First of all, YAY! You made it. You have survived what other people could not and have now officially joined the coveted club of university graduate. This is an important achievement and please do not let anybody down play it or attempt to take it away from you. You deserve to be celebrated!
Now that you are stepping into full-time adulthood, there are a few things that I would like to share with you. These are some of the things I wish someone had taken the time to tell me when I was a new graduate – it has been four years since I left further education. Since this is a safe place on the internet where I discuss personal finance, I will be relating my advice to your finances, but feel free to apply them elsewhere if you chose.
Financial Literacy – Money is about to play a huge role in the way you live your life. It’s time to learn how it works in the real world and build solid financial habits. Financial literacy is not optional for responsible adults, it is imperative that you take some time to learn how to manage your finances properly. If you are struggling to figure out where to start, see my video on the subject here. Hopefully it points you in the right direction. You do not need to be a financial guru but you need to understand the basics of personal finance management – how budgets work & why they are important, how to save, interest rates and how they affect you etc.
Set Goals: SMART targets are not a thing of the past, you learnt them in uni for a reason & it’s time to get your money’s worth by apply your skills. Having a direction is everything in this world. Know where you want to go and start making plans on how you will get there. See my post on The 3 D’s of personal finance for some pointers on what you need to successfully adult with your money. #adultingforthewin
Budgeting: Please learn to do this. You are no longer a small fry in uni, you are living in a world that will gladly spend your money for you if you let it. Society is READY to take your money from you with no apologies or remorse what-so-ever. Plan your income and outgoings wisely and make sure your finances are visible to you. Have an understanding of how much is coming in and how much needs to be going out. I beg you, do not neglect your finances or burry your head in the sand. If you do not make a plan of how/where you want to spend your money, you will soon learn that month ends do not meet by magic and getting on the property ladder does not happen overnight.
Don’t Believe the Hype: We all have an idea of what a successful adult looks like. It is this idea that will lead you to spend a small fortune on clothing for job interviews or job roles. This vision may also lie to you and tell you that it is okay to spend lots on money on meals and nights out because that’s what adults do in 2017. What about getting that fancy car on finance? I mean you are a top class human being who just graduated from university and you deserve to look the part. Going on holiday every few weeks? Of course! Travelling is the new black.
The painful truth is that this idea is all a lie. There is no ideal millennial lifestyle. Do not buy into an image that has been created by marketers/ social media for the sole purpose of taking your money to make themselves rich. Contrary to what your Instagram feed says, WE DO NOT ALL HAVE IT TOGETHER! Our standards of living are not nice and slick and shiny. Sometimes we are broke! And have to drink tea for lunch, we eat plain toast for dinner and skip breakfast because we used the bread to make toast last night! We do not have it together & there is NO reason for you to feel any pressure. Take time & don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s – or Kardashian’s if you want to be super up to date –That’s how people go broke. Be patient with yourself and your journey, you may not be able to afford your ideal lifestyle right now, but with Direction, Discipline & Diligence, you will get there in no time.
Think outside the box: The millennial generation is known for our hustle hard mentality. We monetise everything! And it’s 2017 where everyone has a side hustle – multiple streams of income is a thing! Just because you have a degree in XYZ does not mean that’s all you can do. Your creative skill set means you can achieve so much more by applying yourself to something else. For example: Blogging, YouTube, Providing a service etc. There are people who even take travel abroad to teach for a year (I have heard that South Korea is really good for this) or live in another country for a while. Please do not pigeon hole yourself like I did. The world is a big place and it’s full of opportunity so think outside the box!
Finally, relax you made it!