums and subjects.

Conclusion

These were just 4 jobs that introverts may be attracted to. Remember, money isn’t everything when it comes to a job or career. It certainly is important, however. If you’re looking for a job that will pay you enough, Mint’s salary tool can help you see the salary range for a number of different jobs and locations.

BIO: Ray Alonzo is an avid writer from Phoenix. He focuses heavily on research to provide the most accurate information possible to readers.

Adulting Student Life Transition

Addressing Finances as a Student

February 4, 2022

College is one of the best times of your life: you’re always meeting new people, are regularly exposed to new and revolutionary ideas, and will make memories that last a lifetime. 

However, college can also be challenging. As a student, you’re continuously juggling responsibilities and are constantly aware of the costs like school fees, books, food, and accommodation. 

These responsibilities can lead many to put their head in the sand during their college years and ignore their finances. But this approach is unlikely to alleviate any financial anxiety you might feel and will only inflate your debts when you graduate. 

Instead, try a forward-thinking approach to budgets, expenses, and income — here are a few tips to help you along the way.  

Setting-up Your Budget

First things first – you can’t address your finances properly without a clear budget. 

You can create a realistic budget by adding up your income and looking at your expenses. This can be tricky, especially if you work hourly, which might fluctuate around seasonal shifts and finals and your income is inconsistent. You can account for these fluctuations ahead of time or should set a “minimum income” amount, so you don’t reach beyond your means. 

Next, divide your expenses into essential and non-essential expenses. Essential expenses should cover any non-negotiable fees like rent or food, and non-essential expenses should include cash for good times (we’ll get to that later!). 

Once you have a clear picture of how much you expect to earn and spend every month, you should start to think about how you can make your money work for you through investments and interest on savings — but only after you’ve established a healthy emergency fund. 

Pro-Tip: Take a look at your bill due dates to ensure you never miss a payment and that you will have enough money in your accounts when you need it!

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund protects you from unexpected medical bills or car maintenance fees. This isn’t the most fun way to handle your money, but it’s essential if you wish to have financial security and peace of mind. Emergencies can happen anytime, and being prepared for the unexpected ensures you will be okay.

Determining the size of your emergency fund depends on your current financial situation. However, an excellent point to start is budgeting to cover at least three months’ worth of expenses if you lose your source of income or are hit with an unexpected bill. 

Transportation

Without proper care and attention, cars can be money pits. You can easily spend hundreds, if not thousands, on simple repairs, and cars require consistent tax and insurance payments. As a student, you should seriously consider ditching a car until you have a reliable full-time income source that can support your vehicle without putting an extra strain on your budget. 

It’s hard to know if life without a car is right for you, and you should consider factors like your proximity to campus and access to public transport before you list your vehicle on craigslist. However, there are profound health benefits to going without a car, as you’ll likely cycle or walk far more than you ever did before. 

Good Times

A budget isn’t a spreadsheet that exists to make you feel guilty. A reasonable budget should allow for small fund to allow traveling, eating out, shopping, and activities with your friends. It’s important to set some money aside to for good times and memorable experiences, but as long as it doesn’t put you in a hard spot. You need to remember that your budget every month may not allow for fun activities if you

As a student with fewer commitments, you should seriously consider spending the money you budget for good times on summer travel plans. Summer vacation will help you see the light at the end of the spring semester tunnel and will give you a chance to make meaningful connections with the people you’ve met while studying. 

Conclusion

You can’t achieve financial independence overnight, but that shouldn’t stop you from making proactive financial choices based on a clear budget and some forward-thinking. That might mean you need to ditch the car for a few years, but it will also allow you to spend a little extra on summer vacations or road trips with your new friends. 

Adulting Student Life

Preparing to Buy a New Car

January 6, 2022

Buying a new car can be a very exciting experience, but there are a few things you must consider to prepare for the responsibility you are taking on. Here is a list of factors to consider when looking for a new vehicle:

  • New VS. Used
  • Auto Insurance
  • Payment

New VS. Used

Even though driving a car right off the lot with zero miles and that amazing new car smell is thrilling, a used vehicle that has time left on the factory warranty can be just as reliable and more affordable for a student than a new car. New cars have the appeal of never having a previous owner and can have all the features and new technology available with a warranty in case something were to happen. They can also be very expensive with a higher payment and cost more to insure. If you opt for a used car, it may not have every feature that you want, but it will cost less to insure, you might not have a car payment, and they can hold their value longer.

Insurance

When looking at possible cars you may want to purchase, consider how much the monthly payment will be with insurance.  It is illegal to drive without auto insurance so this factor should also be included in your estimated monthly payment.  It may be nice to own your dream car but owning sports models and SUV’s often cost more.  Economy cars are often the most reasonable choice for students living on a limited budget.  With that being said, used cars are also a great option.  Buying used cars give students a bigger selection of vehicles to choose from without exceeding a reasonable monthly payment.

Payment for Purchasing a Car

Although it would be nice to have the money up-front, students often take out a loan to help manage their car payments.  If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you look into multiple lenders before making your final decision.  The internet is a great place to search lenders and compare rates of interest.  Be sure to note if the lender requires a co-signer or a guarantor, more often than not that can just be a parent or legal guardian who is of age.  Some lenders may provide lower rates of interest if you are able to obtain a co-signer.  The interest rate, terms and conditions and the repayment amount are the three main factors to negotiate with each potential lender.  It may vary lender to lender but the details of your loan are often directly related to your FICO score, also known as your credit score.

A major issue students run into is improper financial planning.  Before getting a loan, make sure you prepare for your repayment plan.  It is important that you figure out how many installments you can afford to pay and at what value those installments can be.  If you are forced to pay late on your payments or you default on your repayment plan, your credit history will be damaged and your FICO score will lower.  By planning ahead, you can make regular payments that can help increase your FICO score.

By preparing for your loan before contacting a credit facility, you will increase your chances of approval because you will appear to be more reliable.  As always, make sure you do your homework before agreeing to a financial contract!

Buying a new car, or even your first car, is very exciting. Be sure to do your homework and your research when deciding which vehicle is best for you.

Adulting Other Transition

How to Manage Bills as a College Student

December 30, 2021

College can be a challenging time for students, but it doesn’t need to be stressful.

College students often struggle to manage their money and pay their bills on time as they move to this new chapter in their life. We are here to help you learn what you need to know about managing your finances as a college student.

Take Note of Every Expense

The first step in budgeting your money is to figure out what your monthly expenses will be.

You will have to pay for housing, utilities, phone service, internet access, and food while you are in college – it’s just the way things work! While different students have different living arrangements, most students will need to pay for these things. You may also need to consider the costs of transportation, textbooks, and other school supplies. Also, don’t forget the costs of any extracurricular activities or hobbies you want to pursue, like joining a club or participating in intramural sports.

From Netflix to the water bill, write down every single monthly expense you have. The more you know about how much all these things cost each month, the better prepared you can be for managing your money.

Begin with Your Fixed Costs

The first type of expense in factor into your budget are the ones that don’t change, or changes very little from month to month. This can include any bills you pay that are not negotiable (meaning the payment cannot be negotiated by a credit card, check, or cash, such as rent payments and car insurance premiums. These are important to remember and can serve as the foundation of your monthly budget.

List your Flexible Expenses

The next step is to determine your variable expenses – these are the monthly bills that change from month to month depending on how much you use. Common examples include utilities, groceries, transportation or gas, and even some cell phone plans. It can be very easy to go over budget with these types of expenses and is crucial that you pay attention to how much you are spending each month.

Plan on Unexpected Expenses

Life happens and you can’t always plan. One thing you should plan for is unexpected expenses, like car repairs or doctor visits. You can do this by setting aside a small amount each month (e.g., $20) in an emergency fund using your checking account. Another way to help the unexpected is to set aside money each month in to a savings account. This can be used for unexpected things you may need, or want, such as trips or a going out to eat that you did not account for in your budget.

Once you have paid all of your bills and set aside this monthly emergency fund, you have reached the end of your spending plan for each month. The amount left over in your checking account is yours to do with as you see fit!

What if money is too tight?

In some situations, budgeting may be difficult and you may not have enough money. If this is the case, it’s important to figure things out as soon as possible – don’t wait until your bills become overdue!

If you need more income to cover expenses, look into getting a job or increasing your hours at work. If you have to cut spending, start with the things that are not as important such as eating out or shopping.

However, attending college is often a full-time job in and of itself. On top of that, it’s important for you as a student to have a healthy amount of free time and disposable income for entertainment and leisure in order to manage the stress of college.

If you have your basic budget under control but need a little leeway for leisure and unexpected expenses, there are plenty of credit cards designed specifically for college students that will help take the pressure off. Just make sure to do your research and compare cards before signing on!

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of expenses you have as a college student. However, if you take an organized approach and write down each expense before it becomes due, managing your money should become much easier.

Author Bio

Colin Crown is a contributing writer and media specialist for Compare Credit. He is an avid foodie, marketing enthusiast and loves the city of Memphis.

Adulting Career Transition

5 Important Things to Know After Graduating From College

December 22, 2021

There are plenty of things you could do after getting your college degree. You can jump right in and immediately work or you could take a gap year. The important thing is you get to do what you want at that moment and you get to pace yourself so that you can decide on which path to take.

Here are some important things you need to know after graduating from college.

It’s okay to take your time

You are in a new chapter of your life. If you think you can afford to take a break in the meantime, go and get it. It’s better to face this new phase with a clear mind so you can decide better. Taking your time is not just about taking road trips or slacking off. You can also do other hobbies you have put off when you were studying. You can do anything that puts you at peace. You can also revisit your previous passions because these are often sources of inspiration.

Consider this as some sort of rehabilitation instead of slacking off. The time you invest for your inner peace is never a waste of time. 

Plan for the future that best suits you

You can also do this time to reevaluate your plans. You could have planned everything while you were studying, but there are always new things to consider at a different time. For instance, you can consider the economy, the industry that you are into, and many more.

It is also a time to consider other factors in your life:

  • Do you have someone with you?
  • What’s your current financial situation?
  • Do you still have student loans?
  • Are you willing to relocate for a job?

There are a lot of factors to consider but more importantly, you have to choose what you think is best for YOU, and not for anybody else. 

Consider your location

This is an important factor to consider after graduating from college. Does your industry have demands in your area? Will you be able to get your dream job in your current location? Does your paycheck cover your expenses? How much does it cost to live in your current area?

It is important to consider these things because you are now in charge of your life. Some people may have been considering this even when they are studying, but some people do start being independent only right after they graduated college. Either way, it is important to consider these things. For instance, if you are in the health or logistics industry, Jacksonville, Florida could be a great place for you because of such high demand in these industries.

It would be great if you are already living in the area. But if not, you should plan your move ahead to avoid inconveniences. To continue the scenario, if you are in the health or logistics industry and you are considering moving to Jacksonville, Florida because of the demand, book yourself some local movers for a more convenient move.

Stop comparing your current state with others

One of the things that could always hold you back is comparing yourself with others, especially to the ones in your age bracket. Please remember that everybody moves at their own pace. Not everybody has the same timeline. It could be discouraging to compare your struggles, or even successes, with others. Focus on yourself and be reminded that the only person you need to compare yourself with is the old you — not somebody else.

It’s okay to get help

Don’t be discouraged to get help, whether it is from friends, family, or the government. Some people could ask for temporary financial support from their families while they continue to look for a job and thats okay as long as the family is supportive. Other than financial support, you could also ask for emotional support from your friends and loved ones. Words of encouragement could go a long way for some people and be a source of inspiration or strength to push on.

But on a more practical note, you can also ask the government for help. For instance, there are tools such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and USAJOBS that could help you gather data on the career path you are trying to take and connect you with employers in your chosen industry.

Don’t worry about not figuring anything out yet, you’re not alone in this!