Updated: 7.1.22:

In observance of Independence Day, our branches and corporate offices will be closed on Monday, July 4.

Straight out of College- Tips towards Financial Success for Recent College Graduates

Congratulations! You have made it to the real world! You got your first ‘real’ job and you’re feeling on top of the world excited for new adventures. But now what? Where do you go from here?

Here’s a few reminders about how to stay financially responsible.


  1. Stay on top of your Student Loans

 It is normal to see many college graduates come out owing some sort of student loan. (You are not alone!) But it’s not as scary as it may seem. All you have to do is make it a priority. Remember you can ALWAYS pay more than the balance due. This will set you up to pay your debt off faster and potentially save you money.

There are many ways to stay on top of your student loans. The following resources can

help lead you in the right direction.


National Student Loan Data System

Allows you to look up information about your loans.



Federal Student Aid Office

Gives information on loan repayment, forgiveness, deferral and forbearance.



National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan

Borrower Assistance Project

Lays out repayment options for borrowers.


  1. Keep your credit in check.

To start off, what exactly is credit? Credit essentially is borrowing money that you plan to pay back. Credit gives the opportunity for people to invest in bigger purchases that they might not have been able to do immediately on their own.

A trip to Las Vegas might seem like a great idea for after graduation, right? And using your credit card the entire time makes it really easy to blow through borrowed funds… then comes day of the month that you are responsible to pay it back (And you can’t because you forgot about your electric and water bill that hit the same day). You now find yourself stuck. And this one mistake could lead to a chain of unpaid or late payments.

Stay on top of your payments! Set up auto-payments, set up reminders, do anything that will remind you to pay your bills on time. Be responsible with your credit. Doing so will allow your credit to stay in a good place.


  1. Budget. Budget.

With your new job, you may be making more money than you ever have in your lifetime. But hold your horses, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to worry about budgeting.

It is vital to consider what you are spending money on and how much you are willing to spend each day, month, year, and so on.

How do you determine your budget you may ask? Click here to calculate what budget works best for you.


  1. Make Savings a Priority.

Doesn’t this belong in budgeting? Yes, indeed it does- but it’s such an important component, it needed its own recognition.

Let’s say your car breaks down, and it’s a $2,000.00 fix. Luckily, you have been responsible and saved $100.00 a month since freshman year of college. Because you stayed on top of saving, you’re able to pay for your vehicle to be fixed.

Now this isn’t always the case. What if you didn’t save anything at all? Where will you come up with $2,000.00 to fix your car before your job starts next week? You’ll find yourself in a rut.

A great way to save is setting aside money from each paycheck, or week in order to make sure you have a safety net when you need one.

How can you get started? Click here for a savings calculator.


  1. Retirement Savings already? YES!

We know, we know. You JUST graduated from college, which means it’s time to start saving towards your retirement.

It is your ‘younger selves’ responsibility to set up your life once you retire. Consider retirement plans such as 401(K) s, 403(B) s, and 457(B) s.

How do you determine your retirement needs? Click here to learn more.


Life after graduation is a fun, exciting time, to learn more about yourself, your passions, and what you want out of this world. Being financially responsible will only lead to further success. Nothing feels greater than financial freedom.

Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and founded in 1949 within the aviation industry, Piedmont Advantage Credit Union (PACU) serves member-owners, who reside, work, worship, attend school or operate a business in one of the six counties it serves in North Carolina or who are employed by one of its many employer companies. These six counties are Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Rockingham.

Back to top