This year’s advice for HS and College Grads

Jim Ludwick, CFP®
Contributor

 It’s that time of year for high school and college graduates - a new phase awaits.  It’s called a job. Transition to the workplace is one of the most difficult tasks many high school and college graduates face this time of year.

Through winter and early spring many of you graduates have spread your resume or shared your work desires to family, friends and teachers far and wide in hopes of landing that first job after formal education.  Here’s hoping you’ve had good luck and are ready to buckle down in that first job.

 Now let’s start with our financial advice even before the first day on the job discussing two important elements in your budget (or spending plan if you don’t like the word budget).

 Let’s talk about living on our own or with someone else, including staying with your family. The biggest part of a new phase budget is the expense of living arrangements. Here are your most likely options and benefits:

·      Stay at home: maybe pay a little rent to acknowledge obtaining some meals, laundry, transportation and other advantages that you might have had all along, but now you are a grown up.  This option could allow you to save the most money for future short term and long term needs and/or pay down any debt you’ve accumulated.

 ·      Share rooming with others: This cuts the cost of renting solo, and affords some cooking and food preparation savings, maybe even transportation savings too. Can allow you to live closer to work and public transportation which usually cost more because they are more convenient. Could allow you to save money for short or long term needs, especially for the next phase of living by yourself or with a partner.  Affords the opportunity to pay down debt with the extra cash flow you have by splitting the rent and utilities.

 ·      Live on your own ,or with a romantic partner: Costlier in many cases, but allows more freedom.  Maybe even sharing some joint expenses with your partner. This can be the most difficult arrangement to allow for saving for short term and long term needs and debt reduction.

 Besides food and eating out, the next most costly element in you budget is probably transportation.  There are lots of ways to save, but they usually involve giving up time in exchange.  Waiting for a car pool, bus, subway, or train can take its toll in the loss of your spare time.  In some instances, it might be advantageous to use more costly transportation, and use the extra time gained in some income producing endeavor. That’s called a “trade-off”.

 As we round up our financial advice, here two more quick suggestions:

·      Buy and read the book “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach

·      Google and read “Bill Gate’s 10 points of advice to grads”.

 That’s it, except for my final financial suggestions:

 ·     Live cheaply until you pay off all debt

·      Save for the next phase and retirement

·      Be thoughtful and thankful of others – people will notice

·      Have fun, as long as it’s cheap or free

Further Reading

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