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Financial Planning

Grad Guide to the Real World

Congratulations graduates, commencement season has arrived. But what do you know about handling your finances now that you're on your own? We show students how to start out on the right foot, and give parents the tools to point their kids in the best

From kindergartener to college graduate, you have spent at least 17 years of your life in school. You've mastered addition and subtraction, taken on the English novel, and tried to make sense of Middle Eastern history. Now you're graduating, and you're about to step out into the real world only to realize you don't know squat -- especially when it comes to money matters.

Relax, we're here for you. We've gathered dozens of your most pressing questions and answered them in language you can understand -- even if you aren't a finance major. Because in the real world, there is no extra credit to make up for your mistakes.

If you're not a graduate, but you happen to be a concerned -- er, well-wishing -- parent, our manual can give you the tools you need to guide your grad in the right financial direction.

Although your formal education may be coming to an end, a whole new learning experience is about to begin. Behold: Everything you wish you had learned in school ... but didn't.

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Spending & Saving
Do you really need a budget? How can you start building credit? Is it possible to make a million bucks without lifting a finger? We outline the basics of money management when you're just starting out.

Starting Your Career
How can you nail a job interview? How can you dress to impress on a tight budget? Should you go to grad school? We tell you what you need to know about getting a job and building a career.

Decoding Your Benefits
What's the difference between an HMO and PPO? Should you invest in a 401(k)? What the heck is a mutual fund anyway? Find answers to your questions on making the most of your health insurance and job-related benefits.

Finding Housing
How can you find cheap -- or even free -- housing? What's the secret to finding a good roommate? How can you furnish your place cheaply but chicly? We will address your questions about making the most your new place.

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Getting Around
What is the least expensive car to own? How can you save money on car insurance? How can you get the best gas mileage? We will tackle your questions about getting from one place to another.

Having Some Fun
What's the best way to book cheap travel? How can you snag discount tickets to concerts, plays and other events? Should you go into debt to buy an engagement ring? Money doesn't have to be boring -- we will help you make smart decisions when love, travel and entertainment are on your mind.