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Community members encouraged to vote for favorite cause in spirit of giving -12/19/2014, 4:17 PM

God can be our light during bleak times today, tomorrow, future -12/19/2014, 9:38 AM

Sneak exercise into your holiday activities -12/18/2014, 9:13 AM

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The joys of the holiday season are all around us -12/17/2014, 10:30 AM

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Brownback appoints new Cheyenne County commissioner -12/16/2014, 12:48 PM

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Baby keeps family active -12/16/2014, 8:23 AM

Hays native serves as intern for Moran -12/15/2014, 11:55 AM

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Business Briefcase (Dec. 14, 2014) -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Soil test information can lead to bountiful financial returns -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Clubs and meetings (Dec. 14, 2014) -12/14/2014, 2:59 PM

Community Bulletin Board (Dec. 13, 2014) -12/13/2014, 3:11 PM

The heart of Christmas -12/12/2014, 8:49 AM

DHDC announces new board members -12/11/2014, 4:17 PM

Area student selected to livestock judging team -12/11/2014, 8:50 AM

Bake ahead, freeze for holidays -12/11/2014, 8:50 AM

Extension estate planning workshops announced -12/10/2014, 3:31 PM

Remembering the Japanese invasion, World War II -12/10/2014, 10:12 AM

DHDC kicks off annual partnership program -12/9/2014, 12:05 PM

A few holiday movies to enjoy -- again -12/9/2014, 9:31 AM

New addition to family brings smiles to faces -12/9/2014, 8:18 AM

Steps can be taken to help stepfamilies adjust to holidays -12/8/2014, 9:41 AM

Genetically modified organism fact or fiction -12/7/2014, 4:12 PM

Clubs and meetings (Dec. 7, 2014) -12/7/2014, 4:11 PM

Yes, there is a Santa Claus -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

Getting out of balance disrupts life satisfaction -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

A month of busyness at Hays Public Library -12/5/2014, 9:03 AM

Cookie exchange raises money for children -12/4/2014, 3:27 PM

Master honored with inaugural award -12/4/2014, 8:55 AM

DCF unveils new Hays service center -12/3/2014, 3:29 PM

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Several honored for milestone celebrations -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

A chance encounter overseas -12/3/2014, 8:57 AM

FHSU bands to perform Friday -12/2/2014, 10:19 AM

Dealing with stepfamilies during the holidays -12/1/2014, 8:48 AM

Study finds GMO's safe for livestock -11/30/2014, 3:36 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 30, 2014) -11/30/2014, 3:36 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 30, 2014) -11/30/2014, 3:35 PM

Real Black Friday began thousands of years ago -11/28/2014, 9:22 AM

A lifetime of achievements in 4-H -11/26/2014, 7:45 AM

Fort Hays honors courses will serve as pilot courses -11/26/2014, 7:35 AM

Yoders welcome a new baby boy recently -11/25/2014, 9:34 AM

Stepfamily dynamics can be tricky to manage -11/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 23, 2014) -11/23/2014, 3:11 PM

Local Knights of Columbus announce essay winners -11/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Grocery collection for ECMA on Saturday -11/21/2014, 8:56 AM

Feast on these holiday savings this season -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

Birthdays (Nov. 20, 2014) -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

HPMH partners with counties for outreach -11/19/2014, 3:49 PM

Kansas Next Step announces honors -11/19/2014, 2:09 PM

Senior volunteers honored for years of service to communities -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

Living life by the five senses -- plus another -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

'Big Hero 6' is slightly under-inflated -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

KHP gives tips for safe Thanksgiving travel -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Latest donations move FHSU closer to goal -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Kansas is reading to preschoolers -11/17/2014, 12:56 PM

Great American Smokeout is Thursday -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Keep little helpers safe in kitchen -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Moran receives Legislator of Year Award from home care association -11/17/2014, 11:26 AM

Hammond named to fraternity commission -11/17/2014, 9:45 AM

No stepfamily is immune to holiday stress -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Community Bulletin Board (Nov. 17, 2014) -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Get the most from grazing crop residue -11/16/2014, 5:35 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 16, 2014) -11/16/2014, 12:52 PM

Choice overload -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

God and Ebola -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

Birthday -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

10 tips for stress-free Thanksgiving cooking, planning -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

Do you need that annual mammogram? -11/12/2014, 11:52 AM

'Warcraft' preview stirs excitement; 'Interstellar' is solid -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Favorite coffee cake and being introduced to Sassy Sundae -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Many types of stressors can affect holidays -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Time for film's encore, German cooking at library -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 9, 2014) -11/9/2014, 4:30 PM

Westview hosting youth lock-in -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

A prayer that stands the test of time still holds true today -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

Extension program gives tech tips for parents -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthdays -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Foreigners must report land holdings -11/5/2014, 3:39 PM

Jana's Campaign fundraiser nets $33,000 -11/5/2014, 10:29 AM

Getting out and voting, because I can -11/5/2014, 8:40 AM

Waterline works will hamper traffic -11/4/2014, 4:08 PM

Email issues resolved -11/4/2014, 11:43 AM

Gloria's birthday present, followed by barbecue pizza -11/4/2014, 8:41 AM

Many live in stepfamilies in United States today -11/3/2014, 8:58 AM

Taking care in providing proper animal health -11/2/2014, 8:31 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 2, 2014) -11/2/2014, 11:10 AM

After 5 gathering Nov. 10 in Hays -10/31/2014, 7:50 AM

Time for trick or treating -10/31/2014, 7:49 AM

Gella's to show Turning Points film encore -10/30/2014, 1:53 PM

State's Cold Weather Rule takes effect Saturday -10/29/2014, 9:33 AM

'John Wick' is efficient excitement for flick -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Serving up homemade cinnamon rolls -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Hansen Foundation awards grant to HaysMed Foundation -10/27/2014, 10:20 AM

HaysMed's cardiovascular-stroke team earns award -10/27/2014, 10:11 AM

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SPOTLIGHT
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Financial reality for graduates

Published on -5/16/2013, 12:16 PM

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In the book of Proverbs, we are told: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Somehow that lesson gets lost for many families when it comes to teaching teens and young adults about money.

Parents know it's imperative to teach kids to say no to drugs and alcohol. But are parents doing enough to help them fend off consumerism, live on a budget, and make wise financial decisions?

As I think of all the high school and college seniors who are graduating this time of year, I wonder. Only time -- and a tough dose of reality -- will tell.

So what does a graduate need to know now that Mom and Dad no longer are footing the bills? Here are a few tips:

* Saving matters: Having cash in the bank is important any time, but it's especially crucial (and comforting) in a tight economy. But saving also means more than just having money in an account.

People who save have learned to live within their means. They likely have mastered how to budget and how to spend wisely. The best news is people with savings have options -- they can better weather a job loss or medical emergency, and they often can buy a car or take a vacation without going into debt.

* Read the fine print: Nearly every transaction these days seems to require a written agreement -- from rental leases to gym memberships. Don't take these lightly.

Read all contracts carefully, as if you were on a scavenger hunt for key facts.

What exactly do you owe and when? What happens if you're late or miss a payment? How do you end this agreement?

Knowing those significant details will help you make better decisions -- and avoid expensive surprises.

* Focus on the total cost: Salesmen and lenders might try to lure you into buying something more costly or extending a loan by touting only the monthly payment. Before you agree, calculate the full cost over time, including interest and fees.

The longer the repayment period, the more interest paid, which might result in paying thousands more in the end.

* There is a permanent record: It's not your academic transcript that will stick with you, but how you manage money.

Your credit score is like your financial GPA for life.

Calculated by credit bureaus based on how much debt you have and how well you manage it, your credit score will follow you through your adult life.

Over time, that credit score will affect how much you can borrow, the interest rate you'll pay, whether you can rent the apartment you want and sometimes whether you can get a certain job. Young people won't start out with the highest credit score, because they don't have much of a credit history. But a credit score improves if a person pays bills on time and keeps debt at a minimum. A high credit score, like a growing bank account, means more options.

Ultimately, that's what a healthy financial situation is all about -- having choices to get wherever you want to go.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences. lbeech@ksu.edu

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