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!