For the class of 2008 it is time to prepare for some life lessons beyond Econ 101.
"Just managing your expenses and realizing how expensive everything is," can be real shocker once you leave the dorm, says Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt.
And while for some grads, the "real world" will mean cashing a big signing bonus, for others, it will require trying to stretch an intern's salary far enough to cover rent.
No matter where you and your diploma are headed, MainStreet has a two-part roadmap to financial well-being.
START TO ESTABLISH CREDIT
Upon graduating, you should get a copy of your credit report for "a first look at where things are," says Kamentz. She suggests annualcreditreport.com, which offers a credit report once every 12 months. Tory Johnson adds that even if you’re a total newbie and you don’t think you have anything on your credit report, you should check anyway to make sure it does not have any inaccuracies on it.
And even if you don’t have a credit score yet, you can start to transition any contracts that may have been under your mom or dad’s name – such as your cell phone or your car payments – to your name, adds Johnson, founder and CEO of Women for Hire. That way you’ll establish good credit by paying your bills on time, which will help you rent an apartment in the future, among other things.LEARN HOW TO NEGOTIATE
One of the best ways to achieve a reasonable living budget is negotiating the highest salary possible at your first job. According to Johnson, most job candidates do not negotiate, although men are four times more likely to haggle over their salary. As a result, Johnson says, most women, can lose out on approximately $500,000 in earnings over the course of their career. Check salary.com or payscale.com for ballpark entry-level salary figures in your industry. "You may never, ever be comfortable with [negotiating your salary]," says Johnson. "But you have to do it anyway.”