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Special Report

A Financial Guide on What to Do After College

Use these resources to help you set up retirement savings, tackle debt, and begin investing.

Congratulations, graduates! Now that your march to "Pomp and Circumstance" is over, here comes the fun part: navigating your first job, setting up your first investments ... the list goes on. To help you with the many "firsts" that you will experience after graduating from college, we reached out to our experts for advice and built this guide. 

Understand Your Company's Benefits 

A big part of starting a new job is understanding your benefits. What retirement savings plans does your new employer offer? Are you eligible to invest in a health savings account, or will a flexible savings account be a better fit? Where is the best place to begin? These tips will help you get started. 

How to Size Up a Job's Benefits
When evaluating a job offer and negotiating a salary, take missing benefits into account.

Five (Easy) Steps to Setting Up a 401(k)
Cross this big to-do off your list by following these easy guidelines.

What's the Difference Between a 401(k) and Roth IRA?
Find out how saving now can really matter later.

HSA vs. FSA: How to Choose One
Get to know the differences between them and find out which one is right for you.

How to Invest In Your 401(k)
Starting a new job? Here's a beginner's manual to understanding 401(k)s.

Manage Your Money 

Earning your own money can be exciting. It's important to remember that you will have to make some important decisions about where those dollars go. These articles will help you find balance by creating a budget, preparing for the worst with an emergency fund, and making sure you keep your goals in mind.  

How Much in Taxes Is Taken Out of Your Paycheck?
Where does the money go, and what is it used for?

Short Answer: How to Create a Budget
If you're just starting out, don't wing it with your expenses.

Short Answer: How to Create an Emergency Fund
Setting aside money for unexpected expenses could help soften financial hits.

How Gig Economy Workers Can Save for Retirement
Here are four things to keep in mind.

Quantify and Set Financial Goals
How investment multitaskers can prioritize competing financial objectives.

Tackle Debt 

Debt is an intimidating subject, and reality, for a lot of people—especially college graduates. Check out these methods for taking control of your debt, answers to your questions about student loans, and tips for improving your credit score.  

How to Get Out of Debt
Here's how using debt snowball or debt avalanche can help you become debt-free.

Should I Pay Off My Student Loans?
Is paying down your loans while payments are suspended the best use of your dollars?

5 Questions About Student Loan Forgiveness
We take a closer look at the numbers to determine the impact of canceling student loans at different levels on both individual households and the larger economy.

7 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score
These tips can help you establish or improve your credit.

Learn About Investing 

Before you download a brokerage app or open up an investment account, take some time to learn the basics about investing. These resources have you covered, from the best books to learn from to the most common investment vehicles to start with.

How to Begin Investing

An Investing Road Map for Early Career Accumulators
Tips on getting the most bang for your investment dollars when you're just starting out.

What Are Target-Date Funds?
Investors in target-date funds can set up a diversified portfolio and maintain a sensible asset allocation for decades without breaking a sweat.

What Is an Exchange-Traded Fund?
We explain what ETFs are, how to use them, and how to find the best ones.

What Are Mutual Funds?
We break down the basics of one of the most common investment vehicles for new investors.

Best Investing Podcasts for Beginners
Check out these recommendations from Morningstar's employees.

7 Great Investing Books for Beginners
Want to get smarter about investing? Check out some of these books.