Make your life easier by hitting your stride right out of the gates.
You Did It!
Alas, you are free! You’ve crossed the threshold into a new and exciting world full of opportunity. This is where the real tough part starts. Now you have to pass the Life diploma and there are no preparation courses. Its live action by the second and can change without notice.
You have the power now
Imagine you are sitting in a car with Uncle Ben, Ben Parker that is. Once you get out you are free to do anything you want. But before that Uncle Ben offers the single greatest piece of advice that could be bestowed upon a recent graduate.
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
A touch corny, and you probably don’t have the ability to launch spider webs from your wrists. But valid none the less.
It is a true statement for those just entering the real world. Now you have to find a way to make some money, and with that money you have to secure yourself the future you want. You are the master of your own destiny now. No longer tethered to one place or thing. You have the power to make your own decisions and will have to live with the consequences, good or bad.
Here are 5 things that you should do right after you graduate:
Find a Source of Income
This can be easy or difficult right off the bat depending on your schooling and geographical location.
This does not have to be your dream job.
This job doesn’t have to be something that you love to do quite yet. Maybe you will work 2 jobs, 3 jobs, or work 1 job and have a side income that you generate at home. If you can do what you love right away and get paid then take that opportunity. But whatever the case just make sure it pays you some money. That is all that matters at this juncture.
With some time you can decide what you would rather be doing, what you would love to do, and transition into that a little easier.
Open an RRSP or TFSA
This is extremely important. If you have not already done so open a TFSA and/or an RRSP. You must put a certain amount of money into this account every time you get paid. The minimum should be at least 10% of your earnings, if you can manage that. From there, you can decide if you’d like to assign your accounts to a financial advisor, or invest them yourself.
Not only will this sharpen your money management skills, but if you start early enough you could potentially retire decades earlier than other people will. Whatever the amount, talk to your bank and open a TFSA or an RRSP. Do some research as to how you would like to invest this money.
The returns will be based on what your appetite for risk is, but at an absolute minimum you should be aiming to create returns of 3-4% annually. You won’t be making much money at that point this is simply to protect your capital from being outrun by inflation.
Start talking to your friends and family about finances and investing. And stop talking to the ones that don’t believe in finances and investing.
Resist the Temptations
This is where that responsibility thing that Uncle Ben was talking about comes into play. Our society was built and functions on consumerism. Our environments are riddled with advertising and marketing traps that are designed to separate you from your hard earned money. You have to be able to recognize these traps and act accordingly.
Don’t get too wrapped up in creating a posh lifestyle for yourself. You don’t need a flashy condo on a popular street, you need a structure that will protect you from the elements and keep you safe. There is plenty of help on Pinterest and Instagram to make any space the perfect abode even on a tight budget.
Get a roof over your head and don’t blow your money on a bunch of designer clothes. Anyone who thinks that the brand on your clothing really matters isn’t someone who really matters!
“Never use the word “cheap”. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.” – Karl Lagerfeld
Optimize your Health
We are talking about both your physical health, and financial health. They can be achieved at the same time. You don’t have to spend a fortune getting into shape. Get into a money saving and body care regime. Both will pay you big dividends in the future. Join a running group, or create a home workout program.
Make sound financial choices. If you don’t absolutely need a vehicle, don’t buy one. If you can do a free activity over one that costs money and still have some fun, do the free one. If you live in a big city there is no doubt enough free yoga sessions around to last you the rest of your life if you look for them.
Find the biggest set of stairs in your town and challenge a friend to join you stepping them once a week.
Working on both our physical health and financial health takes commitment and time. Eventually it will become second nature and you’ll be in great shape, and a healthier happier person.
Never stop Learning
This is a great one that can again apply to both our financial and physical health.
NOTE: Although it may be the most boring thing you have ever done in your whole life, learn how to do your taxes properly, including calculating capital gains.
Studies have shown that continuous learning can have substantial benefits to the health of our brains. It keeps us sharp and can even ward of disease. Learn about your environment. What are the major industries in the town you live in? How many people live there? What are the largest exports? Challenge yourself and commit to learning a new language or playing an instrument.
Volunteer some of your time to a few charitable organizations in your community.
Keep learning about your finances as well. Dive into some studies on your spare time that look at different types of investments and money saving hacks. This will help you stay ahead of the game when it comes to saving money and having that money grow for you.
There is tons of ways to keep learning and expanding your knowledge. You will gain life experience exponentially faster this way which can prove to be invaluable later on when searching for your dream job, or networking to create a market for your own work should you chose that path.