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Special Report

Morningstar's Money Guide for New Graduates

Designed for recent graduates, our guide walks through creating financial habits, planning for the future, and starting a new job.

Congratulations, class of 2021! The next chapter of your lives has arrived. You probably didn’t envision graduating during a pandemic, but we’re optimistic that the economy will fully recover once we reach herd immunity. Despite these tough times, we believe that you can successfully navigate this new stage.

You may be seeking your first full-time positions, others may be saving for graduate school, and many have student loans to pay down. Each comes with its own challenges, especially given the uncertainty around COVID-19.

With many money decisions ahead, we created this guide to help you build a solid financial foundation.

Creating Your Financial Independence

Ready to Invest? Here's How to Get Started
There's more to investing than trading stocks.

7 Pieces of Financial Advice for New Graduates
How you can help your loved ones get on the right track financially, even in a pandemic.

How to Turn Your Money Into Superdollars
Investors who start early have a huge head start toward saving enough for retirement.

Building Strong Financial Habits

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

How to Get Out of Debt
The snowball and avalanche methods of paying down debt can help you become debt-free.

How to Create an Emergency Fund
Life can be unpredictable, which is why creating an emergency fund is a good idea.

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

Setting Financial Goals

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

How Do Your Financial Priorities Stack Up With Our Pyramid?
Make sure you're not geeking out about small-bore investment problems while giving short shrift to the game-changers.

Planning for the Future

What Does It Take to Have a $1 Million 401(k)?
Saving a considerable amount for retirement might not be as hard as you think.

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

A Hierarchy for Retirement Savings
Confused about which vehicles to fund first? We can help.

Find the Right Investments for Your Retirement Portfolio
Your knowledge level, desire to be hands-on, tax status, and tolerance for short-term volatility can help you identify the right investments.

Starting a New Job

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

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

Should I Invest Part of My Bonus in My 401(k)?
We tackle this reader question about 401(k)s.

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

Choosing Your First Investments

8 Great Starter Funds
These Gold and Silver Morningstar Medalists are good options for your first fund.

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

What is an ETF?
We explain what ETFs are, how to use them, and how to find the best ones.

Other Resources on Morningstar.com

Start Investing

Morningstar’s Investing Classroom

Christine Benz’s Model Portfolios for Savers