FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR FRESH GRADUATES
Quote of the week:” Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the Driver~Ayn Rand
Although the saying “better late than never” is applicable in many instances in life, for new graduates it is not the best policy. After the excitement of graduation wears off, having bills to pay and a big student loan to repay can make the paycheck you were so excited about to appear little. If one is not careful, they could use this as an excuse to postpone investing. New graduates can use the following tips to help them make the most of their first salary:-
Spending too Much on Rent
A common financial guideline is to ensure your rent is not more than 30% of your net salary. This may be a difficult rule to follow especially in Nairobi where rent is typically high. However, creative solutions like sub-letting and getting roommates could help you stick to this guideline.
Not Taking Advantage of Employer Pension Schemes
For most new graduates, retirement often seems like a far off event which can be deferred indefinitely. If you are offered a savings plan for retirement whereby your employer matches your contribution, use it. Most new graduates tend to view this as depleting their net income rather than an investment. Not taking advantage this is like turning down a raise.
Avoid paying unnecessary charges like overdraft fees and late penalties. Transacting in banking halls also costs more in terms of time and money. While these amounts may seem insignificant in isolation, over time they add up to a lot. Using a Zimele Personal Finance diary can help you track all your expenses and help you keep your budget in control.
How many times have you walked into the supermarket with the intention to spend only Kshs. 200 on one item and ended up spending more than Kshs. 500 on various items? Spending on impulse will usually leave you broke with many items that you do not need. When shopping, always ensure you have a list and make sure you stick to it. For the items that you need, try to reduce your expense via loyalty point rewards and looking out for more affordable variations of the same product.
Paying for things you don’t use
On getting your first job, it may seem exciting to pay for expensive services like subscription TV channels which you barely have time to watch. Consider service providers who do not charge for their products or renting DVDs of your favorite movies or series. Make value judgments about what services are worth paying for on a monthly basis. Cut the subscriptions you don’t use and scale back anything you can get at a lower price.
Using Credit Cards
Young adults are usually more susceptible to the attractions of credit cards than older individuals. The urge to spend to keep up with your peers can get you deep in debt with little or nothing of value to show in return. Credit cards are a vicious cycle, because they make it easy to buy things even when money is tight. The best way to deal with a credit card problem is to avoid getting into it in the first place. Pay for your purchases with cash and stick to debit cards when shopping.