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What They Didn't Teach Me in High School OR College: Part 1

All that book sense and no street sense!

I was all like, "I have a degree, so now I'm ready for whatever". . .or so I thought.

I graduated high school in 2012 and graduated college in 2016. 8 years of knowledge that would supposedly lead me to success in the real world yet when it was time for me to actually enter, I was LOST. Let me explain.

I took a year off after undergrad before deciding to attend law school. This particular post will enlighten you on everything I learned throughout the process up to me actually starting law school.

A degree does not guarantee a job. (Many of you knew this).

  • “They” harp on getting a degree just for you to obtain one and have to compete with over thousands and thousands of other recent graduates and by "recent" meaning current students who graduated with you and graduates who have been without a job for a year or longer.
  • It seems that all employers require years of “experience” but how do you obtain experience without having a job to gain it? Crazy, right? Even then, many of our leadership and internship experiences during college have more than prepared us for employment but what do I know?

It’s not always about what you know, but WHO YOU KNOW.

  • Networking is step one, keeping those connections is step two. Emails and coffee/lunch dates along with GENUINE interest and care in the connections you make will take you a long way.
  • My first “real” job after college was presented to me through who I knew: a past mentor that I’d gained in high school. I used LinkedIn, Indeed, sent recruiters personal emails; you name it, but it wasn’t until my mentor called me and said "I HAVE A JOB FOR YOU" that I solidified employment.
  • This is NOT to say that your degree, experience, or resume will not open doors for you and honestly, some degrees have more available job openings; just BE CONFIDENT and know that it helps to make connections along the way!
START YOUR 401(K) OR RETIREMENT PLAN NOW!
  • Listen, if you have a full time (or even part time) job that offers you a retirement plan, utilize it! Even if you won't retire from that particular job, start investing money into a plan! 9/10 you can transfer it to a savings account or to your next job in some type of way if/when you choose to leave.
  • I worked at my previous job, a high school, as a part time employee and not even 12 months and was able to start my retirement plan. Once I left I was able to transition it into a savings account.
  • You can choose a percentage or set amount from your check to automatically be deposited into your plan. Ask questions about the specifics of the different plans offered such as early withdrawals, match amounts, and the interest if any that your money will collect.
  • Look at it this way, if you start a retirement plan between the ages of 20-25 and retire at the age of 60, that's 35-40 years of money waiting on you! Go to your HR office immediately and ask them to assist you with setting up a retirement plan.

Student Loans have to be paid back 6 months after graduation. START PAYMENTS IF YOU CAN!

  • This is a known fact but let me tell you why and how you should pay them.
  • WHY: It helps build your credit which YOU WILL NEED! If you don’t pay, IT WILL DESTROY YOUR CREDIT!
  • HOW: If you have low funds like me just pay the maximum amount you possibly can for each month. The loan agencies will absolutely work with you. So call them, go online and chat with them, email them; they will assist. Yes you can defer them and prolong payments, but you will want to start building your credit. I paid $75.00/month for my student loans after graduating college but I was also making over $15/hr + overtime so $75.00 did not put a dent on my funds. Some people pay as low as $5/month which is fine if that's what works for you! Now that I am back in school, I have deferred them.
  • Paying your student loans is a tax write off. You can add this when applying for income tax and get a little more money back.
  • Check out the screenshot below from my loan provider:

You wanna know what's more important than throwin' away money at a strip club? Credit
You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America?

This how they did it
Financial freedom my only hope

- Jay Z, The Story of O.J.

Get a credit card and DISCIPLINE YOURSELF.

  • Credit cards are a risk factor if you don’t know how to control your spending habits so know yourself. However, credit cards are essential to building your credit, WHICH YOU WILL NEED!
  • I bank with Chase and obtained a credit card through them with a $1000 limit. It’s my only credit card and that’s all I need for now because I know myself. Payments are as low as $25.00 per month but you can pay more. There is also no interest on it, YET.
  • When applying for a credit card, take heed of the limit, the more available to spend is the more you have to pay back. Also pay attention to the interest rates. You’ll end up paying back WAY more than what you spent because of a high interest rate.
  • You can get a credit card from a bank, a clothing store, an airline, you name it. Go the route that you think will be best for you.
  • When you charge something, pay it back as soon as you can. It’s not a requirement but it helps you stay on top of your credit card limit.
  • I have a close friend who once told me, just buy a pack of gum with your credit card if you have to. It's a small fee to pay back so it should be easy to pay on time!

BUILD YOUR CREDIT SCORE.

  • I am NOT the credit queen at all, but I have learned a few things:
    • Get a free credit score account at Credit Karma.com. It’s FREE and updates each week or whenever your credit card reports your balance.
    • The highest and perfect credit score is 850 so shoot for at least a 750-800. It may seem high but the higher you reach and obtain, the better.
    • A good credit score gives you great financial leverage and allows you to take out loans or another credit card, purchase/rent a house or apartment and/or car, and will decrease your insurance costs plus more.
    • There are factors that increase or lower your credit score. The number one factor that will increase your credit score is MAKING PAYMENTS AND ON TIME! Pay your student loans back ON TIME. Pay your credit card balance ON TIME. PAY EVERYTHING ON TIME!

    • Credit Card utilization is another factor. Typically, you should only use about 30% of your credit card limit to keep a good score. If you use 95% of the limit on your credit card, it will have an effect on your score. For instance, I once reached a $950 balance on my $1000 credit card limit and it definitely affected my credit score.

CREDIT CARD USE IS IMPORTANT

I told him, "Please don't die over the neighborhood
That your momma rentin'
Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood
That's how you rinse it"
I bought every V12 engine
Wish I could take it back to the beginnin'
I coulda bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo
For like two million
That same building today is worth twenty-five million
Guess how I'm feelin'? Dumbo

- JAY Z, The Story of O.J.

Live at home until YOU are ready to move out.

  • Society and our generation needs to get a grip. It is nothing wrong with living with your parents while you get yourself together for the real world. So no, don’t stay with your parents just to “be a bum” but use this time to go to school, work to stack up your money, build your credit, and decide exactly “who and what you want to be/do when you grow up.”
  • I was blessed and didn’t have to pay any bills while living with my grandparents and mother but I still didn’t save all my checks as I should/could have when working so don’t be like me but instead get a savings account and save accordingly!

If you have somewhere to live already, you should get a car first. LOL

  • I’m laughing because many of you know I don’t drive or have my license for that matter but I still think and know that a license and car is essential. Uber and Lyft will run your account DRY. City transportation is not that bad if your destination is decent.
  • I do know that you don’t have to get your dream car right now!!! You should be okay with a cash car where the amount of work needed on it does not outweigh the low price of buying it. However, getting a new car from a car lot is an option too just know that’s another monthly payment as well as insurance.
  • GAS!! Need I say more?

Look for more than one source of income. Build your wealth!

  • My last blog touched on different ways to make money that you can expand even outside of college. Don't focus on getting rich but wealthy. Invest in stocks, let your money make money for you.
  • We are so focused on making money just to spend it right now but make your money to invest it and spend it later.
* I'm reading more about the stock market and will write a blog about that later *

I go to dinner and steak
Only the real can relate
I used to live in the P's
Now it's a crib with a gate

- Cardi B, Bodak Yellow

DON'T LIVE ABOVE YOUR MEANS UNTIL YOU CAN LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS.

Don't compare your journey to someone else, but be smart and know that there are certain steps you have to take to be successful.

There will be a Part 2 that will address the specifics of me moving in to a new apartment and what all that has required. For now, hopefully this is useful for you! Feel free to leave comments and share with friends. I know many of you will have even more insight than me!

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