As you transition from College life to the working world, there are several traps you need to avoid in order to get your finances on track. Forming positive financial habits now will position you for long term success.
 
Avoid these traps:
 
Not using a budget. Determine the amount of money you bring home after taxes. Then calculate how much money you can spend each month while still putting money in your savings account. Remember to account for monthly expenses like student loans, groceries, car loans and transportation expenses.
 
Skipping an emergency fund. You need to have at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses.  Even if you can only put aside a very small amount in the beginning, you need to start somewhere. A special savings account is a good place to keep this money.
 
Accumulating debt. Understand how credit works and the responsibilities that go with it. Look around before choosing a credit card and only use it for amounts that you can truly afford to pay right away. Establishing credit is important, but you can easily damage your credit if you do not choose to use it wisely.
 
Late bill payments or not paying your bills. Every missed payment can affect your credit history for as long as seven years. Ultimately, the late payments can affect your ability to get a loan, what interest rate you’ll pay, whether or not you get a job or can rent an apartment. Experts strongly suggest that you set up automatic payments for monthly bills. You can easily set them up through online banking.
 
Not giving your future enough thought. Even though you are just beginning your career, you need to start planning for retirement. Most employer’s offer a 401(k) account, so you need to take advantage of this program. Contribute enough to qualify for your company’s full match. That’s free money that adds up over time.
 
Don’t ignore help from your bank. Marquette Bank offers mobile, online and texting tools to help you manage your finances 24 hours a day. Use the tools available to check balances, pay bills, deposit checks, monitor transaction history and track your budget.
 
If you have any questions or need a free financial review, please call Marquette Bank’s Customer Service Center at 1-888-254-9500.
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