With college graduation looming like the end of a railroad tunnel, you’re likely raring to get out into the world so you can sample the best of what it has to offer.
College has been a grand affair, but there are many pitfalls lying out in the woods of adulthood that you haven’t been exposed to yet – kids smarter than you have ended up in predicaments that have taken them years to reverse.
Don’t be scared homie … be informed, so you won’t fall prey to the following money mistakes that befall many in their 20’s…
Going on a credit fuelled orgy of spending straight out of college
On campus, at the mall, downtown … they are everywhere. Silver tongued credit card company representatives promising you an easy way to launch your adult lifestyle fresh out of school.
Extravagant dinners and fuzzy nights out with your new colleagues, new IKEA furniture for your city center condo (Tyler Durden would be so proud) and so many other pricey temptations suddenly become attainable, bridging the gap between your meager entry-level salary and your desires.
That shiny piece of plastic in your wallet can become as addictive as crack though, and with that comes some terrible downsides that only get worse with every extension to your credit limit.
While being responsible with your VISA or Discover card can help build your credit score, allowing a balance to amass can siphon away your cash in the same manner that a black hole chews up entire star systems.
Of all the money mistakes to avoid, the misuse of charge cards is one pit you don’t want to fall into, as it is much like the cave from which Bane emerged in the Dark Knight Rises.
Pay your balance in full every month and save your financial energy for things that will strengthen you, instead of weakening your foundation with impulse buys.
Not stockpiling a “screw you” stash
Despite what recruiters might tell you at the job fair, the workforce that your parents enjoyed is fast becoming a relic that will be marveled over by your grandchildren at some fancy ass museum.
At best, you might find an awesome job at which you’ll get to spend a respectable tenure, but chances are, you’ll end up in a situation where your future is far from guaranteed, which is a prospect that your old fart Boomer boss will remind you every chance they get.
As a result, it’s vital that you save up a pile of “screw you” cash that will allow you to leave a crappy boss when they step too far over the line; too many of us spend our entire paycheck, leaving us at the mercy of our evil bovine masters. Don’t be a slave or a lemming … take control of your career trajectory.
Failing to set aside some of your moolah in a mutual fund or 401(k)
If you’re reading this, it’s likely you are in your physical prime, or close to it. You might feel like you are invincible, subconsciously thinking that you’ll never have to cope with the challenges that come with growing old.
Time has a way of sneaking up on you though: don’t be that guy at age 45 with no financial safety net underneath you, leaving you to face the prospect of working until you croak.
It’s seriously not that hard to set aside money for a mutual fund or a 401 (k): start small, with a tiny percentage of your salary (5% … you can do this pal!) dedicated towards a low risk index fund.
As you learn more about the world of investments, you can scale up your risk (international markets, stocks, real estate trusts, etc), but for now, just get started building that ark – nailing together the first set of 4×4’s is all it takes.
Letting your friends alpha you into spending cash that you shouldn’t
The crab bucket mentality is one of the biggest obstacles that many guys face when it comes to taking steps to secure their financial future.
They try to deviate from their friend’s spendthrift ways, and they get pressured, teased, or even bullied into coming out for that drinking session, dinner, or that ludicrously expensive Spring Break vacation that you’ve all been doing since freshman year of college.
In order to take control of your own destiny, you need to become more assertive in the everyday decisions you make in your life.
Don’t let some of your “friends” try to pull an alpha maneuver on you: be prepared to splinter off and start your own pack if they won’t follow your new found road to wealth and stability.
Your real buds will stay true to you – be confident and fearless as you set out on a new course in your life.
Setting sail without a financial navigational chart
Finally, you haven’t truly set out on a new journey unless you know where you are going. Take time to chart out your goals for the years that lie ahead.
While obvious goals include payment of debts, saving up to buy a vehicle, or even a down payment on a condo or a house, don’t fall into the default plan of society if a car and white picket fences don’t appeal to you.
If you want to travel the world, cost it out. Got a business idea you want to pursue? Figure out how much startup capital you’ll need to get started and then get to saving.
Whatever you want from this life, it has a finite number attached to it: find out what they are, draft a plan of attack, and go get it!