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.

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Remaking the Blog, Advice After College

Dun… Dun… DUNNNNNN!!!!!!!!! Good morning, Good afternoon, and Good evening everybody! Welcome to the site formerly known as JackAdvice.com. You see, after lots of brainstorming and research, I have decided to remake the blog into something more useful and way more compatible for people to use as a source of advice and help.

Now as useful as advice from a guy named Jack may seem, it doesn’t really tell you much. Admittingly, it wasn’t the best choice for a title. We all make mistakes. But now it’s time to move on and create a better blog!

So why after college? Simple… I’m graduating!!! 6-Figure jobs and 401k here I come! But forreals.. what IS supposed to happen after college? We’re supposed to have a definitive pathway leading us to good working jobs thanks to the four (or five) years of service we paid getting a piece of paper. You may want to sit down for this next part but… what if this piece of paper doesn’t guarantee a job off the bat?

Oh hey! You’re back, I think you passed out after reading that last line (QUICK, DON’T READ IT AGAIN!). Joking aside, I want to help you all figure out this confusing time in your lives because it just seems like you’re on your own. But I’ll let you in on a little secret.

This is the ABSOLUTE BEST TIME IN YOUR LIFE. You can take all the risks that you normally see T.V. show characters taking, you can start a new life, experiment with different career paths, and you have nothing to lose.

Sure you may have student loans, but are you really going to wait until you’re in your 40’s to take a chance and travel somewhere new? You can’t. Right now your responsibility lists are minimal while your potential is at an all time high! Take advantage of this opportunity to do something crazy!

That’s all I have for now.  But I’m super excited to figure this all out with you! Check back often for new articles and hey! Keep up with 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.

 

 

Why Everyone Should Try Volunteer Coaching

4th quarter. Final minute. Last possession. Time to go to work. You send in the play to the young lad or dame, “Pro right, X option, Throw it to ‘Lenny'”. Whistles go off and the kids take their places on the line. Lenny, the 8th grader whose already 6ft tall, lines up ready to bring the “W” to the team and make his father proud. The quarterback takes a look around and begins the cadence, “down.. Set.. HUT!” The quarterback scrambles, avoids the rush, and slings a perfect pass to Lenny! GAME OVER, WE WIN, I’M A GENIUS!… Until you notice the yellow laundry lying on the ground in front of you. Turns out “Billy” twitched too soon and it resulted in a false start, which results in an automatic 10 second run off. Games over.

Where’s a refree to scream at when you need one?

Yes welcome to the wonderful world of volunteer youth coaching, just like the popular show “Whose Line Is It Anyway”.. Where the rules are made up and the points do not matter! Maybe you’ve signed up as a last desperate attempt to stay close to the sport that has changed your life. Perhaps your resume is slacking a bit and this could be the extra skill that puts you over the top! Maybe you enjoy being stressed and working for free in your personal time! WELCOME ABOARD!

All joking aside, volunteer coaching is a wonderful experience inside a stressful experience that you’ll value forever, as long as your winning… I mean as long as your team is having fun. The point of coaching is to pass on that glory we had from our days to the next generation, in a less expletive-laden speech. It’s also about teaching teamwork to a bunch of pre-puberty or puberty-induced kids who are surely there to learn life lessons. That or their parents woke up in a midnight sweat of childhood regret and impulsively signed up their kids for every activity within 10 miles of work! Now that’s economical!

But you see, there are actually some pretty valuable lessons to learn as a coach for these young whippersnappers. Using my own experiences from volunteer coaching, we’ll dive into the three that stood out the most!

1) Trial by fire

Newsflash! Your first time coaching is probably going to go terribly wrong at some point. Yes, I know you were the League MVP, but coaching versus playing is more than a hair of a difference. Teaching kids requires patience, after all while it seemed you just “got it”, the kids standing in front of you are not liable to “get it” until years from now. Seriously, you’ll be amazed at the underperformance. And they are just kids so there’s no reason you should be looking for first round draft picks!

But it’s this realization that sparks it. As a coach you’ll be invigorated to try new things, believing you know how to use everyone’s talent in the best possible way! I thought my first go around that I would implement a no huddle spread offense using lingo that was wayyy out of the kid’s learning prerogative. The result? In the first two games we allowed 102 point against just 7 points scored. Don’t worry, we cleaned it up and won the next 6 games. But it was this humbling experience that shows not everyone is going to get “it” right away.

2) Parents

Oh yes, you have to deal with “them” too. The constant questions about where practice is (it’s on the damn hand out Margaret!), the CONSTANT critique of your coaching style, and the never ending quest to make you play their sons/daughters at different positions.

I’ve found that you typically get two kinds of parents, the first is the low maintenance adults who let you figure things out and do things your way as long as they don’t feel their kid is being treated terribly (which varies, but typically as long as your not cussing out their kid for no reason your fine). They’re the kind who will offer help and won’t be offended if turned down, and still contribute positive reinforcement.

Parent number two is the kind that’ll text you twenty (f*cking) times a week.. With a plethora of excuses on why Daniel can’t make practice this week. They’ll be the last one at every practice (when they show up) and will always ask a question about something you literally just answered. Thankfully parents in the number one category will stare at them with the same questionable drawing look as you do.

While incredibly annoying, this constant back and forth actually gives you a pretty good look into the adult world of supervising or managing a work force. That look being more along the lines of dealing with excuses and behind the scenes work. You’ll be amazed how childish adults can really be.

3) Losing teaches more than winning

When you lose a game by 3 points in a close nail biter, you’re down but you know you gave it your best. You know a play or two could have made a difference and when you go to practice you’ll be motivated to be better. When you lose a game by 50, avoid the coach.

I say that both sarcastically yet seriously. No one likes to lose. Your mom can tell you a million times it doesn’t matter but you’re not going to just flip a switch and be ok with losing. Instead of treating it like something that doesn’t matter, treat it like it matters more than a win. Treat it like a learning opportunity. This is your chance to see what you can do better. You see your weaknesses because the other team exploited them, so now you know what to work on in practice.

When you lose, it’s important the kids see their coach not be down. They don’t want to let you down so keep your head up and they’ll do the same. You learn more from a loss than you’ll ever learn from a win. Because when you’re winning, you question nothing. When you lose, you start questioning everything. Keep calm, eat an orange slice, and march on.

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.

How to (finally) Publish Your Own Book

How many times have you ever just sat there reading an article, a blog, or even a book and thought to yourself, “good lord, I can write a better book than this!”. Hopefully not at this exact moment (aka my blog), but chances are you’ve felt a strong urge to share your knowledge with the world in the classical form that is written literature.

Problem? You have no clue how to start or no idea how to get your ideas out there.

Solution! Kindle Direct Publishing and Createspace! Both are Amazon-owned websites that allow you to publish your book via digital or print forms. Both make it insanely easy to publish as they’ll walk you step by step through formatting until your book is on the Amazon store website. The best part? You can even get paid!

So let’s break this down, starting with Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. Head on over to KDP where you’ll login using your Amazon account information (if you don’t have an Amazon account yet, climb out from under that rock and make one already!). From there, you’ll go through a series of steps that include uploading your contents, filling out tax infor to earn royalties on sales, and the option to upload a cover for your book or simply create one using their own cover creator application. From there it’s a simple submit for review and you’re less than 48 hours away from being the next J.K. Rowling!

But wait, there’s more!

KDP allows you to take advantage of their KDP select program. Oooh, ahh, what the hell does that mean? KDP select, in short, allows you to take advantage of promotional periods where you can get turn your book into a money making machine! What’s the catch? You can 1) make it free for up to five days per KDP select period or 2) use a countdown deal where you cut the price in half.

Wait… That means less money for me! Or even no money!

That’s correct! But consider this.. If you’ve never published a book before and don’t happen to own tv air time, millions of social media followers, or have one of those Instagram Models who can promote your book (talking about you Tianna G!) then chances are you’re not going to sell any books without a little help. Do you have any idea how many books there are in the world? How many must get posted a day on Amazon? It’s in the thousands. Thousands. Usually 4 digits, sometimes 5.

To help give you a running start, free book promotions wind up on a second list, the free list, where it can get more exposure. It’s also recommend based on kindle readers likes and what they happen to be clicking on when they’re using kindle. Long story short, it gets around more. The more people download it the more people might review it! And reviews are the life blood of a book. Good reviews mean the persnickety people who “only” download good books will take a chance on yours! And that means more moolah. Plus, once the free book promotion ends the book will keep its spot when it transfers over to the paid list. What’s that mean?

Your book will be allocated to a spot on the paid list based on how many downloads it got on the free list, in accordance to its genre that you list it under (humor, drama, etc.). Lots of free downloads mean a higher starting spot on the paid list for the next day!

The countdown deal is also really good if you’ve got an established audience as people love when things are half off! It’s a psychological thing called “greed”. And greed has never looked better! You simply have to have the starting price be half of the original price ($2.99 if originally listed at 5.99) but as the countdown deal comes to a close you can up the price in increments.

Honestly it’s a great first experience if you go through KDP. If you’re ready to turn your book into a printable solid, head on over to Createspace!

Createspace, in short, turns your digital book into a solid. Nothing feels more accomplishing than opening up a package from Amazon with your ideas given form inside. It does take patience as the formatting process will have you re uploading constantly so that you can make it perfect. You can pay someone to help you but I’d recommend going through the process yourself so that you gain some perspective on the book crafting process.

Some final thoughts? Send digital copies, excerpts even, to your friends BEFORE you publish the book. I was so excited to release my first book, Pocket Guide to Being a Millenial, that I worried about the reviews after the fact. While I did get a good number of downloads during the free book promotion, having 20+ reviews would have made absolutely crazy results! Something that I’ll be trying again in October to re affirm my hypothesis. Do yourself a favor and have about 10-15 honest well written reviews to go with your launch.

And don’t be afraid to shamelessly promote your book!

P.S.

Check out my book, Pocket Guide to Being a Millenial, in the following link! (Not currently available in print due to some formatting issues I noticed during the proofing portion).

What Traveling With My Family Has Taught Me

Dozens of trips to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and so on all taken for granted while we are in our youth. It’s only after we become adults (or college grads, whichever comes first) do we truly see just how valuable travelling is. “Putting some miles on the soul” is what helps craft a truly diverse human being and an even more culturally sound society. It opens our minds to the world around us and teaches us the lessons we could never comprehend by sitting behind a desk at school or even at the office. Studies have actually shown that traveling can even lead to academic achievement that would be otherwise unattainable for those who abstain from traveling. How can this be? The hands on, live experience that traveling provides is something you can’t fully simulate in a classroom setting. It provides the unique, unrehearsed challenges that truly help develop the mind when dealing with stressful situations. Though these stressful situations fall under the umbrella of “eustress” or “healthy stress” which are meant to stimulate those dopamine centers in the brain.

But wait, there’s more! There is also evidence that traveling can make you healthier! (as long as you’re not throwing back those famous Boston lobster rolls left and right). In fact, a near decade-long study has shown that men who traveled at least once a year were 30% less likely to develop heart disease! (Jan 2014) How can this be? Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropychologist claims that exposing your brain to new and novel environments causes the brain to sprout dendrites which grows the brain’s capacity! (Jan 2014).

Traveling is healthy for brain growth and reducing stress, no arguments there as we have science to prove it! So what has traveling with my family taught me? Having been born and raised in Las Vegas, I’ve been spoiled with a diverse population of ideas, cultures, and behaviors that have helped shape me into the person I am today. But even Las Vegas, with a population of over 600,000 people, has it’s limits. My mother, the greatest human being I have ever known and will always love with all my heart, has truly given me the greatest of lessons a parent can give their child. Material things do not matter, having loads of money does not matter, they are both nice to have and you should count your blessings when they are in your possession, but by no means are they the ‘piece de resistance’ in life. Being able to expand your horizons, your mind itself, is one of the biggest services you can do for yourself. This can be accomplished from traveling.

Going to another city, another country, or even just a couple hundred miles from home exposes you to the world outside of your “norms”. You meet new people, learn new behaviors, and truly develop your ways of thinking that a 9-5 job could never do. It’s one thing to read a book about or blog article on Bora Bora, it’s something entirely different to actually go there and feel the crystal clear sea water on your skin.

My Family has always emphasized “getting out of Vegas”, not just to simply leave but to challenge myself and grown. Whether that’s a simple summer camp trip to northern California where you learn how to fend for yourself without your parents constantly guiding you, or grabbing a work visa to intern in Canada over summer where you experience an entirely different array of people. Growing up here in America, I’ve always seen these pictures in text books about Washington D.C., The Civil War, our Government in general. I never would have felt their scale until I actually had a chance to travel to our nation’s capital and walk through the streets where it all happens. To see the monuments in person, you have no idea the impact these architectures mean until you have seen an 80 year old veteran lay his on over his comrades names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. It’s humbling, it’s educational, and it is something I never would have felt from simply seeing pictures in a book.

Traveling has a way of making you stand out as well. The diverse ideas one gathers from traveling is incredibly attractive to companies and start ups who are looking for the next big thing. Think of Google for instance, who gathers millions of applications a year. Fair to say that half of those applications are those plain, simple resumes with good work experience and maybe an Ivy league school. What makes them different from one another? What makes your application stand out from the other Stanford grad whose applying as well? Companies want different. They want unique views or interesting people because that’ll lead to lucrative and progressive projects. Does the Stanford grad who worked in the school’s rec center have more to offer than the Stanford grad who has regularly traveled over seas to learn, donate, and volunteer? Companies are willing to bet that someone with more views on the world will offer better views on a project that could change the world.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had a bunch of money and could afford to live in So Cal inside a big mansion with all the latest gadgets, it would be hard to turn down. But those gadgets are merely a distraction from the world outside. And the house is more of an end goal rather than a need. A real necessity is to grow, to learn, and both can be accomplished from Traveling. My family has always taught me that the experience is more valuable than any model of the iPhone out there. Travel in your youth, learn about the world, and give back to it during your journey through life.

References: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-28/travel/sc-trav-0128-travel-mechanic-20140128_1_brain-20-percent-health , retrieved on 8/20/16