Freedom Financial Network, Glow Foundation Present 6 Money Tips New Grads Should Know

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Partnership helps new college graduates build a firm educational, financial foundation

The Glow Foundation works with high school students from lower-income families – We aim to help them gain the skills they need to master their budgets.

Freedom Financial Network LLC (FFN) and the nonprofit Glow Foundation are joining forces to provide students – especially those who will graduate next month – with six money tips they need to know.

The two Bay Area organizations have teamed up to help low-income high school students bridge the gap to college with financial aid and advice.

“The Glow Foundation works with high school students from lower-income families – students who often have not yet had the opportunity to learn to manage their money,” said Peter Kim, executive director of the San Francisco-based organization. “Once they graduate, many of them begin to take charge of their own budgets. We aim to help them gain the skills they need to master their budgets.”

Andrew Housser, co-founder and CEO of FFN, added, “Most students receive very little education to help them achieve financial literacy. By helping these young people learn how to handle their money, we believe we can help create brighter futures for them and for the lives they will touch in the future.”

FFN and Glow have joined to create this list of six money tips all new graduates should know as they move into the next phase of their lives:

1.    Always live with a budget. A budget is simply an accounting of how much money is coming in and how much money is going out. Responsible people avoid spending beyond their incomes. Each month (or more often – some people prefer to check in daily or every pay period), add up your salary and other income. Also total your bills, including housing, food, car payments, student loan payments and savings. If the difference is negative, the budgeter needs to quickly find a way cut costs or add income.

2.    Always pay bills on time. Paying bills on time is imperative. Late payments incur additional interest, fees, and higher interest rates. A history of late payments also can damage a credit score. And the lower a credit score goes, the more a borrower will pay in interest rates on future loans, including auto and home loans.

3.    Always save something. In the early years of employment, times can be tight. But a smart graduate will begin saving part of every paycheck. Even if it is only a few dollars, young people should get in the habit of putting money into a savings account daily, weekly or monthly. This money can form an emergency fund, and as it grows can be invested in a home or retirement.

4.    Invest in retirement. When they get their first “real” job, workers should join their employer’s retirement savings plan as soon as possible, and invest to achieve the employer’s matching funds. Most people should aim to save at least 10 percent of their income for retirement. For young people, this is even more important: The funds they save in their earliest working years have time to grow the most before retirement age approaches.

5.    Plan ahead for expenses. Thinking ahead can help people be financially prepared and provide peace of mind. Some expenses are not monthly, but happen a few times a year. For example, insurance policies, car repairs, gift-giving occasions, tuition and other costs might occur quarterly, twice a year or annually. By estimating the annual total, dividing it by 12 (the number of months in the year), and saving that amount each month, young people can build the habit of staying prepared for unexpected expenses.

6.    Stay out of unhealthy debt. Some debt can be considered “healthy.” Included in this category are student loans, which is as an investment in an education the benefits of which should outlive the debt itself. Many other types of debt are unhealthy. That includes credit card debt, personal loan debt, payday loans and other bills for non-lasting purchases.

“These six tips can make a world of difference in a person’s financial future,” Housser said. “We urge all of this year’s graduates, whether from high school or college, to make a promise to themselves to stay in the best financial shape they can. After all, financial literacy is a key to their futures.”

FFN’s support of the Glow Foundation combines scholarship assistance with hands-on financial literacy efforts. The company has helped fund the development and administration of a school adoption mentoring program, scholarships benefiting the students of the mentored schools, the matching grant program for student scholarships, and Glow’s signature fundraising dinner. In addition, FFN has contributed to the development of a Web-based financial education program. FFN employees also serve as mentors, assisting students in the Glow program through the college application and financial aid application process, and in creating and using a personal financial budget.

About Glow Foundation (http://www.glowfoundation.org)
Glow Foundation provides financial education, mentoring, and scholarships to high potential, college-ready students from under-resourced communities. In addition to helping low-income students gain access to college education, Glow provides students with critical financial literacy and planning skills to help them succeed beyond their school years.

Since its 2006 founding, the San Francisco-based nonprofit organization has served more than 1,300 students through its financial education program at partner schools and youth programs in the Bay Area, and has awarded scholarships to 90 students. Eighty percent of the organization’s students are the first in their families to attend college.

About Freedom Financial Network (http://www.freedomfinancialnetwork.com)
Freedom Financial Network, LLC (FFN), provides consumer debt resolution services through its Freedom Debt Relief and Freedom Tax Relief business units. Working for the consumer to negotiate with creditors and lower principal balances due, the company has resolved more than $1 billion in debt for nearly 100,000 clients since 2002.

Based in San Mateo, Calif., FFN also operates an office in Tempe, Ariz. The company, with more than 500 employees, was voted one of the best places to work in the San Francisco Bay area in 2008 and 2009, and in the Phoenix area in 2008, 2009 and 2010. FFN’s founders received the Northern California Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008.

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Aimee Bennett
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