5 financial tips for postgraduates

If you or your child is about to graduate from college, chances are they feel inexperienced, innocent, yet perhaps not so enthusiastic. After all, post-graduates could be riddled with debt, plus scared out of their minds, wondering what to do next.

Nonetheless, time is on their side. The “salad days,” as they know them, may be over. However, they can replace those “days” with the healthier notion that the next few years will be the best time of their life.

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The generational attitude of “YOLO”, you only live once, is both a positive and negative for college grads. Using a “devil-may-care” attitude when you are young stems from the sense of infallibility. That sense can be used to a young person’s advantage.

Nevertheless, taking unnecessary and extreme risks without planning for a very long life ahead, will be detrimental. The next few years after graduation are the best time for young people to think from a place of abundance instead of a place of scarcity.

I am a classic example

When I finished my postgraduate work in special education, I fulfilled my parent’s dreams and went to work with kids who had special needs. And I loved the work. Only, I soon realized that I could not afford to do very much outside of going to work.

I had no student debt. Yet, I also had none of the baggage that most older people have. Nevertheless, I could barely make ends meet. I knew nothing about saving or investing. My dad, a letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office, never discussed business and finance at the dinner table.

What saved me from a life of scarcity, was youth, enthusiasm and very little baggage. If it save me, it could save you.

Through a friend, I went to the NY Commodities Exchange Floor in the World Trade Center to check it out. The proverbial lightbulb went off in my head. I knew at once this is where I had to be.

I got a job as an analyst for ContiCommodites on the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange. That meant I spoke on a squawk box to brokers around the world about the happenings in that Exchange. That job became my crash course in trading. It gave me the chance to change my life and financial condition.

Beating the odds

As a woman and a teacher with no business background and even less money, the odds of my succeeding were against me.

But I was young and extremely enthusiastic. Plus, I was ready to do a complete about face from what my parents had said was the “safe” thing to do, “become a teacher as you will always have a secure job.”

The key to my success was that as a teacher, I set out to learn everything I could about trading. I never thought about losing. I only thought about what I needed to do to win. In just one year, I was promoted to become a Member of the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange. I never looked back.

When I read most of the advice to postgraduates, the words that come up are “budget,” “save,” and “live frugally.” Had I done that, I would have never taken the leap into finance.

Now, working on Wall Street the way I did is not a necessity for young people to learn how to invest. With electronic trading and mobile devices, anyone can open an account with as little as $500.

I got a fast – track education. Postgraduates who want to invest can learn from the plethora of online sites and books that teach strategies.

Here are 5 tips for postgraduates:

1. Switch your mindset from saving money to building wealth. (Scarcity to abundance)

2. Think about what you know or like as where to make your first investment. That may include a product, store or megatrend.

3. You know how to learn and study. Use those skills to master one repeatable and consistent trading strategy. In my book Plant Your Money Tree: A Guide To Growing Your Wealth, that means becoming a specialist in phases. Phases serve as a compass or navigation system for investing at the right time with the least amount of risk.

4. Understand that the rules have changed since your granddad invested. The speed and amount of information has increased exponentially. Think about your investments as a “moving” business, not a “storage “business. Use phases to avoid costly passive investing in case the market takes a longstanding downturn.

5. Find a mentor. But before you follow anyone blindly, make sure they have a repeatable and easily defined strategy. Otherwise, you could get lucky and find someone on a hot streak. Yet, once that streak is over, if you have no idea what their process was for making money, you will be left in the dark holding big losses.

For more information on Phases, Plant Your Money Tree: A Guide To Growing Your Wealth, will help you learn about a simple, yet powerfully accurate way to look at your financial life with a completely new attitude of confidence.

This article originally appeared on Your Money Geek. 

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