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Advice For College Graduates

With all the current and upcoming graduations, we thought we would reach out to the next generation and give them a little advice.  Not that they will take it, because us old guys on the radio are like, so lame and stuff, but we are going to pass it on anyway.  Good luck to you!

  • It’s never too early to start saving.  I know it’s tough with student debt, deposit and first and last months rent on your first real apartment, and your beer tab, but it makes a huge difference.  The money you put away now will be the money that is worth the most when you retire.
  • There is no such thing as a terrible job at your age.  Well, that isn’t true.  Maybe I should say there are only terrible jobs at your age.  Let’s face it, you have had it pretty good for the last 4 years with mom and dad footing the bill for your school (if you are lucky) and all of your fun extracurricular activities.  But it’s reality check time.  You need income now and experience for the future.  Even the worst job out there will let you know the most important thing you can find out at this age: what you DON’T want to do. 
  • You don’t even know what you don’t know.  You are just going to have to trust me on this one.  I look back at the 22 year version of myself, and I was on top of the world.  I had a great job, a great income, my own place, I thought I was pretty cool.  The truth was, I was an idiot.  I might still be an idiot.  Ask me when I am 60.
  • If you have to put it on a credit card, you can’t afford it.  Nothing will keep you from realizing your financial goals like paying 22% interest over 15 years on a debt you never should have had in the first place.  Make monthly payments on a house, a car, and a student loan.  Outside of that, pay for everything you own out of your income.  If you are debating a big purchase, go to the bank and take out the cash to pay for it.  I guarantee you that parting with that cash will make the purchase a lot harder than swiping a credit card.
  • Don’t miss payments.  In this day and age of electronic bill pay with just about every major bank and smart phones that never leave our side, there are no excuses for dinging your credit with late payments.  When you get a bill, log into your bank app on your smart phone and schedule the payment for the day the bill is due.  How long will that take you, 30 seconds?  When you apply for your next loan, having great credit will save you a bunch of money. 
  • Use Uber or take a cab.  A DUI not only puts you, your loved ones, and total strangers at risk, but it will cost you $10,000+ to defend it in court, and will limit your chances of getting a job in the future.  And it can happen to anyone.  Even you.
  • Remember that once it is on the internet, you can’t take it back.  That goes for you and your friends.  It may be hilarious to post the video of your buddy passed out at Mardi Gras, but when he goes to apply for jobs and find that his prospective employer finds that video, he isn’t going to be happy with you when they say hit the road.
  • Find a balance.  In everything you do, balance is what makes life more enjoyable.  No one in their 70’s ever looks back and thinks, “I wish I would have spent more time at work.”  On the other side, no one ever looks back and says “boy am I glad I never gave it my all at work so that I was stuck in an entry level job all my life,” either.  A healthy work-life balance is something many unhappy people fail to achieve. 
  • Experience life.  You will have plenty of time for TV shows and the internet when you are married with kids.  Trust me.  Travel, go out and explore your city, and have great experiences.  It will make you a more interesting person when you are old and lame like us. 
  • It’s up to you.  Nothing will be handed to you in the real world.  Your parents may have coddled you, but total strangers will expect results from before they give you anything.  And you will get exactly nothing unless you ask for it, even if you think you earned it.  I promise you that no one cares about you the way you do.
  • It’s never as good and it’s never as bad as it seems at first.   The initial shock and/or excitement of any event magnifies its importance to you.  However, you will find that after a night of stressing about it or a night of celebrating it, the next day emotions have returned to a normal level, and it won’t be that bad or that good.  It will fall somewhere in the middle.  So if you screw up at work, you most likely are not going to get fired the next day.  If you make a huge sale or complete a successful project at work, the next day your boss is going to expect you to make the next deal bigger or the next project more successful.  Don’t let that discourage you, use it instead as motivation to get up and do even better.