GraduationDiploma in hand, you’ve graduated from college to the real world. Congratulations! Exciting, isn’t it? With a job and a paycheck, virtually anything can be yours. On the other hand, you’ve probably never faced so many challenges before. How will you handle this “adulting” thing?

At WCFCU, we’ve helped many a new grad start on the path to personal and financial independence. The following suggestions may work for you, too:

  1. Don’t rush big decisions. You’re bound to have learned a lot in college. But maybe not about choices like where to live, whether to buy a car, and what to do if your job doesn’t offer health insurance. Until you get comfortable with the issues involved, feel free to discuss important decisions with parents or trusted friends before making up your mind.
  2. Stay on top of your money. First jobs are notoriously low-paying, so you’ll need to plan your spending in order not to run flat between paychecks. You may want to follow the classic 50/20/30 rule, which calls for dedicating half your income to essentials (rent, debt payment, etc.), 20{a16c29276902c0134dc3724dc6f6a60124a484baf737123e94c02cf5a4efbdc5} to savings, and 30{a16c29276902c0134dc3724dc6f6a60124a484baf737123e94c02cf5a4efbdc5} to flexible spending on things like clothes and entertainment. You can get help with this on, which helps you track your outgo against your income.
  3. Take responsibility. True adulting means taking responsibility for what you do. No excuses, no finger-pointing—and no hiding your light under a bushel when things go well. Claim your competence. Earning a raise or a step up the company ladder is as simple as showing that other people can rely on you.
  4. Get involved. One of the great things about you is that you want to make a difference. Make time to help the homeless, tutor a struggling student, or plant a community garden. Don’t just talk about change; walk it.
  5. Stay healthy. Scientists say that brainpower peaks around age 22. Enjoy it, and don’t kill brain cells unnecessarily. Be good to the rest of your body, too. With luck, you’ll be able to call it home for another half century or more.
  6. Have fun. Grown-ups who tell you, “Oh, grow up!” have got it all wrong. Stay curious, impressionable, and open-hearted. “Youth has no age,” as Picasso said. To us, that’s the best kind of adulting.

Picasso quote: