First paycheck

Firstly…CONGRATULATIONS! You have just received your first “proper” paycheck, whether you started in the world of work early or have just graduated from college / university.

What a great occasion! So, now that you have it, what will do be doing with all the money? What will your priorities be? Looking at this pot of wealth allows you to pick and choose the best places for it to go.

Side note: fellow blogger Chief Mom Officer recommends tracking your spending for a couple of months before creating a budget to actually see how much money you spend on different activities.

Your pot of wealth

For simplicity’s sake, and because my maths is not as strong as it used to be, lets say that you have a paycheck of 1000 – could be pounds, dollars, rand, euros, wherever you are in the world.

Then, lets say that out of this, 300 is rent. You might be someone who lives with their parents and pay less rent than market rates, or you may be living in a really high-cost area and a third of your paycheck goes on rent (which is an awful feeling seeing the money go straight out of your account!).

Now that the big chunk is out of the way, the 700 left is for you to spend as you wish!  Experts such as Ramit Sethi, and Get Rich Slowly argue that automation is one of the best ways to save. 10% can then go straight out of your paycheck into investing .The automation part is particularly important as the aim is for you not to even think about it, it just happens and you can’t spend that money.

Make investing money a one-way valve: don’t take it out once it’s be automated in.

This could be a 401k, ISA, or any other saving service available. 10% is also the minimum – why not invest more and watch it grow? If you’re in the UK, I recommend Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert list of top ISAs, or if you are investing, I use Hargreaves Lansdown (let me know what broker you use in the comments!).

The importance of an emergency fund

Alongside investing is another similar segment to the pie chart: an emergency fund. Not long ago, one of my good friends almost lost her job in a redundancy sweep. She began to get very worried as she was living paycheck to paycheck and she had nothing which could keep her going without her job. The recommended number in your emergency savings account is 3 – 6 months of your expenditure. I would say as a garden variety figure, 5000 should be enough – but do vary it according to your needs. Once you have reached that figure, just let it sit. Don’t touch it unless there is an actual emergency!

Let’s assume that there is no emergency account, so I will allocate 50 to start it off with.:

Save to spend

Life never seems to be smooth sailing. What with the joys, like holidays to Europe, and the challenges, such as medical expenses, there always seems to be something new round the corner. Something I have found that really helps me manage these one-off expenses is creating a separate ‘save to spend’ account. Recently, something went wrong with my car right after going on holiday and I was so glad to have this account to take money out of rather than depleting my current account or ISA! I could not recommend it enough. In the UK, we are lucky enough to be able to have as many bank accounts as we want (no excuses then my fellow Britons!) – see how it works out in your home country.

…and the rest

Well, it’s up to you! I love food and a lot of my money seems to go on food or going out for a glass of wine with friends. There is also that added ‘guilt-free’ joy knowing that i have handled my money well and can still go out and have fun.

See what your spending is like, then adjust the figures above to match your needs. Have lots of money spare? Why not plug more into one pot that you prioritise that month. Student loans or other debt to pay off? It’s worth getting rid of that first because of the extortionate amount of interest usually put on those debts.

Does this method work for you? How do you split up your paycheck? Let me know in the comments!

Endings and beginnings

It’s a very scary feeling in the last year of an undergraduate degree and being expected to know the answer to the dreaded “what will you be doing after graduation” question. Having been there, I know first-hand the feeling of dread and waking up in a cold sweat panicking over jobs.

It is pretty ridiculous that a few years ago, the majority of people in education had to ask permission to use the bathroom and now we’re expected to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives! Especially in this ever-changing world where having the same job for 50 odd years is unlikely to happen (would you want to stay in the same place for that long anyway?!).

However – make sure you celebrate coming to the end of the degree! After spending a good chunk of time studying, living in student housing, going through a massive life change, it is super important to give yourself a massive pat on the back.

On to the next step: getting a job?

Some people do degrees that lead  them straight into the next part of education or a job, I’m thinking of doctors and vets here, but for many others the path is less simple. It may feel like all of your friends and classmates have their futures planned out, but in reality most people are going through exactly the same panic.

This may seem like a strange thing to say, but embrace it! If a job is something you want to put off for the time being , that’s okay too. This is a time of change, a time to do that trip to Fiji you’ve been daydreaming about in lectures, a time to follow your passions. Doing anything is better than nothing, and even if you don’t have a job yet, the experiences you have will make you stand out in interviews.

Job hunting hat

At the time of writing this, it would appear to be an easier time than usual for graduates in the US to get jobs (yay!). Nevertheless, it still requires hard work and thoughtful planning. Make sure you have the basics checked off:

  • Have an up-to-date CV.
  • Clean up your online footprint: I’m talking content on public social media channels, a LinkedIn profile, maybe even an online portfolio?
  • Take advantage of your university or college’s Careers Centre. They provide services for free that out of education you will need to pay for.

Choices, choices, choices

In this modern day era, the world is truly our oyster. Which is so exciting but completely overwhelming!

“Make bold choices and make mistakes. It’s all those things that add up to the person you become.” – Angelina Jolie

I recently discovered the term multipotentialite” (check out this great Ted Talk by Emilie Wapnick on why some of us don’t have just one true calling) which is a person who has many different interests in life. I think that this term can be applied to a lot of millennials. We have a lot of skills, wants, needs, and a desire for more out of life than average. The world is moving away from a 9-5:30 days, 5 days a week, for 50 years then retire with a nice watch and a pension. For example, the gig economy, self-employment – to give just two examples.

What do you want?

To come into your own, really take the time to think about what you want out of life. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you “zone out” doing? Sure, you may have to start out in a bar or retail just to get some money, but with a target to aim for, this becomes so much easier. The goal could be to work in a specific industry, to own a house, to become an entrepreneur – whatever you want to achieve. Picture yourself at the beginning of a timeline with that particular goal at the end. What specific steps do you need to take to get there?

STAYING motivated

In his book Tools of TitansTim Ferriss writes about Scott Adams who he interviewed on The Tim Ferriss Show. Scott talks about how he wanted to become a cartoonist and to keep his motivation up to get there, he wrote down 15 times a day that he will become a cartoonist. After doing this for a lengthy period of time with it helping him to stay motivated, he is now the man behind Dilbert. Put your mind and intention behind your goals!

Even though now it may seem pretty terrifying in this life change of finding out what you want to do, use this time to see what you want to get out of life. Life is happening right now – how do you want it to pan out?