Financial Tips for the Class of 2017

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In this segment of Industry Focus: Financials, Motley Fool analyst Gaby Lapera talks with Dan Caplinger, a Motley Fool personal finance expert contributor, to congratulate new graduates and offer some ideas on how they can manage their money. Between budgeting, setting up an emergency account, and just getting a grip on how money really works, young adults can make sure they get the right start in their financial lives.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on June 19, 2017.

Gaby Lapera: We talked a little bit about student loans, taxes, 401(k), all the boring adult stuff that you're hoping to put off, so one more boring adult thing, which is, you should really, really start building an emergency fund if you don't have one. An emergency fund is great for unexpected expenses like, all of your tires got punctured all at one time. I don't know what you were doing, it was probably a bad idea, but there you go, you have your emergency fund to pay for it, you don't have to scramble and worry about it, you don't have to take money out of any of your retirement accounts to pay for it. Having this emergency fund is a pretty essential component of being an adult. And all of this may sound very overwhelming, but there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself. The first and foremost is make a budget and stick to it. Budgets don't work if you don't actually make them work. Then, the other thing you can do, which I mentioned earlier, is set a certain amount of your paycheck to automatically deposit into your savings or your retirement account, so that you can slowly start building these things up. Like I said, you won't even notice the money is gone, because it will never have hit your bank account in the first place. Hopefully, you're lucky enough to be working at a job that pays you enough to do that. If not, hopefully one day in the future, you will be, and in the meantime, you can always budget and try and find a little bit extra. Dan, do you have any last-minute advice here, end-of-the-show advice?

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Dan Caplinger: Yeah. Don't let this sort of thing overwhelm you. Part of the reason why employers get all this paperwork done all upfront is so you don't have to worry about it. Once you get it done once and get it set up well, it can keep going pretty much automatically for quite a while, and that's what you want to do. It's worth taking the time upfront to make sure you understand what's going on. But, once you do that, you should have the confidence, like, "Hey, I've set things up well, it's going to work for me for now. Sure, in the future my life will change and I'm going to need to take a closer look at it again. But, for now, I have everything set up the way I need to. Now I can focus on doing my job, doing it well, getting a good start to my career."

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