June 12, 2019
Congratulations Class of 2019,
Graduating from high school is a wonderful life achievement. Your big accomplishment also comes with great financial responsibility. Once the cake is served, and the graduation cards are open, it's time to move onto your next phase of adulthood.
When you find yourself enjoying a beautiful afternoon this summer, take a moment to tally up your monetary gifts from friends, family and loved ones. These days the average graduate can receive anywhere from $400 to $1,000. Before you go spending your loot, ask yourself, what am I looking to achieve my first semester at college? Better yet, what am I looking to accomplish over the next five years?
You may not yet know of all life’s great secrets, but here’s a financial tip for success throughout your future. The sooner you begin planning your financial goals, the sooner you will achieve long-term financial success. Let's examine three primary banking products and services, before you embark on your next big journey in life.
1. Personal Checking
When looking over your graduation earnings, it's important to remember you have options. You may think all personal checking accounts are the same. These days banks offer a variety of checking accounts for different lifestyles. If you spend your life on-the-go, for example, look for an account with benefits like free ATM access, online and mobile banking, and phone alerts. These are features that allow you to bank when and where you want.
Many local banks also offer checking accounts specifically designed for young adults and college students. These accounts allow students to store their spending money in one secure place, while also allowing for no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees. Many local banks are also able to offer Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay. With a mobile banking wallet, students can connect their debit or credit cards straight to their smart watch.
There are also specific checking accounts available to you which can help you build interest and earn rewards. Before you head back to school, take a moment to browse personal checking options online. If you have any additional questions, it’s worth heading to your local bank to speak with an associate.
2. Personal Savings Accounts
Over the history of banking, studies have consistently proven the importance of long-term saving. People who save their money over time are more likely to also report living a happier life than those who do not. Consider putting aside at least half of your graduation money into a personal saving account.
Choosing to deposit a portion of your graduation earnings into a savings account is a surefire way to gain early financial success at school. It’s important to have a “rainy day” fund, or a financial emergency fund, for life’s unplanned events. Committing now to a simple saving goal will eventually enable you to achieve your five-year financial plan.
When you choose to put your money into a personal savings account, consider the annual percentage yield. The annual percentage yield (APY) is the effective annual rate of return on your money. Watch your money savings grow quicker with a higher yield.
3. Online & Mobile Banking
Online banking in the 21st century is pretty much a guarantee. What you might not know, however, is that your online banking experience can be so much more than simply viewing your checking or savings balance. Are you changing your address this fall? Maybe you need to alert your financial intuition that you’re traveling out of the country for spring break? Oftentimes, those notifications can be made straight from online banking. You don’t even have to make a trip to the bank.
If you're already planning on accessing your mobile device for financial information, another online banking feature to consider is the mobile app. Are you planning on getting a job while away at school? With mobile banking, you can deposit checks, schedule transfers, view account balances, monitor pending transactions, and pay bills all from your mobile device.
You may be leaving home to pursue your academic dreams, but your local bank is only a fingerprint away. If you don’t have a banking relationship with your local bank already, consider starting one before you head off to college.
Check that off your college “to do” list now.
Jim Oosterman is the Senior Vice President of Melrose Bank and a lifelong resident of Melrose. He can be reached by telephone at 781-665-2500, online at melrosebank.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/MelroseBank.