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So you Graduated…Get a Job, and Here’s How

So you just graduated. You listened to the commencement speech, grabbed your diploma, sobered up from those nights of endless college drinking and you are hungry for the world and what it has to offer.

The only problem now is you need a job and a place to apply this thirst for success and a real paycheck. Big dreams are good at this point but you need to stay in the present moment to in order succeed. Creating unrealistic expectations can only bring disappointment . The first thing you need to do is sit down with a pen and paper and brainstorm. Its easy to just come up with stuff in your head but it can sharpen your focus if you start trying to physically map where you want to be realistically on paper. Dont fret, I was in this position one year ago. I graduated with no job and worried thoughts about what i was going to do just like you.

Here are my list of tips that i have personally found helpful during my search for a job.

  • Network. I really can’t stress this enough. You should treat yourself like a start up business and market the crap out of it. Go out of your way to meet, talk, impress and wow people around you in the field you are looking to go into. This is how you get a foot into the door. Research the industry and the different jobs you are interested in like crazy. Talk to people, be hungry and stay hungry. Your dad’s uncle’s best friend knows a guy at the company you want to work for? Pick up the phone and try to call that guy, stay in touch and check in with him every 4 days. People respond to persistence and passion. If you really want something you will make it happen, if you don’t you will make excuses. When I was starting out I went to many meetings and lunches with different bankers from large and small banks time and time again to just finish the meetings with them telling me that they didn’t have any job openings but they knew another guy at another bank that could help me out. I would shake hands, thank them for their time, and then immediately call their contact. I did this many times before finally landing an interview. It worked, because I didn’t give up. The more you network the easier it will become and the better you will be at it. Remember, you will most likely be working for someone in the baby boomer generation so  you have to relate to them by picking up the phone sometimes and not just using email or linkedIn.
  • Find a headhunter or a recruiting agency. These are people who’s main job is to find you a job. They are paid by the company to seek talent. Most headhunters will charge you nothing for their services. These are a great resource because they will set you up for interviews, and help you prepare for the interviews. They want you to get a job just as bad as you do because that is how they get paid. Even if you don’t get a job through a headhunter the whole process will help you practice for interviews and give you good experience for the jobs you do want or come across.
  • Go to networking events and in your field. these are great ways to meet people who could possibly help you find a job. from what I’ve learned working in the city is that everybody knows at least 5 people who have the potential to help you in a big way in landing a job, so you should never underestimate the power of a smile and a handshake. it can get you a lot farther than you ever imagined.
  • Don’t limit yourself to possibilities and don’t stop searching until you have an OFFER! Jobs are like girlfriends or boyfriends. Always be looking for potential matches when on the market. Just because you have a prospect doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing other opportunities. Keep the search going until you have that offer at the very end.
  • Talk to your friends who have jobs at companies, get insight on what they do and what their company is like. If you think it would be a good match ask them if they know anyone in HR that you could reach out to. Many times people get bonuses for finding talent or potential employees, so its a good incentive for both of you. LinkedIn is a good source for this as well, usually you can see where your connections work, don’t be afraid to reach out.
  • Dont rule out opportunities. I always liked the sales phrase, “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work”. This rings true because if you want a job you should be doing whatever means possible. I remember that I was on tinder one day which is the cell phone dating app and I gave my resume to a girl who I talking to whose dad worked for a hedge fund in Boston. I was doing whatever it took.
  • Don’t give up. Jobs usually come from the most unlikely places. Just because you got an automated rejection email from State Street doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Try to stay away from just applying online to companies through the career website, or your schools job link. Many times those online applications are screened extremely loosely and if you don’t have much going for you on paper you’re likely to get rejected because it doesn’t give employers an full picture of the real you. I was also talking to a couple employers and many said that those sites just feed to the HR spam email folder and many are rarely looked at.
  • My last piece of advice is to not care about what other people think. This is your life, you need to hound people for a job. Don’t be afraid to really get their attention and don’t be passive because employers have a lot on their mind and will easily forget about potential candidates if they aren’t constantly being put in front of them. So make sure you dial that phone and send those emails reminding them who you are and what you want. My dad’s buddy once told me that he stood outside of a company in a suit everyday waiting for the employer to give him a job. His dedication and persistence paid off because even though he thought it was weird, he knew that my dad’s friend was hungry and dedicated. That’s what employers are looking for.

Good Luck and Let the Game of Life begin!


Don’t Redline your Financial Health, Stay Under Control

Continuation from the last article..

If you drive a stick shift car, then you are likely well aware of the dangers of redlining. Redlining refers to the red area on the RPM meter; This is the area above which the engine is designed to be safely operated. In terms of spending habits, riding the redline consistently will not only hurt your financial health, but will surely cause you problems down the road. When driving a stick shift car, it is important to shift when necessary so you don’t break your car, or your bank account. In terms of finances, redlining can be defined as spending or taking on more debt than your income can afford. Which is the opposite of creating wealth.

In last week’s article, I emphasized that becoming wealthy means that you absolutely must spend less than you make. This still rings true, but it is very important that this principle  isn’t over simplified or misinterpreted.

Living by this simple principle means that you must spend less than you make at every spending opportunity. The simple mind will look at their spending on the most basic of levels. I am very much guilty of this, as are most of my millennial friends. It seems so easy to justify spending $400 of your $600 dollar pay (post rent) on clothes, sunglasses, shoes, clubs, restaurants, bars etc. because technically, you are spending less than you earn. You may even think to yourself, ‘If worse comes to worst I will just skip a couple of meals.’

When most people think of the word expenses they think of the bare minimums such as

  1. Rent, water, electricity
  2. Food
  3. Going out

As a 20-something these are probably, the big expenses that you have to pay. From my personal experiences I have justified my frivolous spending on material items by making sure that these three bases were somewhat covered before I just went for it. This mentality is flawed, there are many other expenses that we tend to forget about, these include: lunch at work, Netflix, Spotify, gym membership, late night street meat, refilling bathroom supplies, dry cleaning/wash and fold, that extra round you bought everyone when you were already wasted, movies, dates, 5% to savings and many other random expenses that come along with living in the city. These are the extra expenses that will cause you to redline your personal financial health that you need to remain cognizant of (and don’t forget, just because the charge went on your credit card doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be counted in your expenses).

When we’ve already spent all the money that we have early on in the pay period because we decided that we needed new Allen Edmond oxfords or those Jimmy Choo heels we are left with a credit deficit because it turns out they were just not our 20-something year old personal budget, go figure.

When I tell you to spend less than you make this means spend less after every single expense has been accounted for and sometimes this means that you actually don’t have enough money to drop $500 on a new suit or hand bag one Saturday of the month because it just doesn’t work within your means (also remember to base your income on your take home pay and not the amount you get before taxes). You can’t afford to be redlining. Redlining is bad for your financial health and makes saving impossible. The hardest part about credit card debt which is inevitable at our age is trying to save and pay off the debt at the same time. If you really really want to be wealthy you have to be consistent and strict with your money until you actually can afford to spend a little. I will be the first one to tell you that every once in a while its fun to rev the engine and redline a bit, splurging on something big but making a habit of this can become a downfall to any wealthy person.

Now is the time to save and skip the redlining because it only gets harder as life goes on and gets more complicated!

Stay tuned for part three of the spending sections.

3 Ways to Wealth

During my time in college I took many finance and business classes in order to graduate. Some of them were helpful and some were just there for me to take, pass, and move on with my life. I will always remember the words of one of my finance professors on the first day of class. He asked the class what are the three fool proof ways to become wealthy. So I thought I would share my professor’s insights with you all because its always good to learn more about how to become wealthy.

The first foolproof way to make money is by marrying into money or by inheriting money. We see often or hear about children with large trust funds and inheritances turning 18 and have sudden access to large amounts of money that was set aside for them or dictated by a will. We also see families acquiring wealth from deceased wealthy family members.

The second way to be wealthy is to be extremely lucky. This includes winning the lottery, investing in a fairy tail stock (that brings you millions) or having a million dollar idea and executing a business perfectly. Now this does happen every once in a while but the chances seem pretty slim for the average person to find such luck.

The first two ways seem like they carry a low probability for most of us and I would like to think people these days still get married because they love someone rather than trying to marry someones bank account.

But….the third way we can become wealthy in our lifetime is to always remember one rule. If you always spend less than you make or spend less than you are able to afford you will surely be wealthy. This concept is so simple yet so many people in all parts of life have such a difficult time understanding that, in order to have money, we have to hold onto it and not spend it.

This brings me to a good point. Millennials in our generation have a tendency to spend money like crazy whether its at the bar, on food, clothes, accessories, or phones etc. A lot of this stuff far surpasses our basic necessities. Most of the time we are not getting any kind of return on our money financially and a diminishing return on the thing that we buy.

So if you plan on being wealthy or want to start, just remember one rule, spend less than you make.

Stay tuned for the next article as we break this down more for better understanding….

Stepping Up Your Budget Game

Recently, while attempting to tackle a vast amount of credit card debt, I came across the much-needed concept of Budgeting. Budgeting is an unusual verb that is not often used in this generation, I too was a little lost. Especially after spending way too much last year on bars, food, beer, lunch, dating and anything else that drains your wallet. I felt like I hit rock bottom financially. I realized I had spent way too much money on too many perishable goods and services. This was a sign I needed to take better control of my financial habits soon or else this terrible pattern was bound to continue.

When it comes down to it budgeting means control, and control is a product of knowledge. Back when I was spending too much, I was lacking knowledge. Financial knowledge about where I was and what I was doing with my money. That was my biggest problem. I wasn’t thinking about how all of my expenditures were adding up. I would always think I had more money in my account than what was actually there, forgetting about the small things that I had bought for lunch or at the stores after work. Note: Small amounts add up the quickest!  So after my card declined a few times I finally forced myself to take control. My first attempt to regain control was an approach any millennial would do in this day—turn to technology. Technology in the form of Mint.com

Mint.com is a budgeting website and application that you can easily download onto your phone, laptop, or other smart devices for free! Mint.com provides personal budgeting tools that allow users (your futures selves) to add all of your financial accounts and display all of your balances simultaneously. This is done in a similar way to an instantaneous balance sheet showing your personal assets and liabilities. I was able to add all of my loans (school and car), bank accounts (checking and savings), credit cards, 401K, and even my brokerage account on Mint.com. At any given time you can view your exact net-worth down to the penny. With Mint.com I am able to see my balances and account activity anywhere I go. This application provides an accessible display of my spending habits in the form of helpful visualizations.

The best part about this service is the categorization tool and the budget planning aspects. Within the site I am able to see all of the purchases that I make on my various credit cards and withdrawals from my accounts in real time. I also have the ability to put these purchases into specific categories to see where my money is going every month. Using these categories I am able to customize personal budget plans. I therefore am able to manage the amount of money I am going to spend on certain necessities such as alcohol, fast food, work lunch, breakfast etc. Mint.com service will even send my cell phone alerts when I am spending too much or have gone over my set budget. These budget limits also tell me if I am saving the appropriate amount so that I am able to pay my loans and credit card bills on time.

This service helped me tremendously with my spending habits and keeping my debt under control. I highly recommend this service to anyone and everyone who wants to be proactive about their financial budgets! See Mint.com for more information and remember, knowledge is power when it comes to taking control of your finances.

Below are some relevant screenshots of Mint.com.




The Real Winning Lotto Ticket

As a Millennial myself, I know that there is one aspect of life that we are always thinking about, and that is the present; the now, the YOLO, and the ‘if I have cash lets blow it now’ mentality because why not? I’ll just figure it out later. Well this may be all fun and games, but there is something you can do. Something that will allow you to feel justified about spending money freely like this, and that is setting yourself up little-by-little for the future.

As a kid, whenever I received any amount of money, whether it was an allowance or a paycheck, my dad made sure that I always put a portion away in savings for the future. At the time, this seemed like a cruel punishment, but he wanted to ensure that I would have money set aside for college when the time came. Upon receival, I was always inclined to blow this money on candy, electronics or the latest trends, but I am really glad that I did choose to save. When I was finally ready to go to college, I had a large lump sum saved in a separate bank account that was allocated to help me avoid copious student loans.

This same concept can be applied to your 401k. If you are able to put small amounts of money away, you can retire comfortably, with 40ish years to really live your retirement out to the fullest. Many companies in corporate America offer 401k plans that can even MATCH your contribution by up to 4-6%. In the long run, this is HUGE! This means that whatever money you put into your account, up to 4-6% of your salary, your employer could match about half or all of that amount. This means that you could have the potential to double the amount you ultimately save in the early stages and create a snowball effect of interest and returns.

So let’s do some more math here.

According to my 401k Calculator:
Say you are currently making $40,000 per year, and your salary is expected to grow 3% every year (inflation, promotions, job changes),then if you are putting 10% away every year ($4,000: Year 1), after 40 years you will have amassed an amount close to $2,100,000. Much of this money will be relegated pre-tax, meaning you will have more money available to put away that doesn’t have to go to taxes. The best part of this deal is that with this example, almost $410,000 of this amount will be FREE MONEY, money you get from a good Rate of Return (RoR) and/or employer contributions. So everyone, please take my advice and ask your company or current employer about the 401k plans they offer. Please take advantage of these! Your future family and self will thank you. I promise.
Thanks to BankRate.com the screenshots can be found below.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 2.37.28 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 2.37.44 PMImages from Tumblr, Bankrate.com