Advice to new college grad


#1

Just graduated yesterday and wanted to hear everyone’s opinions, comments and advice that y’all have about everything and anything career, finance and building a foundation for a happy fulfilling life.

For some context I’m graduating without a single student loan, a job I’ve had since last July in the exact field I wanted to build a career in, a positive net worth just shy of $45,000 (north of $45,000 if you count the salvage value of my car) and plan to live with my folks for at least another year.

I credit the FIRE community with the above for whipping me into shape during my Sophomore year and making me realise that there is more than one way to live life! For that I thank you all!!!


#2

Congratulations! It sounds like to me you don’t really need too much advice :slight_smile:

From the position you described, and the very fact that you’re already reading and interacting with people who have and who are striving to optimize their lives (more than just financially), I’d say you’ve already won! Just keep doing what you’re doing. You can make your life anything you want it to be, and since you’re starting out with such an incredible hand of cards, you could accomplish more before 30 than most do in their lives.

Kudos man… and oh yeah, don’t forget to have fun along the way!


#3

Awesome job so far, Steve! You’re in a much better position than I was in when I was your age (and than I’m in now lol). Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re definitely on the right track.

The only piece of advice I’d give you is to figure out your next move and make a plan to get there. We always make more progress when we have clear, defined goals in mind.

Best wishes for this next chapter of your life, and congratulations on graduating!


#4

Wow, kudos to you! Graduating debt free and with a positive net worth seems rare these days!

I definitely recommend staying with your parents (if you have a good relationship) because then you could save up a lot of money and if you want to buy a house, that’s the best way of going about it.

My only piece of advice is to not rush into anything and if there’s something you’re burning to do now, do it now, it’s better than putting it off until later (i.e. I regretted sooo much that I didn’t take a gap year and went into working right away)!


#5

Great job Steve! Sounds like you are making great strides to FI.

I would recommend to find your balance. Working towards FI is great, but do what you can when you are young, single, kid free, physically able, etc.


#6

Thank you for the kinds words @Accidental_FIRE ! Your comments reinforce the gratitude I’m attempting to practice everyday for the good fortune I’ve experienced these past four years. Taking a page from the Stoics and finding fulfillment in what one already has instead of fixating on what one doesn’t comes to mind as well. I will also try to remember to have fun, finding ways to save money counts right? :wink:


#7

100% @TheirMoneyGoals. Over the next few weeks I plan on officially formulating an action plan for the next 4 to 5 years as I settle into the “adult world lite” (since I’m still living at home). First on the list is to get back into the gym, that’s for sure. Next will be to get the ball rolling on my first house-hack which I hope will come to fruition sometime in 2019. Your comment about a gap year is very interesting. I’m not sure a whole year would workout but, I do wish to travel a bit more after getting back into working full-time. My family hasn’t been able to afford travel for over a decade so it has never really been anything I’ve thought about until now. Thanks for the advice!!!


#8

Awesome!!

Always remember that action plans can change, life does happen so be prepared for it :), and health should definitely come first!

Overall the small daily habits, mixed in with actions and decisions that take you to the path make a huge difference over time. The best way to live is to enjoy the experiences you gain while traversing the path, while making decisions that continuously get you there!

You’re in a great spot!


#9

Dayum, look at you. When are you making your own PF blog?!?! :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

Congrats on your graduation and on the progress you’ve made so far!

Quite ironically, I’ve got a round-up post that I just published this morning (with awesome contributions from many of the other people on these forums).

Given what you’ve described so far, I’m betting you have a lot of the things in this post already covered, but maybe you’ll find a nugget or two in there :slight_smile:


#11

Congratulations Steve! You have time on your side and a wonderful opportunity to build a solid financial position that will put you in a situation to self-direct your future.

Beware of the “happiness trap”. Like you said, what you want is fulfillment, which comes through challenge and perseverance.

As far as advice, I’ll offer the following:

  • Focus on small daily habits

  • Act as if someone you admire is always watching you (work to make that someone yourself)

  • At this time in life, you are automatically interesting and likable because people like that you have potential. You can do all the things they wanted to do. Don’t bathe in your potential. Go out and do. One day, people may look at you and frown because they remember when they liked you because of your potential but then they see you ten years later in the same spot. You will be included as one the people who doesn’t like you if you waste your time and potential.

  • Assume the person you are talking about can hear you. Assume the person you are texting/emailing about will eventually read it.

  • Treat every boss you work for in the same way, whether you respect the boss or think he is incompetent. Treat the boss the same.

  • Take extra time when deciding to buy a home. No home will be perfect and that is okay, but make sure that you want to take on not only the mortgage but the maintenance, the taxes, the insurance and the burden of selling to be mobile

  • It is okay to “play the game” if you believe that it is for the greater good of the organization (e.g. if three people are playing the game and you know you are the best manager to get a promotion, it is better for everyone at the company that you play the game too)

  • Find the line between “playing the game” and going along with things you don’t agree with. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  • Meet a significant other’s spouses parents early. Spend time with them. Look at how they keep up their home. Listen for clues about money values and lifestyle values.

  • Believe more in actions and less in words

  • Take care of yourself (which it seems like you are doing). You truly have to have your life in order before you can make a significant impact. At a micro level, if you are taking care of yourself, you will be a more productive and engaged person to be around, which automatically makes the lives of the people around you better. And if their lives are better, they’ll be more engaged with the people around them and so on and so forth. Taking care of yourself is like a pebble being throw in the water. It radiates out in larger and larger rings.

Writing this makes me feel old AF so I am going back to work. Congratulations! Life is no longer a set constructed path for you. Now the fun begins.


#12

@THE_FIINTROVERT Speechless, absolutely speechless. I’m printing this response and posting it everywhere!

I truly thank you for the time and effort you put in to this!!! I wish you all the best and, again THANK YOU!


#13

Great post!! There are definitely a couple of my fellow alum I will be sending this to!!


#14

Glad you liked it - thanks for sending it on to your friends!


#15

You bet Steve. Best of luck on your journey!


#16

I’m proud of where you are at right now. I wish many more young people took so much responsibility for their financial futures. My advice is similar to those above but worth repeating:

-Make a plan for the next move. Is it hit $100,000 net worth by age 25? Is it buy and pay off your home by age 30? Never stop dreaming, planning and setting goals.

-Take time to travel and do the things you want to do. Life passes quickly and saying you’ll do something tomorrow can easily slip away from you.

-Read, Read, Read and never stop reading or learning. Podcasts, Audio books, etc.

-Blogging about your financial and or personal struggles/wins can help you learn even more about yourself and others. It also helps with the continual learning goal.

-Don’t increase your spending with your salary. Try and keep your expenses steady while your income grows. Obviously life can get crazy, and some years you will do better than others.

I wish you all the luck. My niece is about to graduate college next year, and I hope she does just as well as you have done.


#17

You are doing great! Starting early is half the battle so kudos to you for taking this seriously now.

Others have already mentioned this but I can’t stress how important it is to minimize lifestyle inflation. Learn to live off of your starting salary (or less) and as you make more money later save or invest instead of increasing your lifestyle.

One thing I wish I would have considered at your age is house hacking. Buy a multi family property, live in one unit, and rent out the other units. Move every two years and repeat until you are ready to settle into a place.

As for general career, take time to find your purpose and then be intentional seeking opportunities in your area. It’s okay if you haven’t found your purpose yet. Try a bunch of different things and you’ll find your way.

Be okay with failure. It took me until my late 20s to realize that failure is okay and can be the beat teacher. Even better, learn from the failure of others.

Finally, be sure to get started in investing in retirement now. A little bit of money invested now will pay off huge down the line. Compound interest is amazing!