I Just Turned in My Last Test

48/50.

That is the last test score of my Undergrad studies and I am without a doubt breathing a big sigh of relief. Finally the most standard, generalized, and honestly boring part as it relates strictly to studies and my career path is over! No more having to take subjects outside my realm, no more having to hunt down quality professors on RateMyProfessor (which needs to reassess that Chili pepper rating!), and most importantly there’s a whole summer where I’m not worried about the impending doom of a syllabus week!

No more syllabus week. No more syllabus atrociousness. No.

But I am left with the question that all degree earners are left with and often spend years trying to answer… What’s next? Am I supposed to go right back to school? Do I travel abroad like the hundreds of thousands of millions of blog articles suggest to do? Is this the part where I get married, buy a house, and flood Facebook with pictures of my baby?!

Swell ideas really. My advice on this unknown is something of a broad and ambiguous statement. I highly suggest you choose what you want to do.. and go all in. If it’s through traveling that you feel will help you grow the most, do it. Want to start a family? A business? Then take all your time, including “free time”, and shackle yourself to your dreams and goals. Because when you’re finished with college, you’re likely to still be in your younger years. And this presents a golden opportunity that won’t come along again.

When you are in your 20’s you’ll be allowed to mess up without having to feel too much of the ramifications. Maybe you spend all your money on travel, lose all your money building your business, you may end up living in your car for a week. The fact of the matter is this; when you are chasing your dreams you’re likely to slip, trip, stumble, or fall down. It may be just a scrape, it may end up being an ACL tear like myself. I tore mine just from Sprinting and stepping on an uneven bit of AstroTurf… 6 years of tackle football and I was completely healthy. But life comes at you from different angles and presents to you a plethora of different challenges.

And when you’re younger without too many commitments or responsibilities the setbacks will be minimal.

You could hold out hope from your 1 Bedroom apartment, praying that you’ll go untouched and unnoticed by the rigors of society. But like with any challenge, it’s best to challenge the unknown head on rather than taking a conservative “playing not to lose” approach.

I could (and have) start a business and end up losing some money over the whole set up, only to find that the final product was much of a money fetcher either. The most worry I would have is just cutting down a month’s supply of groceries to get back on budget. But imagine if I try to start a business while having kids and a wife who lean on your for your financial support, your undivided attention, and it all falls apart. How do I explain to my kids that they’ll just have to not eat as much for a month? Do I tell my wife that our family vacation plans are going to have to go on hold?

Are the lights going to go out in the middle of the night because we couldn’t pay for the electric bill?

Don’t try to protect yourself now thinking it’ll be easier to conquer later. Building up your fortress and then trying to expand your kingdom will leave you in a vulnerable spot. Embrace the nomad style of building your horizons and value and the kingdom you build will be exactly to your liking!

And for my concluding thoughts… Taking a year off.

What on Earth does that mean? With all the limited time we have on this planet, you’re going to spend that time “relaxing”?

GET THAT THOUGHT OUT OF YOUR HEAD

There is no such thing as taking a year off. You know who takes a year off? THE DEAD. Heck Billionaires don’t even take that much time off. Because they know more than anyone the value of time. You think they’re going to walk into their companies one day and say, “Man I’m exhausted, I better take a whole year off to get my mind right.” Their companies would go to shit or it wouldn’t be their company for much longer.

Taking a year off from School is fine as long as you fill it with something productive. I’m using my year to build this blog up into a reputable business. I love writing, I love the idea of having no more bosses, and I’ll work my fingers to the bone to make it happen. Bora Bora can wait. I’ll travel when I’VE EARNED IT. I’ll go out to the club when I’VE GOT SOMETHING WORTH CELEBRATING.

Maybe you’re doing this because you don’t feel like you’re seeing your friends enough. Well…

NEWSFLASH

They’ve got lives to live too! When you get older you’ll be lucky to socialize with your friends once a week. But if you’re busy building up your illustrious empire and you happen to have some great friends, once is enough. Get this habit of seeing your friends 10 times a day out of your life because while it’s good to have friends and a social structure, your friends aren’t going to pay YOUR rent. They aren’t going to pay for YOUR business. But they’ll gladly let you pay for THEIR drinks.

Accept this reality. You will only be better at what you do with practice. And practice demands a little bit of alone time. You learn more about yourself when you are alone than in a room full of people. I am sure your friends are awesome people but you need to be able to chose “working on my business background processes” over “going to the club with my friends”.

Choose wisely because you can’t go back later. For me, I’ve given my self a time limit of a year to turn this site into something profitable. The whole, “Quit my job, telling my bosses to suck it, doing what I want when I want, and writing for a living” dream is something worth working towards but it will take time. Therefore, I can’t afford to waste any time in this year I have.

It might seem like a lot of a pressure but pressure makes diamonds.

*Disclaimer

Featured Image was retrieved from (www.Pexels.com). I claim no ownership nor credit for photo and am simply using it as an image for this post as it relates to the writing.

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Costs After College

Good morning, Good afternoon, and Good evening folks!

Today, we are going to dive into the world, the real world that is, of the many costs of living on your own after graduating from college! We’ll cover the most common expenses as well as a few outside variables to consider and I’ll even include my own tips when it comes to cutting down that monthly budget.

Before we go on… Budgeting. It’s the most valuable skill an adult can have in this day and age where everything we do has an unfortunate link (and burden) to money. Thankfully there are some great applications out there to help keep an eye on all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and spending all in one place!

My recommendation, and this is truly a must for everyone, is the app Mint by Intuit. If Intuit sounds familiar maybe you’ve used a well known website of theirs called TurboTax! Yes the same people who help make filing your taxes a breeze also have an amazing app for keeping all of your budgeting needs. Mint allows you to connect your bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, and more all in one place. Now instead of logging into your accounts one by one, you just pull out the Mint app and everything appears in one easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate menu! It also allows you to set a monthly spending log to help keep track of spending in a variety of categories. It even provides a monthly update on your current credit score which is important to know when applying for credit cards, housing, loans, etc. The best part is that this app is FREE so there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t download it and give it a try!

Mint - Internet

Download Mint Today!

     Ok, now onto the expenses!

     Now that you’re all done with college and ready to move onto conquering the world, you’re going to need a base of operations. Whether it’s a one bedroom for yourself or a two bed that you plan on having a roommate with, factoring in your rent will more than likely be the majority of your monthly spending. One bedrooms can run anywhere from $750-$2000 depending on which side of the globe you live on. My advice is that if you can’t pay off your rent with one of your bi-weekly paychecks, it’s probably a little too much. Try to find something cheap and affordable when you’re first starting out, after all you just got out of college. Save the dreams of grandeur and mansions for when you’ve made a career out of your degree (or a career out of your blog ;D).

     While we’re on rent, consider all the expenses that come with it. Utilities, renter’s insurance, internet, and possibly pet expenses! Utilities will usually set you back about 10% of your rent. So if you’re paying $900 for rent, consider $90 as a place to start for the price of gas, electric, and water. Renter’s insurance has also become a must for apartment communities and in general. For example, I use Assurant for my renter’s insurance and have four pay periods of $60.25. This covers everything from property damage to robberies. Finally, Internet. I personally use cox’s internet and only internet as I don’t feel the need to have cable when Youtube and Netflix provide me with everything I need. Internet can be expensive so consider your options and needs. Cox is the most well known but other companies like Centurylink and Xfinity provide much cheaper options. Unfortunately I live in an area where neither are covered yet. An important note before moving on… While I don’t have cable, which reduces my expense through Cox, I do pay for Netflix which is something I need to factor into my monthly expense. Always keep in mind that when you use alternatives that they may have cheaper costs but they need to be factored into your budget nonetheless. The old saying goes, “small bits add up” and that couldn’t be truer when creating a monthly budget.

     The next biggest expense you’ll have to consider, plan, and plan again will be your groceries and food expenses. Now this is the part that people tend to find out a lot about themselves. What you buy from the grocery store, the meals you have to go, the fast food, the Starbucks runs, all of this add up to an expense that most people can’t seem to stay strict on because of their stomachs. My advice on this is to make a plan and stick with it. Have a list of items that you always get from the grocery store, pick 4 or 5 times that you’ll allow yourself to eat out, and try to avoid places that charge too much for food. Yes Whole Foods is awesome.. but in a recent experiment I found that I could get the exact same Items from Trader Joe’s at about $32 less. If you can make it work, then by all means go for it.

     Next up is Car expenses. Now some will have car loans that they are paying off, but some may not. Briefly, I’d say try to keep the car payments below $300. I know the 2017 model looks really nice but you need to live cheaply and that means not shelling out all your money on a really nice thing. That goes doubly so for cars seeing as a myriad of problems can happen and then you’re left paying for issues you didn’t (and couldn’t have) planned for. Beside car loans, there’s insurance and gas to pay for. I myself have found Geico to be very good for insurance as I only pay $90 a month, although I’m sure there’s plenty of companies out there where you can get a better deal. I also only end up paying $80 for gas a month thanks to the fact I drive a car good with good mileage (All my Ford Fusions say HEYY!!!). My advice on this is find a car with good MPG, good reviews, and won’t cost you a fortune… a fortune that last 72 months at $300 a month. Good MPG will reduce the needs for gas and a good track record will end up being favorable to insurance companies, further reducing the cost of insurance. So strap into those Toyota Corollas and get comfortable!

    There is also phone payments. Some of you may be lucky enough to still be on your family’s plan but consider that the newest Iphone 7 will cost $649 – $769 which can be divided up into monthly costs. There’s also the cost of the carrier (ATT, Verizon, Etc). You’re looking at costs exceeding the $60 range, though I’m sure you can find a carrier that will be a little fairer towards recent grads as well.

    Lastly I want to go over some miscellaneous expenses that are a common but uncommon as well. The first is a gym membership which, let’s be honest, everyone in America ought to invest in. I’m not saying you have to spend $150 for your local Lifetime, Crossfit gym, or other luxury gym. But finding a quality gym with good equipment that works for your regime is an expense worth adding to the budget. You of course can always workout at a local park or track and stick to bodyweight workouts and save some good money as well! Before moving on, I know that supplements have gained quite a bit of following lately and I want to be the first to tell you that you don’t need to shell out $300 on stacks of supplements. Protein, fish oil, and BCAA’s get me through a month (sometimes two) without going over $100.

     You may also set aside some money for those times when you want to buy clothes, buy tech, go travel, fund a business, etc. My overall advice is to plan, plan, PLAN! Know what you’re going to spend ahead of time so you can adjust your budget accordingly. Don’t gravitate towards the most expensive choices and you find something that works. You just graduated from college so I know your smart enough to distinguish between the two.

And now for the Recap!

To put all the expenses to consider in one place;

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Renter’s Insurance
  • Internet (and Media)
  • Groceries & Food
  • Car Loans, Insurance, & Gas
  • Phone & Carrier
  • Miscellaneous expenses like; Gym Membership, Travel, Clothing, Etc.

Remember that it’s about budgeting properly so that you have a positive cash flow. The more your monthly income increases, the more allowance you can have but you must be strict if you want to get ahead!

Hope you enjoyed this post, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, feel free to shoot me an email at support@adviceaftercollege.com

Remember to like, comment, subscribe and follow me on IG @Adviceaftercollege !

 

*Disclaimer

Featured Image was retrieved from (www.Pexels.com). I claim no ownership nor credit for photo and am simply using it as an image for this post as it relates to the writing.

Things I Wish I Would Have Done In High School – Nerd Edition.

The final lap is here. After eight long semesters of ‘top quality education’, I’ve got just two more before I can finally turn that tassel again and breathe a sigh of “OH THANK GOODNESS IT’S OVER!”. The ride has been an exhilarating one, full of twist and turns, triumph and turmoil, procrastination  and….procrastination. The only thing I kept thinking as I sat down with my college adviser was how glad I was that the ride was coming to an end.

And then it struck it me. “Why am I so happy that it’s almost over?”. Five years of higher education, working long hours, balancing my social life, and now I have a piece of paper that says, “Justin knows enough about psychology that you can hire him…after he does about 3-4 more years of schooling! HA HA HA  you thought you were done didn’t you?”. Yes I did actually. And it’s at this moment when you finish or are on the verge of finishing something that a load of regret falls on your shoulders. You begin to think of all the divergent paths that appeared that could have taken you down another journey, one that could have been more fulfilling, lucrative, or happier. But there’s always a key point you remember, one that you are entirely convinced that if you had done something different at this special moment, your entire life changes dramatically.

What was mine? How apathetic I was towards education when I was in high school. Not to mince words but I did not give a sh*t about improving my educational thought processes whatsoever. You see, early on in life I just seemed to get things. It all came natural to me, I could understand whatever subject and be absolutely great at it. Wanna know how great I was? I was creating homework for my fellow classmates IN FIRST GRADE… Not the teacher, me! I was already learning 5th grade math material at the same time as well, (coincidentally I would place America’s math skill at a 5th grade level in today’s society). Yes education was simple, it wasn’t at all difficult to learn and regurgitate the material.

Unfortunately, I fell for the “it’s lame to be smart” bullsh*t that plagues the world today. I was so concerned about fitting in and making friends as a youngin that I allowed my work output to slip. By far my biggest regret in life. Why? Because as a young adult about to head into the “after college” phase of life, I can look back and frustratingly wonder, “Why oh why did I try to fit in with a bunch of a*shole kids?!”

Oh but you see, I’m smart enough to realize that 90% of intelligence is just working hard… or at the very least doing the work. Enter High School, where peer pressure and social bull crap is at an all time high. I was more fixated on playing Football, lifting weights, marching band, and Track&Field events that I started doing what I felt like was the bare minimum…
This coming from a guy who managed to still graduate from high school with over 20 college credits and High Honors/Advanced Diploma! I settled for the hometown College of UNLV rather than going for Stanford or Harvard. Ironically enough, the people who I bestow the title of ‘Role Model’ went to an Ivy League school. What do all my role models have in common? Stinkin successful, stinkin rich, stinkin happy.

So what does this all translate to? A life lesson, a lesson that I hope reaches the eyes and ears of the younger generation. If you think it’s cool to not give a crap about school, imagine a crappy job that you think you’d never do in a million years and imagine that being your go-to career starter. Imagine people like Mark Zuckerberg, Conan O’ Brien, Google employees, who make tons of money, live their passions, and imagine you not being able to sit at the same table as them because you insulted people like them when you were all in high school together. They of course get the last laugh.

Be a nerd. Be smart. It’s not only cool to be smart, it’s an overwhelming advantage when you apply for a job, compete for a promotion, and I’ll be darned if it isn’t lucrative. If I could do it all over again, I’d be aiming for Valedictorian (speaking of which, my school had 9 my graduating year… I was close friends with 5 of them… I was even partially in the right crowd and I managed to screw that up! Mostly because the other crowds influenced me in terrible ways…damn jocks.) I’d aim for Harvard, I’d aim for being a Rhodes Scholar! I wouldn’t leave any stone unturned and to hell with those who think it’s too much work.

Lazy people will forever think that any amount of effort that extends beyond them trying to get out of bed is a lot of work.