Out of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money's gone, nowhere to go
College seniors are entering a world of money -- and without very much preparation for what is about to hit them.
College is good for many things, but preparing students for "real world" finance is not one of them.
There are three things a college graduate should know about money:
How to make it, how to keep it and how to use it to develop a lifestyle that that will give you long-term happiness.
Even when planning on being an entrepreneur and having their own gig, most graduates get experience by working for someone else.
They need someone to hire them.
Getting hired is a tricky thing. There are courses, counselors and tons of books devoted to the subject, but I offer students only one piece of advice: "It's all about them, not about you."
Employers hire employees to help employers make more money. They are not interested in accommodating your personal desires unless that somehow happens to coincide with adding to the bottom line.
In a time of high unemployment, you need to sell them. They don't need to sell you.
Which brings me to social networking.
Do potential employers look at your Facebook page and other social networking sites? Of course they do.
I have for a long time. It can make or break a person.
I don't mind pictures from drunken keg parties. I can imagine what my Facebook page would have looked like if people carried cameras during my undergrad years. (And, of course, had there been a Facebook then . . . or computers).
Doing crazy stuff is part of the college experience. Employers want a hard worker with a positive attitude.
Thus, the quickest way to NOT get a job is to mouth out online about your former and current employers.
I'm stunned when I see examples of where people post negative remarks about their job or boss, usually while they are sitting at the job where they are supposed to be working.
Which leads to the second topic: How to keep the money you make.
The days of lifetime employment are over. Corporations and government entities come in and cut thousands of jobs on a whim. They will invent a computer or robot that does your job. One day, you will wake up and find that someone in India has taken your position.
Be ready and build a "take this job and shove it" fund. Former Treasury Secretary Don Regan called it "f___ you money."
Either way, (I prefer the Regan terminology), it means freeing yourself from staying in a job you hate because you can't afford to quit.
In order to do that, you need to be financially independent. Most college students aren't.
It used to be that students just didn't have any income. Now they have huge debts.
I keep running into the same type of college graduates. They have big credit card debts, student loans outstanding, payments on cars they're upside-down on and looking to buy their first home.
They are never going to have "F____ you" money. They will spend the next 50 years of their lives at the whim of whatever boss, bank or creditor who wants to pull their chain.
Before buying a brand new car or a house, the focus needs to be on paying down debt and getting some savings in the bank.
Somewhere I read that a person's financial style is set by age 27. If a person is a spender at 20, he may get over it by 30. If he is a spender at 30, he probably will be for the rest of his life.
The years after college are the time to be "reborn," in a financial sense. It's a time to set up your life so that money works for you, rather than you working for money.