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Take Suze Orman's advice and put away the tiny violins - the future really isn't that bleak!
OK as a 23-year-old, who only graduated from college a mere year and a half ago, I know a thing or two about how hard it can be to enter the dreaded "real world." Our parents may think they're able to commiserate - we've all heard the "honey, we've all been there" speech before - but our generation is in a very unique situation. Starting a career in what people are calling 'the worst economy since The Great Depression' is no small task. It's even been projected that we're going to be the first generation not to earn more than our parents over our lifetime.
But before you go crying about your unfortunate luck, Suze Orman has some great (albeit stern) tips for us twenty-somethings. I may have felt like crying after my conversation with the tough money guru (she scared me sh*tless), but I came away with some great financial advice. Luckily for you, I'm going to share the wealth (so to speak).
Spice Up Your Date Night Without Breaking The Bank
Below in Suze Orman's own words, tips for the derelict kids our age to not fall into financial ruin:
Suze's Tip # 1: Make those that you're dependent on for a paycheck, dependent on you!
The first thing you have to realize is that even though it's a horrific time for people your age [20-somethings], this is a time that many of you can use to your advantage. You come in before the boss, stay after he is gone, come in on Saturdays - make them dependent on you and you will grow! You have to get people's attention and establish yourself!
Suze's Tip # 2: You have to make sure your bills are almost nil.
It's not the time for you to go out and rent your own apartment; it's the time you suck it up and live with four or five other people. I know someone who started out with a job at Kenneth Cole for $28K a year and lived with four other people in a tiny apartment. She just turned 30 - she's now making high in the six figures and just got a quarter million dollar bonus. Do you know how? She sucked it up and made sacrifices in her twenties. If you say you can't, you never will. Get off your pity pot because you won't get anywhere by crying. If that means moving back in with your parents, do it! I had to live in my van - so you can't complain!
Suze's Tip # 3: Only Losers Eat Out Every Meal!
I fly private and I bring my lunch! No one works harder than me, and I never eat out! Working hard is not an excuse! Make your food and bring it to work with you. If you want to be a loser forever and continue to waste money, then fine by me. Stop giving yourself excuses. You'll never enjoy life if you continue to waste money.
When I first became a stock broker, all the other stock brokers would go out to fancy lunches everyday. On the other hand, I went to taco bell, had two tacos and a diet coke and it cost me $2 a day. That's how I got to go out and still be OK.
Suze's Tip # 4 : You don't need to spend a fortune on designer clothes.
Honest to God, the amount of money they [young people] waste on designer clothes is the worst habit I've seen! Having to have the Jimmy Choos or $700 purse is ridiculous. Do you think anyone even cares?
Suze's Tip # 5: Clubbing is a huge waste of money.
The amount of money spent on clubbing is absolutely amazing! Go to each other's houses and have a great time in your home. You can buy a bottle of vodka for what it costs for one drink at a club. I mean $90 in one night? That's the amount of money needed to fund your Roth IRA every month.
Suze's Tip # 6: It's not about being so specific with how you divide up your salary.
It's hard to divide your salary into set percentages these days - salaries are just so low right now. If all you're making is $1000 per month, it's almost impossible to divide up, but all of you know when you're spending too much! It's not about being so specific, but if your rent is taking up 80% of your spending, then you're in big trouble.
The first thing you should do with your money is spend every extra dollar you have to get out of credit card debt, saving an 8-month emergency fund.
Suze's Tip # 7 : It's not about cutting everything out; it's about cutting a little bit off of everything.
Don't try to give up all your favorite things at once. If you go cold turkey, you will explode. Just cut down! You can indulge, but indulging doesn't mean every day. I mean come on! Do you really have to have Starbucks every day? Can you go clubbing twice a month instead of every weekend? Pick the things you really love to do and just do them twice a month.
Suze's Tip # 8: Start saving now!
The best thing you could do is to have a Roth IRA. You can withdraw any money you put into it at any time, without any taxes or penalties. That's where you should get money from, not your 401K or pension plans. You should be investing in individual stocks that pay a high dividend yield.
Suze's Tip # 9: Credit Card Debt isn't necessarily bad.
The thing is that credit card debt isn't bad,but if your interest rate is at 30% that's bad - actually horrific! A 1% to 2% interest rate is ok. If the debt is because you're trying to make your mark and make your way in the world, then I don't have a problem with that. If you have debt because of clubbing, excessive shopping and weekend trips to Tahoe, then you're an idiot - that's the debt that will do you in.
If you have a good FICO score, that's the most important thing. Most creditors determine whether they are going to lend to you based on your FICO score, not your credit score. You wont be able to rent, buy or do anything in life without a good FICO score.
Suze's Tip # 10: Credit Unions are better than banks.
You should open a card at a credit union and do a balance transfer from any existing credit cards. Go to creditcardconnection.org to find out if your card is a good one. Be on time with payments - you really have to make it a priority.
When it comes to financial advice, Suze Orman is the most recognized expert in the industry. Along with being a two-time Emmy Award winner and New York Time's Best Seller, Orman was also named one of Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women of 2010. To read more of Suze's tips, make sure to read her book, 'The Money Book for the Young, Broke & Fabulous' and check out her latest site, 'Money Minded Moms'.
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