On Your Own

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A Message For Recent Graduates

Myths and realities of being on your own with that first new job.

“When I was your age I walked to school uphill both ways in the snow!” You’ve probably heard your parents or grandparents tell you this story, right? You may see everything they have now and think life’s always been easy for them, but that doesn’t reflect how hard they had to work at your age to get where they are today.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend the story! But I am trying to give all you recent college graduates out there a wake-up call that the world isn’t as easy as it might have appeared during your school years.

So let me say congratulations on graduating and landing that first job! I’m sure your family is excited for you as you venture out on your own for the first time. You’re probably facing some realities right now – maybe your campus apartment was nicer than the one you’re in now, and suddenly you’re facing car insurance, utility bills and – gasp! – taxes! – for the first time. These are just a few of the fun life adjustments you’re about to make.

But let’s talk about that first paying gig you’ve landed. If you’re like most of us, your first job out of college probably isn’t your dream job, and even if it is, it probably doesn’t pay what you think you’re worth. Let me tell you a story. I was talking to a family friend recently who told me about her daughter, a recent journalism graduate. She’s landed her first writing job and is thrilled, but has also learned the hard way that writers – especially brand-new ones – don’t pull in big salaries. But her foot is in the door, and now it’s time for that most important step: learning to live within her means, even though those means are far smaller than she had pictured.

Like my friend’s daughter, taxes, health and auto insurance, student loans, an emergency fund and retirement (no matter how remote it seems now) are all looming on your financial landscape. You’ll need to start creating a plan for all of these financial necessities because you’re finally on your own and no one is going to do them for you.

But back to your parents for a minute, (who may or may not have walked uphill both ways): If you think they have it easy, have the world figured out and are living the good life, remind yourself that they were in your shoes once. They worked hard for what they wanted, made sacrifices, drove beat up cars and delayed gratification as they worked toward their goals and dreams. Maybe that dream was a house, a new car or early retirement, but if you’re looking up to them now, chances are they made it. And that’s exactly what they want for you.

If you’d like to talk to a financial planner and start establishing a relationship with a team that understands and will help you embrace your dreams, give us a call. In the coming weeks we will be launching a new website that will be there to educate you as your journey continues, and we can’t wait to see how far you’ll go.

Oh, and parents and grandparents: Please forward this message along to any recent or soon-to-be graduates in your families so they can learn about us. Additionally, if you’d like to automatically sign them up for our soon-to-be-launched “on your own” newsletter, send us their full name and email address so we can add them.

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