Life after College: Become a Financially Savvy 20-Something
- Friday, March 23, 2012
To paraphrase a famous quote, “The worst thing about youth is that it is wasted on the young.” No, at 55 years old, I’m not ready for a drool cup and a lap blanket yet, but I’m starting to appreciate the time God gives me more and more. And, as the father of four young adults, I’m becoming more enlightened to their struggles and concerns.
If you’re one of the several million twenty-somethings in America, give me your attention for a couple of minutes because I want to share some thoughts that may make your life easier in all ways: financially, relationally, and spiritually.
Let’s Get Something Straight…
Contemporary young adults live in “looking glass” world. What seems to be up is often down. And what appears to be down is likely to be going up. Charlie Dickens’ opening to A Tale of Two Cities nails it for today’s budding adults — it’s the best of times, and it’s the worst of times. As a group, you are better educated, more fawned over, and pampered than any group yet to come along. Because of the efforts of others, you’ve had the luxury to self-actualize, criticize, and fantasize. Whether through extreme sports or outrageous behavior, you’ve pushed the edge until it is now hard to even discern. You’ve had a lot given to you.
But, on the other hand, you’ve had more bumps and bruises than you deserve. You grew up in an age when many parents were more concerned about building wealth than building relationships with you. Because of radical feminism and its toxic run-off, many of you were born to mothers who wanted it all. They actually believed the laws of time and dimension no longer applied, and somehow they really could have a career and win parent-of-the-year awards simultaneously. So, once you were born, many of you were warehoused in daycares until you went to school.
In school you were exposed to way too much way too quickly. Many of you knew about sex before you could make a six inch bubble with your chewing gum. Some of you lost friends to drugs and bad choices before you had blown out twelve birthday candles. And those who should have been your leaders tried to be your buddies. In a phrase: You grew up in a world where the inmates ran the asylum!
Now, here you are fresh out of college with a mortar board and a sheep skin with no place to go. It seems that every time you inch ahead a couple of steps, life knocks you back three. You’ve already learned that life isn’t fair. Now you’re learning how it can sucker punch you and go off whistling.
In college you missed the course on Real Life 101. They were all too happy to take your money and let you run up debt — but your present $8 an hour job with no benefits isn’t what you thought you were buying.
So, let me take you by the hand and help you step into the deep end of life. To begin with, you must understand the basics:
Your boss won’t base your salary on what it costs for you to live. He cares about what you will bring to his bottom line. Despite what liberal politicians may say to get your vote, the boss doesn’t owe you health insurance — or a car, or a house, or your master’s degree.
Starbucks Coffee is not one of the six basic food groups. Life can be sustained without $5 cups of joe.
You will not be trusted because you haven’t yet proven yourself to be trustworthy. This means that everything will cost more than you expect. For instance, the utility companies will expect you to post a deposit before they turn on the power. You will probably have to pay the first month’s rent and a damage deposit before you move in.
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