Friday Frivolity

Oh, Fridays, I love how you always come around once a week.  This week, I thought I’d poke a little fun at one of many lists that are supposed to help the freshly graduated/newly professional get on their feet.  You can find the original article here.

1.  Start a Roth IRA for retirement.
At this stage of my life, I’m more likely to put money into a B-A-R than a I-R-A.  While a Roth IRA is a good idea (tax-free, it’s goes with you job for job, you earn more the earlier you start saving), any “what you should be doing now” list that kicks off with me saving money I don’t have is just depressing.  Which is why you’ll find me investing in some tax-free PBRs instead.

2. Buy a used car.
Well, this one just seems obvious.  Quick poll – how many of you ran out and bought a new car after graduation?  How about when you got your first job?  My parents don’t even buy new cars, so why would I?  When people come to me for automotive advice, as they often do, I remind them that it just needs to get you from here to there.  When my last vehicle, Cinderblocks, gave up the ghost, I started taking the bus and walking – and I lived to tell the tale, folks!

3. Keep renting, for awhile.
That’s just foolishness.  Become friends with someone who works in the foreclosure department of your local bank and find out when the really cheap ones become available.  Your parents/loan officer/drug dealer will be so impressed with your initiative, they’ll probably front you the down payment.

4. Start a rainy-day fund.
I have my own version of the rainy day fund.  Become a regular at your local bar, spend what you can, tip generously, and on those nights when you can’t afford a pint, most bartenders/bar owners will let you drink on the house.  Trust me, this works 99% of the time.

5. Maximize your employers contribution to your 401(k) at work.
I don’t think this is an option when your most successful business venture is dog sitting.  Moving on…

6. Keep living cheap.
It’s hard to even make fun of this when the original article starts with “remember what it was like to live with no paycheck (or maybe a very small paycheck) in college?”  Why, yes, I remember like it was yesterday – perhaps because a low-pay existence isn’t exclusive to college students.

7. Build your network
I am a hermit my nature.  I dislike 99% of the people in the world [congrats to those of you in the remaining 1% – y’all are awesome.]  I especially dislike conscious networks – people who force business cards into your hands or volunteer in their community just for the opportunity to recite their resume at you.  I can’t totally fault this one since they had the good sense to encourage readers to befriend a bartender. Preach on!

8. Build your story
I filled out a Facebook profile.  Shouldn’t that suffice?

9. Get a better credit card.
I am fairly confident the worse advice to give to most newly-graduated people, making little money and more responsibility, is to pile on additional debt.  You know what’s better than a low interest rate on your credit card debt?  Not having credit card debt in the first place.

10. Set goals, stay active.
This is, verbatim, the same advice given to widows who move into assisted living facilities.  It is insulting – especially since their idea of goals is writing a five year plan.  I feel accomplished if I complete a five day plan.

What do you think?  Is the Newly Corporate website hitting the nail on the head?  Or does their advice ring a little hollow in a post-recession 2010 world?  Leave your thoughts in the comments, email postcollegiateblog [at] gmail [dotcom] and most importantly, have a great weekend!

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7 thoughts on “Friday Frivolity

  1. I hate how most advice tells you to start saving early.
    If I had money to put into savings I would be doing it already!

    Also, I took a retirement assessment once to see what kind of nonexistant money I should be putting aside if I want to live how I want to when I retire, and for a low key life, with a paid off house, and the occassional travel, it told me I would need to put aside $400 a month for the next 40 years. If I put $400 a month aside I might still be able to pay rent, but I would have no food and no money to do anything except sit in my apartment with a growling stomach.

    • I absolutely agree! While I think saving is important [and I advocate all readers to save as much as they can], it’s also very unrealistic for most people with massive student loan debt and small paychecks to set aside a massive amount of money for retirement. And again, most entry level jobs don’t offer a lot of retirement options.

  2. my parents made me buy a new car for my first ever car. I sold it before I moved to Boston, but when I needed to buy another one I went for a used Honda off craigslist. even buying a car that’s only a few years old can give you s such great savings! do be careful to do your research before you purchase anything, however!

    • Hi!

      Thanks for reading and for the great comment! I think Craigslist is a great resource for buying/selling used cars and for every scammer out there, there are 5 really nice people trying to make an honest deal. It’s all a matter of having a mechanic you trust look at the car and doing your research to know what something is worth!

  3. I’m totally on your side with the credit card advice. I was told that you should have a credit card in order to start building good credit…BUT I’m horrible with debt so a credit card is a stupid way (for me personally) to do that. However, I was told that having your name on the lease for your pad or on your utilities can do that as well. What I’m trying to say is, it’s a good idea to build credit, but to do that without going into debt, if you can.

    • There are a myriad of ways to build credit and responsible use of a credit card is definitely one of them. Today’s post on the biggest mistakes people made post-college has a running theme of getting into trouble with credit cards and money management. I find so many advice articles on managing money so impractical for young people, which is why I’ve been adopting the cash-only rule.

  4. Pingback: Friday Frivolity: Round-Up « Musings on Life After College

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