5 Things Every New Grad Needs To Know About Money

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
By Nancy Mann Jackson

When East Carolina University dismissed for the semester on April 28 this year, 500 students left campus $100,000 richer.

Just what did these undergrads have in common? All 500 of them had completed a personal finance class helmed by Mark Weitzel, Bill Pratt, and Len Rhodes — a.k.a. “The Money Professors.” For the past five years, the trio has challenged their students to collectively squirrel away $100K over the course of a single semester — and most years, students surpass the challenge.

Weitzel first noticed the need for the course back in 1999, when he began teaching Business at ECU, and spotted students signing up for credit cards in exchange for pizza slices. That slippery slope barter inspired him to launch an elective class aimed at helping undergrads grasp the realities of Money 101. Fifteen years later the personal finance course — now taught by Weitzel, Pratt, and Rhodes — is one of the school’s most popular offerings.

Impressed by their success in preparing students for the future, we decided to call up The Money Professors for a tutorial — and have them share the top five financial lessons every new grad needs to nail. Most people spend their twenties messing up their money, their thirties trying to figure out what they did wrong, their forties trying to dig out of the hole, and their fifties trying to catch up for retirement.

Related: Money Mic: I Graduated College With No Debt — And A $10,000 Refund

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