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June 27, 2007


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Michael Rubin, a financial planner and author, sent me his list of the top five mistakes made by new college graduates. I would also suggest not making the mistake of waiting too long to ask for financial advice. It’s always a good idea to speak to an experienced person first instead of thinking you can figure everything out on your own.

1. Overspending on a new apartment or car. Of course they feel rich when they bring home that first paycheck or count their graduation money, but can new grads really afford those expenses month after month — especially after taxes take their bite?

2. Celebrating all summer-long. A million pounds have lifted off their shoulders and the sun is shining bright, but racking up a bunch of new consumer and credit card debt isn’t the answer.

3. Attending graduate school to avoid the “real world.” Deferring those loans and taking out new ones may sound like a good idea, but if it’s not going to help a person in their field of choice, it could be an enormous waste of money — and time — and you can’t get either of them back.

4. Not signing up for a 401(k) plan right away. Compounding interest is a beautiful thing.

5. Not taking advantage of corporate benefits like health care and long-term disability insurance. You may feel young and healthy, but accidents happen. Don’t risk a lot for a little.

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