Luckily, the light bulb came on early and I was able to turn things around fairly quickly, but what happens to the college graduate who is stellar academically, as well as in their chosen career and still doesn't know how to manage money? Here are 3 reasons college graduates may still find themselves in a money rut:
1. We have the "I've made it/I deserve it!" attitude. As college graduates, we tend to want everyone to know that we've made it. As soon as the ink settles on our first offer letter, we're out leasing luxury cars, dressing in designer everything (for our new position, of course) and moving to the "good" side of town. The difference is that as super intellectual college graduates, we don't want to admit that we're trying to keep up with the Kardashians, so we say, "I have to look the part to be taken seriously in my career" or "I went to college and I deserve this (insert unnecessary indulgence here)."
2. We honestly believe we automatically know better. We believe our degree justifies us as smart in every subject to everyone around us. This is not about someone else being "dumb" or as I've read here on the comments, "ghetto." This is not a "Hood vs. Harvard" debate. Just because you may be the first in your family to go to college, yea you may know more than the other kids from the neighborhood, but now you actually have more access to debt sources and can likely fall prey to them more quickly and aggressively than your "uneducated" counterpart. Don't let the pride in your degree stop you from getting help when and if you need it.
3. We confuse our income with our net worth. So reportedly a college graduate earns about double the income a non-college graduate earns annually. Does this mean that their net worth is necessarily more? Absolutely not! It wouldn't matter if you earned $100k per year or $50k per year, the wealthier person is the one who lives beneath their means and makes sound investment choices. Period. Just because you earn more money than the next person, don't assume you are better off than they are. You may look well off, but they might really be where you wish you were financially.
At its core, the issues we have with money as adults are based upon what we grew up learning, seeing or hearing about money from our parents and other adults or influencers around us as a child. If we don't become aware of why we relate to money the way we do, many of us will continue to sabotage our financial success, regardless of whether we've had formal education or not.
NOTE to those who are tempted to e-mail me about the economy: Stop blaming where you are financially on the recession, depression or economy. The recession did not create foreclosures and bankruptcies; it just exposed how many people were truly living beyond their means and with no financial plan in place. If everyone, college graduate or not, doesn't get some type of personal finance education, this will not be the first time we see our economy devastated by financial mismanagement.
Until Next Time,
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