What an exciting time – watching your child graduate from college! While your feelings may be of pride, your recent graduate may be struggling with financial anxiety.

The average student loan debt for the Class of 2018 was $29,800. Your child may have more or less student loan debt depending on the college they attended.

Even if they secured a good paying job, adulting might be the hardest transition they’ve had to make in life so far. Their first paycheck as a graduate may be the most substantial amount of money they’ve ever received.

Help your adult child during this transition by talking about finances. If you’re not comfortable talking about this topic, then recommend a CFP® professional for them to meet.

As you talk with your recent graduate about money, encourage them to implement these five items.

1- Create and follow a spending plan.

This action will set guidelines on how they spend their take-home pay. They’ll become aware of their taxes and paycheck deductions.

They’ll learn to allocate money to pay off past spending, to live life now, and to save for their future. A spending plan will help them be proactive in taking control of their finances.

2- Understand their student loan(s).

Federal loans have benefits such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans. There are also Forgiveness Programs for those who qualify. It’s important to stress to your recent graduate not to consolidate Federal loans with private loans or else they risk losing the benefits of their Federal loan.  

A CFP® professional or a Certified Student Loan Professional can help them navigate the complex nature of student loans. For updated information, encourage them to read Adam S. Minsky’s blog (an attorney who specializes in student loans).

3- Be aware of benefits offered by their employer.

Employers may offer matching contribution to their retirement savings plan. Some may have access to complimentary financial advice.

A new benefit some employers are offering is to match retirement savings with the amount the employee is paying towards reducing their student loan. Employer benefits exist to help employees, but the employee needs to initiate action, especially when there’s free money.

4- Set up automatic savings.

Most employers can split a paycheck to be deposited into two accounts. By automating a portion of their paycheck to be deposited into a savings account, your recent graduate will achieve their saving targets.  

5- Pay the full balance of credit cards every month.

By paying the full balance of each credit card every month, your recent graduate will stick to their spending plan. They’ll think twice before charging their credit card for something that is beyond their budget.

If they currently carry a balance on their credit card, then encourage them to pay the full amount of any new charges while paying off the balance. Help them calculate how much money they are wasting by carrying a balance.

With the increase in the cost for college, more students graduate with a student loan. The amount of this debt can create financial anxiety as they struggle to figure out how to repay this debt and save for the future while living life. Help your recent graduate fight financial anxiety by sharing with them these five suggestions.


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”