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HOW TO AVOID BEING THE NEXT BROKE GRADUATE.


Six months out of college and I am jobless, in debt, I have no savings, no prospects and I am broke. How did I get here? The plan was simple, get through college, graduate, and find a well-paying job, exclusively in that order. Where and how did I mess up? Sadly, the world had changed, and I had not changed with it. Companies and organizations no longer lined up on graduation days, looking for fresh graduates to employ. The demand for jobs was higher than the jobs available.

"After College, then what"?


Throughout all of my years in college and sometime after college, I was ignorant about finances. Like most college students, my focus was only on my studies. I had no plan and I didn't think I needed one. Looking back, I realized there were lots of things I could have done to save myself from the state of complete helplessness. Among them are:

Savings.

Most people have trouble when it comes to saving money. Money will never be enough; saving some of it almost seems impossible but it does not mean it cannot be done. Yes, most students save money already but mostly they save it for temporary things like when they want to buy a new phone, laptop, or clothes or preparing for an event. Very few ever consider saving money for the future. It is never too early to start saving money, you can take baby steps until you are fully accustomed to the habit of saving. The first step is opening a savings account. Luckily, as a student, you can open any bank account for free.

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”-Benjamin Franklin.


Freelancing.

This can help you earn money at the same time learn money management skills which can be used later in the future. In addition, you can also acquire new skills as well as sharpen old skills which can make you marketable to future employers. The skills can also help you venture into business or help you find a new career path. For example, you can spend your time writing out business plans for different clients, practicing photography and fixing gadgets for fellow students, just to name a few.

Investments.

You can also make investments by yourself or by putting money together with your friends if you cannot manage to source the money on your own. You can use the money to start or support a small business as long as you can manage to balance up school and business. One doesn’t have to extensively worry about where to get customers because, classmates, roommates are potential customers. Examples of small investments might include selling gum, second-hand clothes, or anything you can get your hands on.


Entrepreneurship and Finance conferences.

Most of these are free and can be attended by anyone. You lose nothing by taking time to attend these conferences. It will be an opportunity for you to gain new knowledge as well as create networks that might help you in the future. Bear in mind that after college, you will have to pay a lot of money to attend and be a part of similar conferences or seminars. To quote Dr. Ben Carson “Knowledge is never wasted”, as a student you can never know what you will be doing ten years from where you are, hence you should grab every available knowledge you can get.


Financial literacy should be considered an important survival skill. Parents should teach their children all they need to know about financial freedom and independence. Even though the children might not understand it or find its importance soon after the lessons, trust that they will learn to appreciate the financial lessons and skills later.


As a student, realize that there is life after college, plan for it now by making the right financial decisions. If you fail, you can always try again.


What are some of the things you wish you had known about your finances before, in, or after college?

How did you manage your finances during and after college?

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