Advice for Young Professionals

Is there a young professional in your life who could use some thoughtful career and financial tips? We have seven important tips that we think every young professional should be aware of, straightforward ideas to help people think about and manage their career and finances.

1. Expect to live a long time.

Build your “worth to others” to make sure you can earn a good living and probably do it for a very long period of time.

2.  Build skills that can lead to self-employment at some stage in your career.

Security at a company or at a government job is a thing of the past. Eventually figure out some type of job or career that you would be happy to do nearly forever, and potentially as your own boss, in case accumulating a large nest egg for retirement proves difficult.

3.  Build an emergency fund with greater urgency than saving for retirement if you are right out of school.

Even the ablest among us can now expect gaps in an employment. While potentially parents or other family members can help in a seriousor prolonged emergency, now that you are out of college and “on your own,” it’s best for everyone if you build your own emergency fund. You should aim for six months of expenses in savings, if you can get there. Even with low-interest rates, cash in the bank is best.

4.  Consider investing in any retirement plan at the office at least to equal any “match.”

Even if you find you need to use the funds before the retirement, if there is a good matching program (for example a 100% match on the first $X), then you still have the potential to come out ahead.

5. Don’t go to Starbucks too often.

Don’t eat too much sushi–unless you earn a lot of money. Small luxuries add up in cost. Be frugal. Don’t go on fancy vacations. Hang out at the local lake or beach with some pals. You’ll be glad to have your emergency fund and/or some excess retirement funds when you need them.

6. Make sure that jobs you take have a purpose besides paying the bills.

Each job does not have to lead straight to an end point, but it should keep doors open for you and should be something that enhances what you have to offer for others in the future.  Make sure you work for a company you can be at least a little bit proud of. Even if your role isn’t exactly what you want, negotiate with your boss so that you can spend at least some of your time on projects that will stretch your skills.

7. Learn how to grow your network, and do it.

It is the rare person who can afford not to have a network. Even if you are a natural introvert, make some effort to go out of your comfort zone to build a trusted set of friends and contacts—as well as more numerous but positive “looser connections.” You may find one day that the cliché is true: “Your network is your net worth.”

We also recommend reading Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone for great concepts and tips on building your network.

As always, please contact us if you'd like to discuss your financial goals or
arrange for a complimentary portfolio review (some limitations apply).

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