There's no better feeling than landing your first job and depositing that first paycheck.
But with that money comes responsibility: You need to figure out how to stretch your wages to pay your bills while setting money aside for emergencies, retirement and life's other big costs..
What you do with those early paychecks "can really set a tone for your personal finances" for the future, says Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, an investment advisory firm in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Remember you won't get rich overnight and you're just taking the first steps toward financial adulthood.
Divvying up your take-home pay will be challenging, especially for those with modest starting salaries, and credit card and student loan debt, personal finance pros say.
"They look at all the bills screaming at them on a monthly basis and say, 'I have to pay all of those? I have nothing left. So what am I to do?'" explains Tony Ogorek, CEO of Ogorek Wealth Management in Buffalo, NY.
Here's a step-by-step plan of priorities: