Starting Your Career and Credit Right

Published on Oct 01, 2013 11:17 am

Similar to your GPA, which can reflect your academic discipline, your credit score is a three-digit number that shows how financially responsible you are. It can give lenders a glimpse into how you handle the responsibilities you take on and if you’re ready for additional obligations.

If you recently graduated college, you may be looking for or beginning your first entry-level job. With a new career come new financial obligations. Here are some helpful tips for nurturing a solid score and healthy personal finances post-college.

Check Your Credit Score Just like you checked your grades after finals, checking your credit report can be a good way to establish a solid financial future. Don’t make the common credit mistake many post-grads make and wait until a major purchase to know your score or any issues that may be on your report.

Reviewing what’s included in your report at least once a year can help you determine areas you want to improve as well as identify any inaccuracies or suspicious activity before it causes too much damage to your personal finances.

Make Your PaymentsWhile in college, you may have accrued student debt and possibly opened your first credit card or financed your first car. While entry-level jobs don’t pay the big bucks right away, it’s important to make at least the minimum payments on all of your loans on time. But don’t stop at doing the minimum; paying larger increments will reduce your debt faster and save money on interest.

Start Saving NowBetween a low-paying, entry-level job and new financial responsibilities, many post-grads feel they can’t afford to start a savings account right away. However, it can be slippery slope into unmanageable debt if you plan to rely on credit cards in an emergency. Review your personal budget and identify where you can cut back so you can start putting those funds away. Should an emergency arise – or even an opportunity for a fun splurge – you’ll be thankful for the cushion.

Just as kicking off a new semester with good study habits can keep your GPA strong, exercising credit discipline early in your career can set you up for a strong credit score and prosperous future. Keep these lessons in mind and your personal finances will stay ahead of the class.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from, Inc.  © 2013, Inc.  All rights reserved.

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