Author Topic: Life advice for recent college graduate  (Read 8789 times)

randymarsh

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Life advice for recent college graduate
« on: May 20, 2014, 08:28:32 AM »
I graduated with a degree in MIS a few weeks ago. I'm trying to figure out what my next steps are.

Currently: Live with parents, pay for nothing except gas and my car payment. This can be continued indefinitely, until I move out. I'm still at the internship I started last summer. They made a permanent offer, but I didn't take it due to this not being the place I want to start my career and I thought the $$$ was a little low. I can stay as an intern for at least the next 2 or 3 months but this may change as my boss has a management meeting today to determine when I'm getting kicked out. Full time I'll bring home around $2000 per month.

Future: I'm tempted to make a big move. I've lived where I do my entire life. 90% of my family is within a 15 minute drive. Went to school with many of the same people from K-12. Went to college 30 minutes away. Denver is my main pick due to the relatively low COL, climate, and job market (tech). I want something new.

I don't know whether I should live at home for a while or make a big move now when nothing is holding me back.

Live at home:

Pros: Cheap, could pay off my student loan debt much faster, comfortable, close friends/family are near by

Cons: Feel stuck, "what could have been", very cold/icy/snowy winters, not as great job market, but could still find employment

Denver:

Pros: Better job market, weather, see a new part of the country, independence, I've always felt happier when I live on my own

Cons: Take longer to pay down debt, scary being alone, moving expenses

I'd done some rough budgeting and paycheck calculating. If I make at least 40K* in Denver, I can cover rent and service my debt but only have ~$200 leftover each month. Tight IMO. Parent might be willing to cover some of the SL in their name while I get settled since I'm "saving" them some money by moving out. 45K would make me much more comfortable. Within a few years I think I should be making 60K+.

One scenario I've been giving thought to is working my internship for another ~5 weeks. Then going to Denver and staying with a friend. I'd be leaving with ~5K. I talked to a recruiter last week who said he could definitely help me, but it's hard to get companies to take you seriously when you're not there. He told me if I could come out for at least a week, he'd start working on finding positions and setting up interviews. I guess worst case is I end up back at home, where I'd be if I don't go.  Student loan repayment doesn't start until December so I could stay in Denver for maybe all of July/August. If it doesn't work out, cut my losses, head home and have 3 months to find a job.

*That number is reasonable for someone with a bachelor's (and a minor) in MIS and a year of internship experience right?

So what advice does everyone have? I'm hoping some people have experience relocating like this or any other perspective that might be helpful! I don't know to balance quality of life with getting out of debt sooner or if this entire plan is way too risky.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 08:32:06 AM by thefinancialstudent »

stpetesean

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 08:32:54 AM »
Go full time plus get a second job while you live with your parents for the next year.  Save up every dime you possibly can while looking for a great opportunity.  Make the move once you have a job lined up and you have a big chunk of cash to cover your moving expenses and paying down your loans.

randymarsh

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 10:43:20 AM »
I've definitely considered that. I'm worried it'll be even harder to move in a year. But if I really want to do it I would find a way I guess.

mxt0133

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 11:10:03 AM »
I would second the staying at home and getting a side gig while  paying your debt down VERY aggressively, like every penny.  Use that time to get experience, which will open up more options for you when you do decide to move else where.  I am currently interviewing junior engineers and find it very hard to find good candidates, we would pay a premium for someone that we feel can hit the ground running just a little bit faster.

With your debt gone or no longer debilitating you have greater flexibility to pursue opportunities.

While you are putting every penny towards your debt, this will give you the chance to flex your mustachian muscles and not fall into the lifestyle inflation trap.  Once you start increasing your salary while keeping your expenses low the road to FI will be pretty short.


CheapskateWife

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 11:19:52 AM »
Might I offer a suggestion RE: the parents allowing you to live with them. 

If you are not contributing financially to the household, perhaps you should consider your impact on them financially (surely they would like to FIRE also...I mean, who wouldn't), and make appropriate contributions in whatever form they will accept (loads of groceries, paying the electric bill, hiding $ in the yard for them to find after you move out).

There is frugal and there is what is fair.  MMM encourages us to think about our impacts to the earth...think about your impact on mama! 

And congratulations for getting a real degree and being employed!  That is awesome!

BFGirl

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 11:30:03 AM »
Might I offer a suggestion RE: the parents allowing you to live with them. 

If you are not contributing financially to the household, perhaps you should consider your impact on them financially (surely they would like to FIRE also...I mean, who wouldn't), and make appropriate contributions in whatever form they will accept (loads of groceries, paying the electric bill, hiding $ in the yard for them to find after you move out).

There is frugal and there is what is fair.  MMM encourages us to think about our impacts to the earth...think about your impact on mama! 

And congratulations for getting a real degree and being employed!  That is awesome!

I agree with this one.  If your parents are okay with you staying, you might want to discuss with them if there are ways you can contribute financially.  I have a daughter who just finished her first year of college and I want to help her to succeed as much as possible.  However, once she has a job out of college, I would expect her to start paying at least some of her own way.  I would like to retire at some point and do not plan to keep working so that my kid doesn't have to spend money.  I think at that point we would have to look at it more like a roommate situation which could be beneficial for both of us financially until she decides to get out on her own.

Gimesalot

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 11:37:25 AM »
I agree you should figure out a way to contribute to your parent's household.

Regarding your original question, I would stay at your current position for a year, while paying down the debt as much as possible and saving some money for the move.  You should be able to use salary.com and your alumni association to determine what your degree is worth.  Ask your former professors, they SHOULD know.  Negotiate your salary, at your current company.  Having a job, even one that payer lower than you like, will give you a much stronger negotiating position for your dream job in Denver.

I would be very hesitant to trust a recruiter this early in your career.  Most companies do not want to pay a recruitment fee for someone that will be an entry level employee.  If the recruiter can not get you interviews without you being in Denver, it means that employers are not desperate, and therefore, getting a job will not be a simple endeavor.


SDREMNGR

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 11:45:12 AM »
How far is Denver from where you are?  Is it within a reasonable drive to go there for job interviews?  How full time is the internship?  Can you take a day off here and there for the job interviews?  Can you get a better offer from your current company?

If Denver isn't too far away, I would use the address of your friend on resume to get local address and start trying to get job interviews.  Once you get job offer, scramble to move.  Possibly live with friend for 1-6 months.  Get your own place later.

I am for venturing out and expanding your life.  You will figure it out as you go, but do try to line up work before moving.  The margin of error otherwise is too narrow.

randymarsh

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 01:00:26 PM »
I agree you should figure out a way to contribute to your parent's household.

Regarding your original question, I would stay at your current position for a year, while paying down the debt as much as possible and saving some money for the move.  You should be able to use salary.com and your alumni association to determine what your degree is worth.  Ask your former professors, they SHOULD know.  Negotiate your salary, at your current company.  Having a job, even one that payer lower than you like, will give you a much stronger negotiating position for your dream job in Denver.

I would be very hesitant to trust a recruiter this early in your career.  Most companies do not want to pay a recruitment fee for someone that will be an entry level employee.  If the recruiter can not get you interviews without you being in Denver, it means that employers are not desperate, and therefore, getting a job will not be a simple endeavor.

I do plan to slowly start taking over bills once I feel things are under control. My parents (divorced) do OK and my dad's (who I live with) always been a saver. Not to mention somewhat of a workaholic. Unless he's really good at hiding it, I think he likes being able to help.

I should probably clarify my current position. It's just the same internship I've been working the past year. Now that I've graduated I'm underpaid (30K and no benefits). Company policy is I'm allowed to stay for up to 6 more months, but I suspect my boss's boss is going to cut that short.

The way the recruiter worded it was that companies are hesitant to set things up with an out of state applicant since people can be flaky. Especially for entry level, they can probably just find someone already there.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 01:12:35 PM by thefinancialstudent »

randymarsh

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 01:11:09 PM »
How far is Denver from where you are?  Is it within a reasonable drive to go there for job interviews?  How full time is the internship?  Can you take a day off here and there for the job interviews?  Can you get a better offer from your current company?

If Denver isn't too far away, I would use the address of your friend on resume to get local address and start trying to get job interviews.  Once you get job offer, scramble to move.  Possibly live with friend for 1-6 months.  Get your own place later.

I am for venturing out and expanding your life.  You will figure it out as you go, but do try to line up work before moving.  The margin of error otherwise is too narrow.

18 hours, so driving for interviews isn't practical. Internship is 40 hours. Yes, I can take unpaid days off mostly as needed; my supervisor is flexible. I told my supervisor what salary I wanted and their offer was less. Last week I told him I would like to stay as an intern and he said he'd let the guy above him know. So they could still offer more but I'm doubting it. The place gives me a "take it or leave it" vibe. I also have very little desire to stay here. It's been a good internship, but there's no room for growth. I think my skills would stay where they're at and overall it's not an environment I want to stay in.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 01:15:29 PM by thefinancialstudent »

Russ

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 01:15:03 PM »
If Denver isn't too far away, I would use the address of your friend on resume to get local address and start trying to get job interviews.  Once you get job offer, scramble to move.  Possibly live with friend for 1-6 months.  Get your own place later.

+1 for this as an option. I have a friend who got a job in NYC while living in Ohio by doing phone interviews, flew over for an in-person interview without saying anything, said "sure, I can start Monday", moved in with a friend that weekend.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2014, 01:16:01 PM »
I'm in the minority here, but I think you should pull the trigger on a move to Denver. The job you have now isn't great, you want to live on your own and there are more opportunities in Denver.

Your fears of getting "stuck" are legitimate. People get stuck geographically in jobs or relationships all the time.  Do your $5000 Summer Job Hunting plan.

Live the mustachian life once you get there.

mcneally

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2014, 05:11:51 PM »
If you want to live in Denver, move to Denver. That seems to be more relevant than the employment opportunities which are uncertain at either location.

randymarsh

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2014, 05:52:45 PM »
Ha, 3 for staying and 3 for moving. I had a feeling it'd be split down the middle.

Glenstache

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2014, 06:33:57 PM »
Move to Denver and be aggressive about finding that next job. Do what you can to leave your intern position on the best terms possible. I moved a number of times in my 20s for school and whatever and it really helped me grow as a person. As long as you are proactive about your approach to moving to Denver, go for it. Think of the uncertainty as voluntary discomfort.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2014, 09:11:33 AM »
To even out the vote again....

I'd stay a year at your parents and put EVERY PENNY towards those student loans.  (Honestly I wouldn't worry about contributing financially either, unless your Dad needs the help -- it is probably more useful to him for you to do chores and make dinner, for example, I'd help that way).  To make sure you don't get stuck, pick a date a year or so in the future for moving to Denver, and do it then!

This is coming from someone who has spent several years paying off loans and wishes she had been able to live with her parents to speed up the process.  Once your loans are gone you will have so much more freedom.  One year of putting everything towards them will go a long way in this.

former player

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2014, 09:30:25 AM »
Do whatever you will regret the least.  But...

You turned down a permanent job at your internship place.  Frankly, you are now on your way out of there whether you like it or not.  And to be fair, there is another student coming along behind you who can now make more of the opportunity than you can, since you have been there so long.  And if there were somewhere else you wanted to work in your home town, you would have been doing something about it already.

So I vote move to Denver.  As well as working with the recruiter, how about doing some pro-active work on your own behalf?  Agree to stay with your friend for a week in about three week's time.  Get your CV up to date and send it out to likely companies with a letter saying why you would like to work for them in particular (research them on the internet) and that you will be in Denver and available for interviews between the dates of your proposed stay.  Cut down costs when you start there by moving in with room mates and cutting out a commute.  Good luck.

jmechanical

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2014, 05:04:31 AM »
I was in the same place as you are about two years ago. I had just graduated, did not like where I lived with my parents and wanted to move, but had the option to stay home and pay off debt. Unfortunately this was before I found MMM (only found him about 6 months ago), so I had $16k in student loans and $14k in a car loan and $3k in credit card debt. I decided to stay home and pay off my debt. Now, about two years later, I have some decent experience in my field, about $12k in a savings account, and about $20k in my 401k and $0 debt.

It was a bit easier for me as my mother doesn't mind me living with her and gives me plenty of freedom, but still, I know what it is like to want your own place and now I really want that and have just started looking for jobs in the places I want to move.

I feel much better about moving now that my debt is gone and I have savings. If I could do it again, I would stay at home, but I would probably have just paid off the debt all at once. I ended up putting about the equivalent of one month's rent + utilities towards my debt and saving the rest / spending it. Paying it off more quickly would have gotten me out of the house sooner. But either way, I paid off my debt and have a decent amount to cover me when I do move. I am in a better position to negotiate for a job now that I have some real world experience.

Denver will still be there in a year or two, do you really want your debt to be also?
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 05:18:14 AM by jmechanical »

SDREMNGR

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2014, 03:49:20 PM »
Knowing that it's far away, I would also vote to move to Denver.  The world is split between the people who can come up with every possible reason why something will not work, and the people who try to come up with every possible way to make something work.  Usually it takes all of one's time to do one or the other and both sides can get very good at their thing.

The risk is high in a long distance move like this and the possible shame and self-loathing if it fails is high.  But the possible elation and self-satisfaction is also high if you can pull it off.  Many people have been in similar situations as you and have pulled it off.  Whether YOU pull it off or not will depend entirely upon you.

This famous ‘Burn Your Ships‘ story is taken from the timeless classic ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill.

A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice—we win, or we perish! They won. Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success. “
This burn your ships story has some vital lessons for all of us. As the saying goes ‘Necessity is the mother of invention‘ and it is such a powerful statement.

Also similar line of logic in the recent Batman movie.  The escape from the pit.
http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/The_Pit

Good luck. 

moneysense

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2014, 01:44:29 PM »
FWIW: Denver is a HCOL area (not as bad as NY or SF) but it's definitely NOT a LCOL area. $40,000 will not go far if you plan on living in Denver-proper--unless you plan to live with 2 or 3 roommates and can walk/bike to work.

randymarsh

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2014, 07:44:38 PM »
FWIW: Denver is a HCOL area (not as bad as NY or SF) but it's definitely NOT a LCOL area. $40,000 will not go far if you plan on living in Denver-proper--unless you plan to live with 2 or 3 roommates and can walk/bike to work.

Is it really that expensive? CNN's cost of living calculator says 40K here is 46K in Denver. Most of that difference appears to be housing, which I can somewhat control as you mention with roommates. I have no expectations of living in a fancy apartment in a cool 'hood or anything.

randymarsh

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2014, 10:10:20 PM »
Update:

Got a 45K offer in Denver. I'm taking it?!?

Now I need to find an apartment, fly back to Ohio, rent a car, drive back to Denver, start work on the 13th. :-0

I'm looking at mostly studios because prices are insane here and I'm not trying to be broke. I'm also looking at roommate situations, but I'm not sure I can lock that down in ~3 days.

lakemom

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2014, 05:18:39 AM »
Update:

Got a 45K offer in Denver. I'm taking it?!?

Now I need to find an apartment, fly back to Ohio, rent a car, drive back to Denver, start work on the 13th. :-0

I'm looking at mostly studios because prices are insane here and I'm not trying to be broke. I'm also looking at roommate situations, but I'm not sure I can lock that down in ~3 days.

You might be money ahead to rent a hotel room (an extended stay suite type space perhaps) for a month or two while you take your time looking for a more permanent living arrangement.  That way you are not locked into a 12 month lease.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2014, 06:39:37 AM »
Update:

Got a 45K offer in Denver. I'm taking it?!?

Now I need to find an apartment, fly back to Ohio, rent a car, drive back to Denver, start work on the 13th. :-0

I'm looking at mostly studios because prices are insane here and I'm not trying to be broke. I'm also looking at roommate situations, but I'm not sure I can lock that down in ~3 days.

You might be money ahead to rent a hotel room (an extended stay suite type space perhaps) for a month or two while you take your time looking for a more permanent living arrangement.  That way you are not locked into a 12 month lease.

I'd also check craigslist for short-term rentals, might be cheaper than extended stays.  Congratulations! 

randymarsh

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2014, 05:57:00 PM »
Tiny studio apartment secured! Extremely lucky to have found it. Building owner is the nicest lady and actually dropped the rent by $20 when I arrived to look at it! She recommended a 6 month lease herself in case I decide I don't like the area or want to live closer to work.  She also said they'd let me move to a 1 bedroom in that building if one came available and I was willing to pay the extra cost without extending the lease.

This is amazing timing. I'm meeting with the owner in a few hours to sign the lease and get keys. I'm flying home late tonight or early tomorrow. Packing up my stuff and driving back out on Saturday or Sunday.

palebluedot

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2014, 10:02:59 PM »
Awesome news! I am also looking to move to the CO area after graduation next year. I am looking at Boulder for job prospects and living. My move is a little further though all the way from the east coast (NJ). This thread has great advice, thanks everyone.

former player

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2014, 12:34:22 AM »
Congratulations on the new job.  Also, awesome job so far on arranging your relocation so efficiently and quickly.

EarlyRetirementGuy

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Re: Life advice for recent college graduate
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2014, 04:35:32 AM »
Congrats on both the job and housing.

Sometimes things just seem to align right when you need them to :)