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Congratulations to recent college graduates. Many graduates have already landed a job. Others may still be looking for an offer or waiting until summer's end before job hunting. Whatever path you're on, once you're earning an income it's critical to establish a solid financial foundation.

That's always been true. But the changing nature of work — likely defined by multiple jobs and fluid careers — increases the need for embracing sound personal finance.

Three quick points. First, you'll make mistakes with money. Everyone does. That's how we learn. Second, keep your money management simple. Life is busy enough without falling into financial complexity. Finally, doing well with money isn't rocket science. Good money management mostly involves developing a few good spending and savings habits. Here are several suggestions:

Concentrate on your career. Your most important financial investment is in your career(s). The big return on investment comes from the income you earn from your knowledge. Plan on continuously investing in your skills.

Create a budget. A budget lets you know where your money is going, and where you might want to make some adjustments. The information is vital.

Start saving with your first paycheck. This is true even if it's a miniscule amount (which is likely). Put your savings on autopilot and adjust the sum upward when your pay increases. Savings is both your emergency fund and your opportunity fund.

Embrace frugality. There is a wide range of frugal behaviors, and you should find the thrifty habits that work for you. The frugal path means being cautious with debt. Frugality leads to greater freedom of choice. (Most college graduates owe on their student loans; research your repayment options and pick the best choice for your circumstances.)

Start the habit of giving money away. The thoughtfulness that comes from deciding where to give money creates strong connections to our community. The act of giving is a powerful reminder of what matters.

Invest in your financial education. There is no shortage of good resources, ranging from your employer to community organizations that promote financial literacy. Looking over my bookshelves, I'd highlight "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties" by Beth Kobliner.

That's enough to get started. Good luck on the next stage of life!

Chris Farrell is senior economics contributor, "Marketplace"; commentator, Minnesota Public Radio.