I Just Graduated from College, Welcome to My Private Jet

by Stacy Tharp 18. October 2012

Average Starting Salaries for College GradsHey college grads - picture this: after receiving your diploma, you’ve landed a great job at a Fortune 500 company and you’ve got a killer apartment in Harbor East overlooking the water, on which you spend your weekends out on your new boat, where your new “bling” sparkles in the sunlight. Now take a safety pin and pop that ridiculous dream cloud. I could say I’m sorry for smashing (or popping) your dreams, but instead I’m going to say welcome to the real world!

You may have once been the big man on campus, but have you ever heard of the big-fish-little-pond effect? Welcome to the ocean. Now, if you are intelligent, motivated, and a hard worker, I’m sure you’ll go far in your chosen career…but no matter how intelligent, motivated, and hard-working you are, chances are you’ll be beginning your career in a tiny cubicle with a measly paycheck. Oh, and don’t forget about those lovely student loans that it’s time to start paying off.

In order to avoid that “I-think-I-should-be-able-to-live-like-a-rock-star-since-I’m-done-with-college-and-have-a-real-job-now” complex, take into consideration some of these tips for managing your money when you first enter the real world:

  • Open a checking and savings account if you don’t already have them. Though you are no longer a student, many banks will still allow you to open a student/starter checking account, which generally offers some extra advantages over other basic checking accounts.
  • Set a monthly and weekly budget. Figure out how much money you’ll need for bills each month, decide on a realistic amount of money you plan on saving, then take the rest and do the math (yup, still using math out of school) to figure out how to spread out your spending money evenly over the course of the month. Online personal finance management tools can be helpful with this.
  • Make sacrifices. After you create your budget, chances are you’ll have less spending money than you would’ve hoped for, so you’re going to have to prioritize your wants. Do you have to have that Starbucks latte every morning? That’s fine, but you may have to cut out those Thursday evening Happy Hours.
  • Pay all of your bills on time. You can do this easily using a bill pay service, which allows you to schedule payments ahead of time and set up recurring monthly payments. If you find that you are having trouble paying your bills on time, reconfigure your budget.
  • Open a credit card account. Stick to one credit card at first, and don’t charge things to your card that you can’t actually afford.
  • Take advantage of any benefits that your new job offers. Health insurance plans are generally much cheaper when you purchase them through your employer, and many companies offer 401(k) matching benefits. You need to start saving for retirement anyway (unless you plan on working forever), so you might as well let your employer help add to your fund.

The GOOD news is, at some point you’ll start making more money. When this happens, you can add a little more to your weekly budget, but seeing as you’ve been able to survive on your current budget, try to think about your long-term goals and add most of your extra cash to your savings.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

How I Graduated Debt-Free from College

Money in Your 30s: Manage It, Don't Be Managed by It

The Imaginary Mortgage: Fake It Til You Make It

Are You Ready for Flacco Fridays?

by Stacy Tharp 14. September 2012

 

***This Contest is Now Closed***

 

Update - 10/22/2012

The first five weeks of Flacco Fridays were a great success! We got tons of excellent quetions each week! See our Facebook page to view Joe's answers to your five most intriguing questions of each week. In order to keep things interesting, we will be changing the rules for our next series of contests. Stay tuned for details on the new rules and how to enter!

 

Do you have a question you've just been dying to ask Baltimore's Quarterback, Joe Flacco? If not, it's time to get out that notepad and brainstorming hat. On Friday, September 14th Team Flacco and 1st Mariner Bank will be kicking off "Flacco Fridays," a series of weekly Facebook contests that will run through the end of the football season.

So what's happening this week? Great question. Speaking of great questions...well, read on for a general overview:
  • Think of one question that you would like to ask Joe Flacco.
  • Visit the Joe Flacco Official Fan Page on Facebook, and post your question on the wall.
  • Team Flacco will select the top five most intriguing questions.
  • Joe will answer the top five selected questions, and those questions, along with Joe's answers will be posted on 1st Mariner Bank's Facebook page throughout the day on Friday, October 12th.
  • The person who asks the number one most intriguing question will not only get his/her question answered by Joe, he/she will also win a prize!
Exciting, huh? If you would like to participate in this contest, keep reading! Here are the nitty-gritty details:
  • Fans may submit their questions beginning Friday, October 6th through Wednesday, October 10th at 11:59 p.m. Questions must be submitted on Joe Flacco's Official Fan Page Facebook wall.
  • Joe's answers to the five most intriguing questions will be posted one at a time throughout the day on Friday, October 12th on 1st Mariner Bank's Facebook page (countdown style).
  • The number one question of the week will be the last one posted on 1st Mariner's Facebook page. The person who submitted the question must either send 1st Mariner Bank a direct message on Facebook or call 410-735-2035 to claim his/her prize.

If your question is not selected, don't fret! We will be starting from scratch the following week...and the three weeks after that (for a grand total of five weeks)! New contest, same rules.

After five weeks we will begin a brand new "Flacco Fridays" contest. Stay tuned for more details!

Tip: If you "like" Joe Flacco's and 1st Mariner Bank's Facebook page, you will get news feed alerts detailing information about each week's contest over the course of the football season.

Good luck!

How Your Credit Score Affects Your Health

by Stacy Tharp 5. September 2012

Having a good credit score is important. We all know that. We’ve all seen the commercials, been told who checks our scores and why, and heard horror stories about what can happen when you have a bad credit history. (But if you’d like a refresher on credit scores, read Credit Scores: GPAs for Adults.) But what if I told you that having poor credit can have adverse effects on not just your financial life, but also on your health?

Before I begin to explain my reasoning behind this claim, it is important to note that I am not a doctor, nor do I have a medical degree, nor have I ever considered attempting a medical degree. That was a career path that I was able to quickly rule out after nearly passing out in high school Biology class while attempting to dissect the organs of farm animals…but that’s a story for another day. (Stay tuned!) I DO, however, have the ability to perform some skillful research! So with that, I’d like to share some of my findings.

Stress

Calls from creditors or collection agencies, realizing that you are spending more money than you’re making, waking up each morning in fear that this will be the day that your water or electricity will be turned off, an unexpected and costly emergency for which you are financially unprepared. These are all examples of situations that could easily leave you in a perpetual state of stress. According to Psych Central, long-term stress can cause high blood pressure, susceptibility to infection, slow recovery from illnesses and possibly even diabetes.

Health Insurance

Since many employers check their potential employees’ credit scores, having a low credit score can make it difficult for you to find a job. If you can’t get a job because of your credit score, besides having something to add to the list of things that can cause you stress, you won’t be able to take advantage of low health insurance rates that companies often provide for their employees. You may be forced to purchase insurance with high premiums, high deductibles, and/or limited coverage. Having sub-par health insurance might lead you to try to avoid visits to the doctor’s office, which of course could lead to the possibility of medical issues not being properly addressed.

Emotional Health

According to Daily Finance, overspending can be connected to such emotional states as avoidance, depression and low self-esteem. Overspending can in turn lead to a low credit score due to high credit card balances. These emotional states are most likely a cause, rather than an effect, of overspending. According to Advantage Credit Counseling Service, having a positive mental outlook is essential for effective debt management.

If you have experienced any of the symptoms or behaviors I have mentioned, it is essential that you talk to your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

If you have difficulty managing your debt, here are a few things you can try:

Be sure to teach your children at a young age how to be financially responsible, and maintain that good credit score yourself, if not for financial reasons, then for your health!

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

True or False? Five Myths About Credit Scores Unveiled

Four Things the Easter Bunny Taught Me About My Credit

How I Graduated Debt-free from College



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