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Milepost 0 – Graduated from College and got a job


flickr - Matt Blaze

I graduated from college in 1996 and got an engineering job right away at a big technology corporation.  I actually got my BS and MS in 5 years.  If you are going to work for a big corporation, the MS is a good investment of your time and money. I started off one grade higher and usually it takes 2-3 years to get a promotion.

In any case, this is my starting point at zero.  I was extremely fortunate that my parents paid for college so I did not have any debt to put me in a financial hole.  I also did not have any credit card debt and was able to pay off the credit card at the end of every month from the beginning.

The company gave me a relocation package so actually I started off with some cash and a beat up Toyota Cressida.  Wow, what an awesome beginning.

flickr - Ian Fuller

flickr - Ian Fuller

I know it is a lot tougher these days during the Great Recession, but you can see some resume tips here.  The huge increase in tuition since the 90’s really applies additional financial pressure to new graduates.

My parent never had much money so we were always frugal.  Thanks to them, I got my #2 and #3 investing fundamentals down before I started my career.  I kept good control over my spending and never built up any credit card debt. I didn’t have a budget sheet yet, but I always kept positive cash flow and built my net worth a little at a time. I was very fortunate to not start out in a hole like so many young people today!

What about you? What was the starting point of your investment career?

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • aloysa October 16, 2010, 4:44 pm

    I don’t have an investing career. Yet. I am mostly focusing on paying off debt that I accumulated during my years in college. Hopefully soon enough I will be able to start thinking about investing. So far my investing experience comes down to investing in 401K.

    • retirebyforty October 17, 2010, 9:50 pm

      Good luck with the debt! It is so difficult to finish college without debt these days. 401k is a great way to go, one of the best investment to start out with.

  • ABD October 22, 2010, 1:22 pm

    I started investing 2 years ago with the allowance my lovely, wonderful, nice parents gave me during my last semester of undergrad. I found an investing site that would let me invest $50/month as long as I kept investing that much until I had $1,000 balance. If I hadn’t invested that $50, I would definitely have spent it.

    Then I had a nice-paying internship, that allowed me to move up to a couple hundred a month.

    My last year of college, I was a graduate student, and had lots of loan money available. I took out all the loans I could and then put as much of that into my investments as I could, rather than spending it.

    I wouldn’t exactly recommend that, but it was the crash at the beginning of the recession, and I figure that the gains on investments made during that dip will probably make up for the low rates I have to pay on the borrowed money. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to buy into the market at what was obviously going to be an historical low. Now that I’m working, I will pay off the loans as quickly as possible.

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2010, 2:11 pm

      ABD, you have a great start!
      I would advise against borrowing money to invest though. I guess I’m more conservative in my old age.
      Don’t open a margin account until you are an experience investor. trust me. 😉

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