Spring has officially sprung, and with it comes the steady march towards graduation. Challenging though it may be, if you are graduating it may behoove you to give some thought as to how you will live your first few years as a newly minted graduate. Career struggles aside, there are a variety of common challenges that new graduates will face. This blog posting is intended to get you thinking about some of the life challenges that are unique to recent graduates.
- Your New Apartment:
After 4(+) years of school you’re probably ready to ditch your spartan accommodations and live in a comfortable apartment worthy of your newfound income and professional lifestyle. This is entirely understandable, but a few words of caution:
- The traditional rule of thumb is that you should not spend more than 30% of your monthly income on rent. However, this rule is rapidly becoming irrelevant as nationwide rent prices are skyrocketing.
- Painful though it may be, give some serious thought about what you really need in an apartment as opposed to what you want. This will allow you to make a sober assessment that takes in to account your proximity to work, the cost of your commute, and equally important—your proximity to a healthy social scene.
- Your New Budget:
Speaking of rental prices, your new lifestyle will also demand a reassessment of your budget. The good news is that with a new job you have a steady and predictable source of income. This is a huge advantage. Here are a few tips to help manage your budget:
- Map out a budget. This will give you a realistic sense of your financial limitations and will encourage you to spend responsibly.
- Got debt? One of your main budget priorities should be to start paying off any debt you have. This also means that if possible, you should avoid accumulating more debt.
- Does your employer have a 401(k) and/or retirement plan? If so, use it. It’s never too early to start saving.
- Create an emergency fund. Remember that part about having a steady and predictable source of income? It never hurts to prepare for the worst, and in this case you might consider building yourself a safety net of 3-6+ months of living expenses.
- Treat yo self: As they say, you can’t take the money with you, so you should enjoy (some of) it while you can. This will also serve as a morale booster when you’re pinching pennies.
- Your New Career:
You may think your days of résumé drafting and redrafting are over. Think again! The reality is that even when you have a job you should never stop paying attention to the opportunities around you. Keep an eye on the job postings in your field. If nothing else, you will get a better sense of your place in your industry. Additionally, you should continue to network as much as possible. The people you meet can be a great source of advice and can lead you to new friends, or a new opportunity.