Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

A Graduate’s Guide to Being A Grownup June 8, 2013

I was chatting with an old friend yesterday at one of the events at MIT’s Tech Reunions and she asked me how I got into all this personal finance stuff.  Well, as my blog’s sub-heading reads: “I got a degree, I got a job, now what?”  That’s really how it started.  I graduated (with a hefty pile of student loans), and started a job, and realized I had a lot to learn about this “being a grownup” stuff.  How should I attack the student debt?  What do I do with all these retirement plan options? WHAT DO I DO?!?!

So, that’s how it all started.

Well, this same friend told me that when she went through orientation on her first day of work, she also started having all these questions.  With new college hires getting training in the same class as experienced professionals, the topics discussed (401ks, health plans, etc.) were all things that the “grown ups” already knew about.  It felt awkward and confusing to try to learn when the “grown ups” were asking higher level questions about the benefits that the newbies didn’t even know about yet.  She wished there was a separate class just for the recent college grads so they could get into the basics and not feel intimidated.

She also wished there was a guidebook to life after college.

Well, here’s the thing.  There are TONS of books, blogs, websites, articles, etc. to guide you through your transition to being a grownup.  A lot of the personal finance blogs I’ve read over the years touch on these topics.  I consider my blog to be all about this, too.  After all, my blog is called Graduated Learning:  Life after College.  (Is it because I’m learning after graduation?  Or because I’m gradually learning new things?  MIND BLOWN!)  While I’ve touched on quite a few of these topics in the past, I figured I might as well kick off a new series to my blog.

That’s right.  Here it is.

A Graduate’s Guide to Being a Grownup.

I have a few specific topics in mind.  I’ll share what I know/learn, and invite comments on each post so others can share their thoughts, or ask more questions.  On this post, I invite you to comment with your own thoughts and ideas:

What do you wish had been explained to you when you graduated?  What did no one tell you on your first day of work that would have been helpful?  Are you a new graduate who has a million questions?  What resources have you found useful in your transition to the real world? (p.s. I’ve also heard really good things about Jenny Blake’s blog and book, Life After College)

If you’re a recent grad, or even a not-so-recent grad, I want to hear your questions!  We’ll get this figured out!

Commencement 2006

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8 Responses to “A Graduate’s Guide to Being A Grownup”

  1. Kristin U Says:

    I’ve never understood 401k fees and how purchasing them works. You get the price at the end of the trading day, right? And most funds have carrying cost-type fees that you pay while you own them, but what does it cost to sell them and buy others when you rebalance them? And how do you find all that out?

    • Stephanie Says:

      We can definitely look into this topic! I’m already planning a retirement accounts post. I know from our 401k, we tend to only have to pay fees if we sell certain funds too soon after buying them. When we buy a fund, part of the cost goes towards the fund itself, part goes to pay the brokerage (the expense ratio). I’ll look into this more for our retirement accounts.
      Sometimes you have to pay to trade a fund (just like when you buy stocks through companies like etrade, etc.) but not always….

      Like I said, we’ll delve into this topic, since there’s a lot to talk about here!

      One cool site you should check out that I just started looking at: http://www.brightscope.com/
      One of the things they do is review 401ks from different companies to see how they stack up when it comes to fees, matching, and other features.

  2. eemusings Says:

    Life After College is great. I also like Gen Y Girls’s blog.

  3. JS Says:

    I enjoy reading your blog :) My big rut is how to prioritize investment/savings. There’s not a lot of $$ left over every month after expenses, but we have no consumer debt and an emergency fund is established. So do we put more in retirement (we are well below limit), start a house fund, put a little something in a 529 plan for our kids, save up for the car we know we’ll need in a year or two?? When you have “X” left over every month, how do you divy it up between long-term and short-term financial goals???

  4. Sara Says:

    This may sound ridiculous, but I love the shows “princess” and “til debt do us part.” The show features Gail Vaz-Oxlade (a much more stomachable suze orman type) as she fixes people’s finances. First off, the shows make me feel infinitely better about my finances (my debt is student and not consumer), and secondly, she has a good pie chart on how much should be in savings, retirement, wants and needs. http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resources.html

  5. […] is the first in my “Graduate’s Guide to Being a Grownup” series.  I’m hoping to give some introductions as well as in-depth information to […]

  6. debtnthecity Says:

    I wish somebody had sat me down and laid out which to prioritize: paying down my massive amounts of student loans or saving. I also wished the gave me a plan for tackling my loans. And lastly, how do I plan for buying real estate at some point (and when is it appropriate to do so?!?) I hate paying rent.


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