What Financial Steps Should a New Graduate Take?
Q: What are some financial steps I can take as a new graduate?
A: You made it! As a new college graduate, now is the time to put a strong financial plan together. Here are some smart financial steps to ensure you have the success you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
1. Trust in God’s Word
Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” Continue to trust God’s Word by reading it, studying it and letting it guide your financial decisions. Learn what it says about finances and put it into practice.
2. Design a Budget
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Most college graduates today admit they are struggling to find proper employment, and as many as two out of every three college graduates are either unemployed or under-employed. While you may not be making the amount of money you anticipated, you can still get ahead by making a budget for your finances and sticking to it.
3. Avoid Big Purchases on Credit
Proverbs 17:1 says, “Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.” The Lord wants to bless you; He wants you to enjoy a good life of feasting. His way never includes bondage—and debt is bondage. Now is not the time to buy extravagant things that are outside of your budget (i.e. a new car, kicking sound system or elaborate wardrobe). Instead, return to Step 2, live within your budget and save any excess.
4. Avoid Credit Cards
As a new graduate, you are in high demand by the credit-card companies. They would love nothing more than for you to become addicted to their “product” (a.k.a. debt). God’s Word clearly states that “the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). Don’t even open the applications when they arrive in the mail. Avoid the companies’ enticing promises of “Cash Back” or “Free Interest.” And if you used credit cards to finance your education, like 92% of graduates admit to doing, develop a strategy for paying it back.
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), and Malachi 3:10 instructs us to “bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do … I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in”! Make the quality decision to honor the Lord with your tithes and offerings—regardless of how much your paycheck is. Even if you don’t think you can do it, trust God and His Word to make up the difference.
6. Learn about Personal Finance
Proverbs 19:20 says, “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.” More than four out of five graduates admit to needing more training in personal finance. If that’s you, then do something about it. Learn from Spirit-led financial ministers like Bill Winston, Dave Ramsey or Crown Financial Ministries. Don’t trust the world to teach you about how to handle your money. Instead, let wise leaders teach you what your heavenly Father says, and then do it.
Through Jesus, you were made “the head and not the tail” and to “always be on top and never at the bottom” (Deuteronomy 28:13). To achieve this, you need to live by God’s Word in every area of your life—even your finances. Put these solid financial steps into practice and put yourself in a position to reap positive and prosperous rewards!
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