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Practical financial tips for international master’s grads

Prodigy Finance - May 14, 2019

Practical financial tips for international master’s grads

You’ve made it through the trials of grad school applications, all the long hours, heavy workloads and intense networking sessions.

Your well-earned degree in hand, your future spreads wide across the horizon.

So, what’s next?

That’s totally up to you. But, we’ve got a few tips that’ll help you keep your finances, post-grad career and visas in order.  

1. Tips for moving after you’ve graduated

  • Work creative solutions: As an international grad, if you need help finding a place and securing a co-signer in your new city, check out Leap; they’ll help you handle it all.
  • Try using rent to build your credit: If you’ve settled in the US and finally found that perfect spot, check whether your landlords are reporting your rental payments to a credit agency. (Currently, only Experian accepts rent reports, but other bureaus may soon follow. It’s a creative way to grow your credit history and improve your credit score in the US.
  • Register your new address right away: In the US, registering your new address is super easy – all you need to do is head to the post office. (Or, you can submit your change of address online for a $1 fee). This simple step ensures your mail will be forwarded to where you live now, giving you time to change your mailing address with each of your creditors. Remember, you are still on the hook for your bills even if you move.

2. Tips for building credit after you’ve graduated

  • Start building a credit history right away: Building a positive credit history (and high credit score to match) is one of the best things you can do for your future – wherever you live. If you’re in the US, check out our complete guide to credit building; it may just save you from making a silly mistake.
  • Make sure you make your credit payments on time, every time: Credit mistakes can follow you around for an awfully long time. In the US, any payment made over 30 days late remains on your credit report for a full seven years.
  • Talk to your creditors: So you’ve made some credit mistakes in the past? If you’re otherwise great with your payments and you don’t ignore your creditor’s calls, you might just get them to remove that blemish (or hold off from reporting it in the first place).
  • Address credit mistakes quickly: If you’ve already made a few too many credit mistakes in the US and you’re finding it difficult to secure a place to live, a car loan or any other short-term credit lines, check out a reliable credit repair company like Lexington Law.

The sooner you deal with it, the better, especially as you look to build your career in a new country. (Some employers check credit records before hiring!)

3. Tips for developing your post-graduation financial plan

  • Pay yourself first: Automate saving a minimum amount from your paycheck each month. Live on the remainder and you’ll thank yourself later.
  • Use your loan provider’s grace period if you need to: If you’re like most international graduates, you have some kind of a student loan that you need to repay. Check when your grace period ends to ensure you make your first payment on time.

Many loan providers, Prodigy Finance included, offer a grace period after your studies to allow you time to settle into your new career (and start receiving those pay checks).

  • But start repaying as soon as you can: You don’t have to wait; you can begin repayment earlier if you like.

Refinancing will save you money off the total cost of your loan while consolidating various student loans. And, now that you know your post-grad salary, you’re in a better spot to pick the terms that suit you best.

4. Tips for nailing your first job as an international professional

  • Use your networks: Jumping into a new career all at once is exciting (and sometimes a little scary). But, you’re not alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed (or just want some inspiration), reach out to your grad school friends and networks. Or, take a moment to learn a few new tips from a Prodigy Finance borrower who was once in your shoes.
  • And create new ones at the same time: Be sure to continue developing your networks while pursuing new ones before you need them. Alumni associations are great, but build authentic business relationships (if you start “networking” only when you need a job, it feels too transactional and won’t have the same impact as a deeper relationship). Do those favors. Connect with people. Take those recruiter calls, even if you’re happy in your job.
  • Keep up to date with any changes to your visa: While studying, the international student office at your school helped you secure your student visa and remain on the right side of immigration. Now it’s up to you.

If you’re in the US on the OPT-extension of your F-1 visa or on an H-1B working visa, make sure you understand the benefits and timings of your visa class – and plan for the next step, whatever that looks like for you.

  • Keep a short daily journal: What have you learned today? What have you accomplished? What you are proud of? At the end of the year, your self-evaluation and conversations with your boss on your contributions will be much easier.
  • Invest in yourself from the get-go: You’ll add immense value to your organisation with your new skill set but this also a chance for you to learn more. Take ownership and be proactive so that you contribute in a meaningful way from the start. 

Ready to start your future off on the right foot?

It may just be time to look at refinancing your international student loan with Prodigy Finance. Funding international grad students is what we do – during and after their studies. And that means we totally understand your situation and we’re happy to help you succeed.

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