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Money Fix: college grads' financial start

After all the pomp and circumstance is through,

After all the pomp and circumstance is through, graduates still have to do their homework for good, solid financial planning. (May 17, 2013) Credit: Getty

After all the pageantry and partying of college graduation, reality sets in. What next? Get off to a good financial start. Here's how.

Take loans seriously: Read all mail and email about your student loans. Set up automatic payments. "If you foresee any problems making payments, be upfront with your lender," says David Flores, group manager for GreenPath in Jericho.

Defy odds: The job market isn't great. Get help from someone who has interviewed job applicants, says Ted Karkus, CEO of ProPhase Labs in Doylestown, Pa., to help identify your strengths and abilities.

Prepare. When interviewing, know the company's products, customers and challenges -- and how you can add value. "Write five bullet points that you don't want to leave the room without saying," says Thomas Ward Jr., executive director of the Center for Career Development at Adelphi University in Garden City.

Go high-deductible: These health insurance policies typically have cheaper premiums. If you're relatively healthy and don't visit the doctor often, a high-deductible plan may be right for you, says Carrie McLean, consumer specialist at

Live below your means: "Set aside 20 percent of every paycheck and live on the rest, and you'll accumulate wealth," says Tom Corley, author of "Rich Habits." Use apps and websites like to budget.

Save: Enroll in your company's 401(k). Retirement seems light-years away, but saving early is one the smartest financial moves you can make.

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