Our Money Management Guide for Recent Grads

Prepare for your financial future.

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Congratulations, Graduates! - It’s that time of year again: graduation season.  Students are celebrating their achievements and beginning to hit the pavement to finally transition from broke student to working adult. But for many young adults and recent college graduates, getting on the right financial path can be hard especially those who are inundated in debt. Keep reading for tips on how to manage your money and prepare for your financial future. —Dominique Zonyeé (@DominiqueZonyee)(Photo: Comstock Images)

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African-Americans and Debt - On average African-Americans are 94 percent more likely to have some form of debt, according to Prudential’s 2013 "African-American Financial Experience" study. Most Blacks who participated in the study admitted to having credit card, student or personal loan debt.  (Photo: Ruslan Dashinsky/Getty Images)

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Recent Graduates and Student Loan Debt - African-American bachelor’s degree holders have a higher student-debt rate than any other race in the nation. The average outstanding federal student loan balance was $30,000 in 2010 for African-Americans, compared to $18,000 for whites and $22,400 for Hispanics in 2010.(Photo: Alex Slobodkin/Getty Images)

Know Before You Owe - The White House launched "Know Before You Owe" to help students better understand the rules of loans and how to better prepare for their financial futures. Although preparing for your financial future may start with loans for many recent graduates, you can also use ?Know Before You Owe? to learn about credit card and homeownership debt.(Photo: Courtesy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

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Know Before You Owe - The White House launched "Know Before You Owe" to help students better understand the rules of loans and how to better prepare for their financial futures. Although preparing for your financial future may start with loans for many recent graduates, you can also use “Know Before You Owe” to learn about credit card and homeownership debt.(Photo: Courtesy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

More Research Links Racial Oppression and PTSD - Can racism cause post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? A new Psychology Today article sheds light on the emotional impact that experiencing racial oppression can have. Past data shows that Blacks have higher rates of PTSD compared to whites and we are more likely to have difficulties performing everyday activities and going to work because of it. (Photo: Image Source / Getty Images)

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Are You Swimming or Drowning in Debt? - When you land your first job out of college, you may be overwhelmed with loans but excited to finally have steady income. But before you cash that first check you may want to stop and ask yourself a few questions. What can you do to keep your head above water so that you do not remain submerged in debt and can plan for a better financial future?(Photo: Image Source/Getty Images)

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First Things First: Educate Yourself - “Economics is the foundation of our everyday life, especially when trying to build your future,” according to Dedrick Muhammad Sr., director of the Economic Department at the NAACP. “The important thing for young adults is to understand how they deal with money day to day and what their goals are.”(Photo: Ferran Traite Soler/Getty Images)

Where Does My Money Go? - ?Create a money list, because you need to know what your money looks like,? Tiffany ?The Budgetnista? Aliche, author of The One Week Budget, told BET.com. ?Calculate all of your expenses and list anything you spend money on: rent, car, hair, nails, going out, and toiletries, etc. Then set a monthly amount for those things. Because what you want to know is: How much does my life cost me per month??(Photo: Courtesy of Akintola Hanif)

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Where Does My Money Go? - “Create a money list, because you need to know what your money looks like,” Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, author of The One Week Budget, told BET.com. “Calculate all of your expenses and list anything you spend money on: rent, car, hair, nails, going out, and toiletries, etc. Then set a monthly amount for those things. Because what you want to know is: How much does my life cost me per month?”(Photo: Courtesy of Akintola Hanif)

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No More Spending Beyond Your Means - “After creating a money list, many people will see that they are spending beyond their means,” Aliche said. “If you are bringing home a certain amount you may have to reevaluate how you allocate your funds.”(Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images)

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Credit Card Craze - It’s no secret that credit-card providers target college students, but you don’t have to maximize your debt because of it. “If you have a credit card, only use it if you have the money to buy it.” To find the best student credit cards with the lowest rates, visit here.(Photo: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT/Landov)

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Now That I Have My Money List What’s Next? - Once you know where your money is going, it’s time to start managing it. Calculate your monthly income, the amount you bring home after taxes, and subtract the total from the money list you created. Aliche said that when she did this she discovered excess cash, which she put toward her savings and her financial goals.(Photo: Tetra Images/Getty Images)

Customizing Your Personal Finance Management Plan - Khalid Livingston, 23, graduated from Hampton University in 2012 with a $30,000 loan tab. He set up a payment plan for his loans and factored it into his ?money list.? ?As a freelance project manager, my monthly income can fluctuate, but each month I pay all my bills first, then put some aside for savings, and whatever is left I spend on fun,? Livingston said.(Photo: Courtesy of Khalid Livingston)

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Customizing Your Personal Finance Management Plan - Khalid Livingston, 23, graduated from Hampton University in 2012 with a $30,000 loan tab. He set up a payment plan for his loans and factored it into his “money list.” “As a freelance project manager, my monthly income can fluctuate, but each month I pay all my bills first, then put some aside for savings, and whatever is left I spend on fun,” Livingston said.(Photo: Courtesy of Khalid Livingston)

My Salary Barely Covers My Bills and Expenses - ?I am not making enough to save or start paying my student loans,? said Danielle Brissett, 24, a 2013 graduate from Howard University. Brissett works as a hostess in D.C. making $13 per hour. ?My monthly income fluctuates so I just pay bills ? rent, cellphone and utilities according to the due dates and barely have anything left over for myself.? Although Brissett is on her second loan forbearance, she said she is seeking another job to help pay it off because she is accruing interest.(Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Bissett)

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My Salary Barely Covers My Bills and Expenses - “I am not making enough to save or start paying my student loans,” said Danielle Brissett, 24, a 2013 graduate from Howard University. Brissett works as a hostess in D.C. making $13 per hour. “My monthly income fluctuates so I just pay bills — rent, cellphone and utilities according to the due dates and barely have anything left over for myself.” Although Brissett is on her second loan forbearance, she said she is seeking another job to help pay it off because she is accruing interest.(Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Bissett)

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Pay Yourself First - “If you are working, you should open a savings account directly connected to your checking account,” Aliche said. “Set up automatic transfer to your savings account that way you don’t even see the money, and remember to always to pay yourself first.” (Photo: Image Source/Getty Images)

I Have a Savings Account, But Is That Enough? - A savings account is a must, but you should also be thinking about your long-term future. "New graduates entering the work force should definitely look into retirement plans,? finance expert Dedrick Muhammad said. The most popular retirement plans are 401(k) or IRAs.(Photo: Pauline St.Denis/Getty Images)

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I Have a Savings Account, But Is That Enough? - A savings account is a must, but you should also be thinking about your long-term future. "New graduates entering the work force should definitely look into retirement plans,” finance expert Dedrick Muhammad said. The most popular retirement plans are 401(k) or IRAs.(Photo: Pauline St.Denis/Getty Images)

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What Is a 401(k)? - Most employers offer a 401(k), which is a qualified profit-sharing plan that allows employees to contribute a portion of their wages to an individual account, according to the IRS. There are various types of 401(k) plans, which your employer can also contribute to. Visit the IRS website here to learn more about the plans and benefits.(Photo: Getty Images)

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What Is an IRA? - If your employer does not offer a 401(k), then you may open an IRA. An IRA is an Individual Retirement Account, which allows you to open a retirement savings account with a bank with tax breaks. You can learn more about IRAs here.(Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images)

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Look Beyond the College Investment - A 2013 Prudential poll found that African-Americans were half as likely to have long-term investments like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. But you can change that. There are several types of investments and you can find one that works best for you here.(Photo: Image Source/Getty Images)

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OK, Where Do I Learn More? - Resources are out there. Muhammad writes a bi-weekly column for the Huffington Post, where he covers topics such as “where personal finance and the economy inter connect.” Also a lot of big banks have financial education curriculums. Muhammad recommends Wells Fargo’s HandsonBanking.com, which offers a plethora of material on 401(k)s, long-term banking and a host of other finance information.(Photo: Jamie Grill/Getty Images)

Other Resources - Additionally, Bank of America has a partnership with Khan Academy to give video tutorials on better spending habits.  You can log onto to Better Money Habits to check out the videos. Also ask your bank about financial education programs.(Photo: BetterMoneyHabits.com)

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Other Resources - Additionally, Bank of America has a partnership with Khan Academy to give video tutorials on better spending habits.  You can log onto to Better Money Habits to check out the videos. Also ask your bank about financial education programs.(Photo: BetterMoneyHabits.com)

I Woke Up Like Dis  - Graduation and prom season are upon us, and that means three things: super-cute outfits, popped hair, and lots of pictures. You?ve probably already perfected your selfie technique, but these tips will make you a standout in every photo you take. By Kenrya Rankin Naasel  (Photo: Pamela Moore/Getty Images)

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The Bottom Line - As a recent college graduate and new professional, there is hope to relieving yourself of debt and managing your money properly. It all starts with financial education and knowing how to find your place in this rigid economy. Set up a savings plan, pay yourself first, and stick to your weekly or monthly budget. You may have to sacrifice that night on the town, but there is always next week.(Photo: Pamela Moore/Getty Images)