Graduating from college makes you feel like you are on top of the world. You have your degree in hand and a clear path ahead of you for the career you want to establish. Most graduates believe they are prepared for what comes next because they have spent the last four years obtaining a meaningful degree. While you will have the knowledge needed to excel in certain areas, being prepared for the “real world” requires more preparation than acing your exams. Once you graduate, it is important to prioritize certain things before you take that next step into adulthood.
When you are in your early 20s, making meaningful investments is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Choosing to invest your money sooner in life, however, yields a better outcome in the future. Global investment managers like Mark Wiseman understand the difference a few years can make when it comes to investing. If you invest $300 a month, beginning at 21 years of age, your mutual fund can grow up to about $670,000 by the time you are in your 60s. If you invest $100 more per month for an average of $400 per month, but you wait until you are 26 years of age to begin, your mutual fund will only grow to about $650,000 during that same span of time.
Investment managers like Mark Wiseman typically suggest starting as early as possible with any amount of money you can afford to invest. This allows you to stay financially responsible in the present while simultaneously putting yourself into the best possible position for your retirement and your future.
After you graduate, take time to build your wardrobe in preparation for any job interviews you have lined up. The way you dress leaves an impression on your potential employers. Most interviewers state in advance what the dress code for the office is like, and it is best to follow this advice when selecting your interview outfit. Some companies prefer professional business attire, while others adopt a business casual dress code. Either way, you need a few key pieces in your wardrobe to ensure you are ready for whatever they request.
In a professional setting, items such as a button-down shirt, slacks, and a skirt typically provide you with a strong base to create outfits from. These pieces work for both a professional business dress code and a more casual dress code because they can be dressed up or down. Shop at stores designed for this type of attire, such as brands selling women’s business casual or men’s business casual pieces.
For those pursuing leadership positions, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to read biographies and autobiographies of leaders you admire. Senior leaders in any industry have steadily built their knowledge and insight over several decades, making them some of the best teachers. Andrew Carnegie and Steve Jobs tend to be popular among those pursuing business ventures, but be sure to choose someone whose career and leadership style you most want to emulate. Whether that is Barack Obama or Winston Churchill is up to you. Take the time to read through the accounts of how they became the successful leaders that they were and be sure to take notes along the way.
Arguably the most crucial aspect of adulthood is your ability to successfully manage your finances. The first step toward achieving this goal is to make sure you understand how finances work. If you did not cover these topics in college, it is best to start acquiring this knowledge immediately on your own. Learn how to balance a checkbook, build credit, and how to follow the advice of Mr. Wiseman and make meaningful investments. Financial stability opens better opportunities for you, both personally and professionally.
When you have strong credit, you are more likely to be selected for an apartment or a home loan. If you have a savings cushion set aside, you have the ability to leave your job and pursue better opportunities. Get your finances in order after you graduate to ensure you are setting yourself up to be as successful in the “real world” as possible.