In the early 2000s, while I was in my senior year of college one of my professors gave a lecture that I will never forget. He told us to think about the reality that in a few short weeks, we would be released out into the real world to fend for ourselves. He was trying to instill into the over-privileged youth of the world that this was a defining moment in our lives and for once, our parents were not going to be there to foot the bill. (Insert a scared face here).
As I listened to him discuss our “net worth” at that given moment, our future salaries and the life styles we intended to maintain.. it occurred to me that the majority of the room had no idea what we were about to get ourselves into. I had been privileged enough to grow up in a household that was mid-upper class and have parents who also taught me that they were well off, I was not. I had worked since I was 15 years old and always was able to support whatever I chose to do. But this was different, this was fending for ourselves – paying our own rent, food and entertainment expenses. At that time, I do not think I was fully prepared for this life lesson… and the summer that followed college confirmed my suspicions… and by the time I had started my “full-time” job, I kept replaying that lesson from college and looking at life with a whole new set of eyes.
I started to realize that those around me were living hand to mouth. Their paychecks barely covered their living expenses and they were still going out every night. (note: credit cards are not cash) How could they be doing that? Wasn’t the money starting to stress them out? Why didn’t they get second jobs? Where were their parents to be like “idiot!”? Then it occurred to me that maybe they are living the same way that they were raised. Not everyone has had the same upbringing and maybe they have no idea that the downward spiral that they are on will lead them into financial debt. I am in no way saying that I’ve overcome any huge hardships or had to make huge sacrifices. I just feel like I have had the opportunity to put it all together at an early stage in life and want to share those thoughts with others.
As I started my own consulting practice after college, I feel as if it might be my duty to help out. I have seen far too many of my friends and/or clients get themselves deep into debt and they needed some guidance. Many of them are hard working individuals that went to great colleges and have fantastic salaries.. just got themselves into too much too quickly. I’d like to be your guide to steer you clear of making a huge financial step in the wrong direction.
** Please note that these opinions are mine and not based on financial advice for your personal situation. I would highly recommend seeking out a financial planner and/or accountant to discuss your personal situation. This blog is meant to only be a spring board to get you thinking about the ways that you spend your money.**