How to Set Yourself Up for the Real World After University

It can sometimes feel like you’re in an isolated bubble in a tertiary education setting. While you might have a part-time job to help pay your way, you’re wrapped up in an educational environment where your days revolve around studying and socializing. 

As your educational period comes to an end and graduation looms nearer, you might suddenly have the realization that you’re about to enter the real world where you’ll have real-world obligations. As daunting as this prospect can be, you can set yourself up for the next chapter of your life in some of the following ways: 

Think About Retirement

It’s never too early to start thinking about retirement, especially when you’re about to enter the workforce with your fresh new degree. Look at different retirement funds you can start contributing to as soon as you land your first job.

For example, Australians might hire an SMSF accountant to assist with their self-managed super funds, while Americans might explore defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans, of which there are many in the United States.  When you start planning for retirement early, you can potentially maximize your contributions and retire with a comfortable nest egg in your later years. 

Plan Your Career Path

A new degree can be exciting, especially when you know it can help you secure employment in a field with endless growth opportunities. While you likely know that you want to work in a specific field, there can be no harm in planning how you see your career playing out so you can take steps to achieve your future goals. For example, healthcare workers with nursing degrees might see themselves starting as registered nurses before working their way up into specialist roles with additional study and training. 

Organize Housing

Many university students live in dorms or shared student apartments, which can be more than sufficient while you’re gaining an education. However, new housing can be required once you graduate. 

While some graduates return home to their families to start working and saving money, others must make alternative arrangements. Depending on your financial situation, you might be able to rent an apartment on your own or with someone else. Alternatively, boarding can be a cost-effective option when you’re trying to save money while establishing yourself in a post-university life. 

Set a Budget

How you spend your money in university or college can greatly differ from your spending habits once you enter the workforce. You typically must cover more weekly costs, such as utilities, rent, insurance, car payments, and groceries. 

Managing money can be challenging when you don’t always have the same support network as you did as a student, so make budgeting your priority. Follow the 50-30-20 budget rule popularized by United States Senator Elizabeth Warren, in which you split your income into three spending categories. Set aside half for your needs, 30% for your wants, and 20% for your savings. 

Setting yourself up for the real world after multiple years of study can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Set time aside to focus on budgeting, housing, your career, and retirement, and you might be surprised by how in control and organized you feel.

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