Next Round’s On Me (The Personal Finance Book I Had to Write)

The next round’s on me. I had to write a book for those of us in our 20s that have always hated lame financial advice. You give me your time and some hustle, and I’ll show you how you can pay off your debt, save up thousands of dollars, invest in real estate, go on your first trip, and get ahead of your friends all while never missing a party. I’ve created the ultimate money guide for life in your 20s.

Next Round’s On Me: How-to Achieve Financial Freedom in Your 20s is officially ready for the world!

No more wasting time and stressing about money allowed. Being stuck in debt is not how I want you to spend the rest of your life. This is the book that I’ve been writing for 8 years now. Planning your weekends is difficult enough. Personal finance should be easy.

You know what the problem is with personal finance? Financial advice always sucks.

  • “Stay in and don’t party.”
  • “Work two jobs and save every penny.”
  • “Marry the first person that you meet”
  • “Go to college and everything will be okay.”
  • “Wait a few decades and suck it up, then you can enjoy life in your golden years.”
  • “Just trust the system and wait for your turn.”

You see the trend here?

There’s nothing golden about waiting until you’re 65 to enjoy life. Who the hell wants that? Who wants to be broke? Who wants to be stuck in debt?

NOBODY!

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” — John le Carré

My solution is this guide to financial freedom in your 20s. I owe it to the world to put this out there. I owe it to every 20-something that’s pissed off, frustrated, and annoyed. I owe it to you. You deserve better. You deserve more. For only a few dollars, you can start building real wealth while you continue having fun.

How-to achieve financial freedom in your 20s

“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.” — Frank Zappa

What’s not in this guide?

Before I tell you what amazing results you’re going to achieve, I need to share the crap that won’t be mentioned in here:

  • Useless advice like “follow your passions.”
  • Boring financial advice that you’re never ever going to apply. You don’t have to budget every penny or feel guilty about drinking Starbucks.
  • Vague tips. Everything in here is practical.
  • Empty and meaningless motivational quotes. I only use quotes to reinforce statements.

What’s in this guide?

I show you exactly how to go from zero to hero. I take you from any of the following:

  • Broke college student.
  • Pissed off graduate.
  • Frustrated employee.
  • Confused freelancer.
  • Annoyed young professional.
  • Young punk.

I bring you to a position of control. I’m going to show you how to do the following:

  • Pay off the debt that’s strangling you.
  • Figure out how to ACTUALLY save money.
  • Present yourself to the world so that opportunities are always coming to you.
  • Buy a rental property.
  • Figure out the confusing world of real estate.
  • Build your credit so that you SAVE MONEY.
  • See how how you can invest in yourself to make more money than ever before.
  • Make friends that are always going to have your back.
  • Drink without losing your pants.
  • Network your way to the top of the food chain without being sleazy.
  • Earn a real world masters degree without spending any more money or time on college.

Honestly, the book sells itself. Here’s the table of contents so that you see what you’re getting for less than the price of a round of drinks (cheaper than one drink in most cities).

SECTION Zero: Time to go to Battle

Section 0.1: Battle time
Section 0.2: What’s Financial Freedom All About?

SECTION 1: Your Introduction to the Wacky World of Financial Freedom

Chapter 1: Financial Freedom by 30
Chapter 2: Should I Quit My Job Right Now?
Chapter 3: How to Destroy Fear Before it Ruins Your Life
Chapter 4: The Art of Branding From a Guy Who Hates Branding
Chapter 5: How Can You Start Saving Money?

SECTION 2: It’s Time to Take Over The World

Chapter 6: The YOU System For Excelling Past Your Friends
Chapter 7: What Wikipedia Won’t Tell You About Investing in Yourself
Chapter 8: The Studenomics MBA

SECTION 3: Every Important Financial Topic Simplified

Chapter 9: Three Steps to Increasing Your Net Worth
Chapter 10: Two Life Hacks That Will Completely Change Your Approach to Money Forever
Chapter 11: How You Can Finally Annihilate Your Debt
Chapter 12: The Ultimate Wealth Building Plan
Chapter 13: How a Young Punk Bought a Rental Property
Chapter 14: The Best Unsolicited Real Estate Advice for Single Folks
Chapter 15: Everything You Want to Know About Your Credit Score

SECTION 4: Time to Party Like It’s 1999

Chapter 16: Secrets For Getting Wasted Without Going Poor
Chapter 17: How to Survive FOMO and YOLO
Chapter 18: The Art of Making a Huge Lifestyle Change
Chapter 19: The Final Scoop on Financial Freedom
Chapter 20: The Golden Rules For Being The One With The Gold

Yes. I fit all of that into this blueprint!

What are some of the results that will come from this life changing book?

If you’re willing to throw away the excuses, I want to see you accomplish at least one of the following.

  • Buy a rental property while your friends get stuck with mortgages they can’t afford.
  • Find a way to save money effortlessly without ever stressing about budgeting again.
  • Finally discover if you need more education or not.
  • Want to quit your job? Done.
  • Pay off your credit card debt that’s strangling you.
  • Save $25,000 by 25.
  • Survive FOMO and YOLO in your 20s.
  • Get wasted on the weekends without feeling guilty or going broke.

What have I actually done?

The only proof that I have for you is myself and everything that I’ve managed to do. These are the tips that I’ve used to accomplish the following in my 20s:

  • Go on over 30 trips.
  • Buy a rental property and then sell it for a handsome profit.
  • Graduate college debt-free.
  • Speak at The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago about financial education.
  • Help readers like YOU pay off debt, begin freelancing, save up, invest money, and figure shit out. To brag a little, I’ve recently had students pay off debt, get their freelancing business mentioned in the media, and quit jobs.
  • Partied like a rockstar without feeling guilty about it. I told you I like to have fun.

What are the readers saying about this blueprint?

Financial freedom in your 20s

“Sahil, who happens to hold a deadlifting record in Canada, is a top tumbler, and happens to be an excellent fitness coach, wrote in with:

I was right next to Martin when he was in the midst of writing this book. I was also there the day he came up with the title – after an hour or two of brainstorming. And throughout the process, I could sense his passion for the project. When I asked him why he spent entire days at Starbucks just banging away at the keyboard, he told me, “This is a book I NEED to write. I have to get it out there!”

And after reading it, I couldn’t agree more. The financial advice is to the point, and very applicable. Not only that, but Martin’s philosophy is something I wish all financial “gurus” out there would adopt – that money is a TOOL that needs to be USED so you can enjoy a better quality of life. While Martin will help you save money and get out of debt, he equally encourages (and shows you, step by step) how to go out and have a great time without breaking the bank.

Penny-pinchers may have cash in the bank from years of cutting it cheap but their lives are empty. On the flip side those in deep debt may look like they’re living successful lives, but should a rainy day arise they’ll be left out in the cold. This book will show you what it REALLY means to be financially free.”

Why don’t you visit Amazon and see for yourself. I’m going to take the top reviews from the book over the next few days and add them here.

Are you ready to begin working towards financial freedom? Do you want a few extra bucks for beer money next weekend? Do you just want to get wasted in Mexico?

This is your wake up call. You can waste your 20s and hope for things to get better… Or you can do something and grab control of your life.

FAQ — The answers to all of your questions.

Is financial freedom a scam?

No, because I’m not promising you millions. I’m offering freedom from what’s holding you back if you’re willing to put the work in. I’ll show you how to put your savings on cruise control, how to buy a rental, how to invest in yourself, and how to plan your first trip. The onus is on to you to reach your own level of freedom by applying the tips.

Can I find this information somewhere else?

Yes. You won’t everything in one place from someone with a proven track record.

Do I have to pay for this?

Yes. You won’t take this advice seriously if you get it for free. This book is on sale until Friday May 15th midnight eastern. Then the price goes up.

I have an incredible guarantee for you…

If you don’t make the money back from the cost of the book within one month, I’ll gladly refund your money and toss you $5 for your time.

Are you ready to grab the next round?

How-to achieve financial freedom in your 20s

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. — Steve Jobs

Why Saving More Money Will Only Screw Up Your Life

Why you can't always save money

“I can skip a few bucks by skipping out on that dinner.”

“I’m going to stay in to focus on my career.”

“Why would I take that course? It’s $500! I would rather save the money.”

These are all things that I’ve heard lately. You can always find a way to save more money. Frugality is cool and all because personal finance is about more money in your pocket. So I don’t begrudge you for saving a few bucks. However, you’re going to ruin your life if you’re always trying to save money.

You can’t always find a way to create new opportunities for yourself. You can’t find new ways to make more money. You also don’t know when spending a few bucks can result in the investment of a lifetime.

Saving more money will only screw up your life.

You can’t just save, save, and save. This won’t help you get ahead. This won’t help you get anywhere because all you’re going to want to do is stay at home and watch TV because everything costs money.

What kind of life is that? Not one that I want to live.

You don’t believe me?

When’s the last time you invested in yourself? When’s the last time you increased your income?

I want all students of Studenomics to be bold. I don’t want you to be afraid of investing in yourself to increase your worth.

Think about it. Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Why would anything in your life change if you’re not willing to change?
  • Why would you get a raise if you haven’t increased your worth?
  • Why would someone hire you if you have no marketable skills?
  • Why would the cute girl with the big butt from the gym date you if you don’t even believe in yourself?

The moral here is simple: you can’t be a cheap bastard 24/7. You can’t be afraid of spending some money to improve your situation.

[Must read: What Wikipedia Won’t Tell You About Investing in Yourself.]

When do you save money?

When you’re in debt or when you have a bold goal.

You have to save money when you’re in debt because you to dig yourself out of this hole. I have a student right now who’s paying down her debt. I suggested that she works two jobs and hustles 24/7 to pay this debt off. Once she slaps that debt around, she’s going to be financially free because she’s finally going to be able to pursue her other goals.

When you follow the methods from Studenomics to save money, it’s then your goal to turn around and invest some of this money into yourself. I’m going to rant and rave on investing in yourself until I leave this planet.

When do you spend money?

When you want to move ahead in your 20s.

You need to do whatever it takes to invest in yourself. The onus is on you to make yourself so good that you can’t be ignored. This may involve any of the following:

  • Attending a conference.
  • Paying for private coaching.
  • Going to meet a successful person for coffee.

You get the drift. Don’t loiter at home when there are opportunities all around you. Saving money constantly will ruin your life and force you to fall behind while your friends are creating chances.

“How much I missed simply because I was afraid of missing.” — Paulo Coelho

When do you know if you should spend money on yourself?

“How do I find out of this investment is worthwhile?”

A friend asked me this and I was stuck on how to answer. To be fully transparent, I attended a conference last summer in Portland and I really don’t know if it was worth the total cost (ticket, transportation, lodging, and so on). Looking back I feel like I spent too much money on it. I only met a few cool people and I didn’t like the structure of it. And the flight was just too damn expensive. The whole even would’ve been great if driving was an option.

I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t always jump on every opportunity to invest in yourself.

There’s no right answer here. It’s easy to justify every beer and date as an investment. It’s easy to label a week of drinking on the beach as a creative retreat. It’s just not easy to save up the money for these events.

You should spend the money when you know for a fact that you can make the money back with knowledge you can pick up at this event.

For example, I know when I go to FinCon that I can make my money back usually by listening to one presentation that will change how I do business or my sales strategy.

When I attend wrestling seminars, I know that I’m going to learn enough to justify the entrance fee.

I don’t want you to screw your life up because you saved too much money. If you’ve been saving diligently and have paid off your debt, then it’s okay to spend a few bucks this weekend.

Why Your Ideas Are Making You Poor

Why your ideas are making you poor

“I have a great idea. I’ll share it with if you promise you won’t tell anyone.”

I can’t promise anything. My friend wanted to share his newest idea with me. I straight up told him that I wouldn’t guarantee anything because I knew he wasn’t going to do anything with this idea at all. I wasn’t too keen on hearing about this idea either. I also didn’t get why he wanted to keep it a secret.

He told me his idea. Then he did nothing about it. As usual. We all have friends that are just searching for the next big idea. They want to start the next Facebook without doing any of the work.

You see, well have dozens of great ideas. We could all sit down right now and write out 10 amazing business ideas. We all know how to get in shape, get rich, score more dates, and so on. Most of us never execute on any idea.

You don’t need a great idea. You have enough ideas. The ideas you have right now are making you poor. You need to get into the habit of launching.

Why are your ideas making you poor?

Unprofitable business

Because you never execute. You never do anything about your ideas. That image came in an email from Ramit Sethi and I had to share it because it was too accurate. Too many of us read blog posts, post quotes, and then go on to do nothing.

I don’t care about what you want to do as a freelancer. I want to hear about what you’re doing to find clients.

I don’t care about how you plan on increasing your income. I want to hear about how you applied for a new job or took on a second gig.

I don’t care about how you plan on paying off your debt. Have you start making changes?

[Great read: How-to blast away your debt!]

How fast do you go from idea to implementation?

“I have far more respect for the person with a single idea who gets there than for the person with a thousand ideas who does nothing.” — Thomas Edison

This will determine your success. The world needs more closers. We have enough dreamers and slackers posting motivational quotes. We need you to initiate. We need you to stop loitering.

Your ideas are making you poor. Here are a few examples:

  • You’re looking for the perfect plan to pay off your debt.
  • You want to start freelancing, but you’re waiting for the great idea to hit you.
  • You’re dying to start a business, but you think you need the perfect idea.

There’s no such thing as the perfect idea. No idea can survive poor implementation. We all have that buddy who wears expensive clothes and can’t get a date. We all have a friend who manages to have all of the natural gifts possible, but no inner drive.

How fast are you going from idea to implementation? Are you even implementing your ideas?

What’s your game plan?

[Must read: How-to start a blog in 10 minutes.]

Hope isn’t a game plan. I love hearing from readers because I’m here to be your trusted advisor for life. I don’t need to make a quick buck off you. If you’re willing to commit and execute, then I’m willing to help.

I want you to create a game plan. When I work with readers, I give them homework. I want to see you succeed. If your plan is to hope for the best, then I can’t really help you with much because you’re obviously not ready to change.

Truthfully, I’ve always struggled with game plans. What did i do?

I had to write a book on launching!

Failure to Launch No More

The ultimate irony: it took me forever to launch a book on launching. Imagine that? I slacked off on launching about launching.

You see, it’s easy to write articles for a blog. It’s even easier to write in a document on your laptop because nobody sees it. It’s fun to tell your friends about your ideas and what you’re working on. The toughest thing to do in life is to ship. I didn’t launch in 2014 because I was too busy brainstorming and waiting for the perfect idea.

2015 is the year of launching. Stay tuned!

I’m so happy that I finally launched the book a few months ago because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

Looks like you guys are loving the book so far. Out of the 21 five star reviews on the Amazon.com version, one of my favorites was:

“Plain speaking far outweighs boring writing. You need to read this. The cold hard truth, said with humor, will inspire you. Get it, read it, do it.” — Evonne Llewellyn

Your ideas are making you poor. I want you to launch. Grab a copy of Failure to Launch No More. Being broke’s a choice. Make the smart choice.

“As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” – Andrew Carnegie

The Awesome Guide to Deciding What to do After College

What to do after college

What should you do after college? How do you figure out what you’re going to do for the rest of your life?

“I woke up at noon today and then caught up on Netflix.”

A friend shared their day with me. I wasn’t really impressed because this person was dying to get out of college. Now that they were done, they were squandering their precious time. Then I realized that I couldn’t get mad with them because this is what happens after college. For the first time in our lives we don’t have a set schedule. We don’t have anyone telling us what to do. It’s liberating, yet intimidating.

This is the awesome guide to deciding what to do after college with feedback from the experts. You’re not alone. We’re here for you.

So what do you do after college?

  • Are you supposed to apply for the first job that comes your way?
  • Do you travel?
  • Do you just get wasted and enjoy life?
  • Do you find yourself?
  • Do you focus on your debt right away?
  • Do you find yourself a lovely partner and get married ASAP?

So many questions. You’re likely totally confused about what to do after college. This is the first time in your life where you’re actually on your own and responsible for everything. You don’t have any deadlines or any professors breathing down your neck about being late. It’s just you. You’re in charge of your life and how you spend your time now.

My first suggestion is that you don’t rush or jump into anything too fast.

It’s important that you don’t just accept the first job that comes your way because time flies and that could be your only job for the rest of your life. Do you really want that? Likely not. Comfort is a scary thing. It’s easy to get comfortable at work and stick around.

Then there’s the idea of more education. There are many alternatives to grad school. Don’t just jump right into school because you’re disenchanted with life at work or can’t find a job. More debt and more credentials isn’t the only route. You can’t run from the real world forever.

What did I do after college?

It’s way too scary how fast time flies. I finished school at the end of 2010. Where did the years go? What did I do?

  1. Traveled. I was fortunate enough to find full-time work in college and was able to finish school debt-free. As a result of this, I’ve been traveling. I’ve done many mini-trips of one week beach getaways with friends and even strangers. I also finally went on my first solo adventure to Europe.
  2. Pursued business ventures. I’ve tried all sorts of ventures from consulting to product launches to this very blog that you’re reading..
  3. Learned languages. I went to Poland alone to force myself to improve my speaking skills. I can communicate with anyone and my reading comprehension is improving. The next language to tackle is Spanish. It’s slowly going. I ended up going to Argentina on a solo adventure.
  4. Worked part-time. I’ve always held a side gig because I love the social aspect of it/it allows helps to have a diverse income just to sleep better at night.

[Martin’s note: If you want to travel, you need to check out my piece on being your own travel agent. If you want to work for yourself, my post on starting an online business is mandatory.]

What did the experts have to say about life after college?

I reached out to my circle of friends to see what wisdom they had to share with college graduates.

Todd Tresidder.

If I could do it all over again, one of my first financial goals would be to buy an apartment building on a fully amortizing, fixed rate mortgage while I was still living the apartment lifestyle.

That allows you to deduct all your lifestyle costs as the onsite manager of the building, learn the ropes of running the building while you live there and can actively control costs, and you never experience a setback in lifestyle to do it since you are already living at that level. The amazing thing is that you will be financially independent or darn close with near certainty by your 40’s assuming a 20 year fully amortizing mortgage and you acquire enough units to support your lifestyle (2 or 3 four-plexes or similar). It is a no-brainer wealth strategy for recent graduates.

Check out Financial Mentor for more!

JC Deen.

If you don’t know what you want to do, my advice is to not do what is expected, especially within the American culture, which is usually to get a job, and work the 9-5. If you can, take a vacation (3-4 weeks if possible), and have some experiences.

Maybe get out of the country if you can. Just don’t let yourself get sucked into a boring routine of a job right after school. I understand you may have debts, or a desire to make money, but it can wait. You might learn things about yourself that will help guide your path.

Another option is to go work a job you detest. Being in such an environment might give you some ideas of what you’d rather be doing.

If you have an interest in entrepreneurship, try to go to work at a startup.

I started working for myself after being in a job I hated for 15 months.

If all else fails, don’t do something just because it’s the norm or because others think you should do it. Figure it out for yourself.

Go to JCD Fitness for a no-BS approach to training.

Thomas Frank.

For me, “after college” was less a stark transition and more a continuation of what I’d been building since my early days as a student. I started College Info Geek as a freshman, and once I graduated, I simply stepped up my efforts and actually stayed in the same town to be around my girlfriend and friends. For me, it was almost exactly what I’d wanted – after I completed my internship halfway through college, my goals changed and I was much more adamant about being an entrepreneur. Fortunately, it worked out!

Check out College Info Geek.

Sean Ogle.

The best advice I could give is to take calculated risks.

You don’t have to accept the first typical day job you get offered. In fact, that can be the fastest path to living a life you’re not going to be happy with later on.

Think about the things that really excite you, and pursue them. When you’re young and especially those first few years out of school, you can get away with a lot. You don’t have a lavish lifestyle to keep up with, and if you try something and fail, it’s much easier to start over when you’re in your 20s.

So if you want to travel? Go do it. If you want to start a business, give it a shot! Take calculated risks that will help you do more of the things you really want in life, and don’t feel obligated to accept a day job right away – unless it’s one that is truly getting you closer to your long term goals.

Check out Location 180.

Ryan Coelho.

Do what excites you most in the moment you have to choose. Excitement breeds more excitement, so you can never go wrong. Keep doing that thing until you find something else that excites you more. At the end of the day everything is energy and emotion is energy in motion. Keep good emotions and you attract more emotions like it.

Check out RyanCoelho.com.

Corey Ferreira.

Build your personal brand. Resumes are close to being obsolete (if not already). Start a blog about something you’re really passionate about, clean up your social media, or have a presence on social media that shows employers or clients that you are knowledgeable and passionate on your subject. Check what shows up when you Google yourself and ensure it shows you in a good light so that people will want to work with you or hire you.

Check out Laptop Entrepreneurship.

Ryan Guina.

The best advice I can give is to continue living like you are in college, and take your time increasing your standard of living.

I’ve seen a lot of young folks get into trouble with debt because they tried to copy the standard of living they had when they lived with their parents. Unfortunately, many of them didn’t realize it took often their parents twenty years or more to achieve that standard of living. There are no shortcuts, especially if you try to rely on debt to get there!

You can read more at:  The Importance of Delayed Gratification.

Lauren Bowling.

Don’t move every couple of years unless you absolutely need to. Moving to a different place every year is more expensive than you think. Between the cost of moving, deposits, and setting up utilities you could put that money toward savings or retirement.

Check out L Bee and The Money Tree.

Robert Farrington.

You need to build a side hustle and start earning more early to build wealth and leverage the power of compounding. You’re only young once applies more to finance than anything else. Time is the unique advantage someone in their 20s has going for them.

Check out The College Investor.

Noah Kagan.

Get a mentor is the main thing I’d do differently.

Check out App Sumo.

Eric Rosenberg.

Work hard, save big, pay off your debt, and get on track for retirement. My only big regret is not taking a summer to backpack in Europe when I had the opportunity.

Check out Personal Profitability.

Steven Richmond.

After I graduated, one of the first things I did was spend a week hiking by myself through Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I didn’t really have a reason for it other than a desire for profoundly inward reflection. And it was great! One of the best experiences of my life.

Zina Kumok.

Traveling after graduation is one of the best things you can do. I recommend going as long as possible. It’s rare to get more than 3 weeks of vacation once you start work and traveling is one of the best things you can do. Secondly, I would recommend paying off your debt as quickly as possible. I feel so much freer to try new things knowing that I don’t have debt holding me back. Take a couple years to live with roommates and put money toward your loans. I paid off $28,000 in 3 years while making around $30,000 a year.

Stefania O’Connell.

I spent 7 months touring Asia with a musical. Best experience ever. The only trouble is, it’s really easy to get depressed after.

Check out The Broke and Beautiful Life.

Lee Huff.

If you’re thinking of getting your MBA, find a company that will pay something towards your tuition and books (partial or total) even if it means taking slightly less in salary. Remember, your boss paying your tuition is a non-taxable benefit to you.

Check out Bald Finance.

Julia Starnes Rains.

I drove nearly across the country to Yellowstone (where my friend, now with the EPA) took a summer job. I continued via bus to Malibu, California where I had a college friend studying at Pepperdine Law School and stayed with her for a couple of weeks before heading back to NC and continuing my job search. So, travel, yes. — I tell my kids (high school and college age) to travel and take chances now with jobs, interests, including doing non-lethal stuff that seems foolish to adults; there’s plenty of time to be a grown up.

Rebecca Stapler.

I joined the Peace Corps and lived in a country I never would have thought to visit, learned a ton, and it was an awesome resume builder when I returned.

Andrea Travillian.

I recommend they do 3 things: invest ASAP, learn to budget, and create a financial and life plan that they then build number 1 and 2 around! Much easier to achieve what you want in life when you plan it out, then build your budget and investments around that plan!

Pinyo.

  1. Pay off debt as soon as you can (when you start off, it’s usually student loans and credit card debt) … get rid of them!.
  2. Start investing as soon as you can. Learn about IRAs and your 401(k) if you have one. Don’t make excuses; just start investing.
  3. Save money. Whether it’s for an emergency fund or for a down payment on your first home, just start saving.
  4. Pursue your passion outside of your day-job. You never know when it could lead to multiple streams of income.
  5. Experiment … especially with business ideas.
  6. Don’t settle.

Check out: How I Went From Debt to 3 Paychecks.

Kali Hawlk.

Don’t feel obligated to go to graduate school. I graduated with a BA in history and was constantly told I “had” to go to grad school and get a Masters at a minimum if I wanted to get a job. In the same amount of time it would have taken me to go through grad school, I started my own business AND found my dream job — all without taking on tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt Grad school is not an answer to every young professional problem and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. There are MANY paths to take, and not all of them will load you up with debt.

Doug Nordman.

Have you thought about joining the military? Can you keep living like a poor college student when you’re at your first paying job?

Plan to max out your 401(k) match and your IRA every year.

And I should add, be very frugal (stay with your parents if you can). New workers tends to think about how many hours they have to work to spend on stuff — they will almost always spend more money than they should thinking that way.

For more: Will The Military Pay off Your Student Loans?

Mindy Crary.

The most specific piece of advice I give graduates is put off living alone for as long as you can to keep housing costs down–you can rent a really nice room and co-share a home in Seattle easily for $600/month or less and have much more usable living space, in a nicer neighborhood that if you spend $800/month on a studio.

And as much as I LOVE pets, I urge people to put off acquiring furry family. Not only is it harder to find a living situation, but it’s an added expense when you’re trying to launch your career, get a handle on cash flow, etc. THEN I say, track cash flow, save and all of the other great tips the others will add.

Lance Cothern.

My advice? Before you go out spending a ton of money because you landed your first job, wait. Wait until you get at least two paychecks and you realize how much money is left after all of the taxes, deductions and other things that come out.

Then, make a list of priorities in your life. Things like financial security and retirement should be high on that list.

Then, after you’ve hit the essentials, budget in some money for fun and vacations and the like. A lot of your friends will be blowing every dollar they make and more. They’ll regret it in five years when they have nothing to show for it. You can spend some money, but don’t blow it all and have nothing to show for it.

Joel Wegner.

My senior year in undergrad, a professor (a retired finance consultant) gave us his advice on our first 8 financial goals:

  1. Pay Yourself First (Learn to live on 10% of your salary each month and your journey will be much easier).
  2. Start an Emergency Fund (3 months to start).
  3. Pay-off Debt (High Interest Rates).
  4. Invest in a Roth IRA.
  5. Invest in your employer-sponsored retirement plan (enough to be fully vested or 100% of the matching).
  6. Pay off Debt (Low Interest Rates).
  7. Save a downpayment for a house .
  8. Start investing.

Teresa Mears.

  1. Don’t go to graduate school until you have worked a while.
  2. Don’t get married before you’re 30.
  3. Travel and have adventures while you’re young (before you acquire apartment buildings or pets).
  4. Think about where you want to live.

Here’s my other unconventional advice: Unconventional Money Advice For New Grads.

What did the Twitter peeps share?

I also reached out to Twitter to see what you guys thought.

@InvestorJunkie: Stay home as long as you can, but save!

@Liquid_Independ: If possible don’t anchor yourself to one city/location. Chance of landing a job increases if you’re willing to move.

@Yesiamcheap: Don’t move out! Stay with mom and dad and pay student loans off NOW.

@MotherWouldKnow: Stay flexible in your dreams & your outlook. Adapt to changing situations, look at jobs, potential partners w/out preconception

@Jjeffrose: Take inventory of all your Facebook pics. Employers don’t consider handstand holds on a keg a skill on your résumé.

@SimonZhen: Spend as you did before you graduated!

Martin’s note: This post was originally published on May 10, 2013. I’m going to update it every year or so with additional thoughts as I make more friends and figure out this life thing a little more.

What life/financial/career advice would you give to someone that’s just finishing college? What would you do differently in your 20s?

How Do I Accomplish Financial Goals in My 20s While Enjoying Life?

What to do after college

“I think your 20s are the hardest part of life. I mean, everyone goes on about how hard it is to be a teenager, but actually I think it’s tougher to be in your 20s because you’re expected to be a grownup and expected to earn your own living and be successful and I think you feel like a kid still.” — Nigel Cole

I’m here to help you save your first $1,000, plan your first trip, and reach financial freedom in your 20s because life’s too short to be broke and boring.

When’s the last time that you were truly happy with your progress?

I used to always make excuses and just hope that things would get better. That sort of thinking sadly gets you nowhere. You already know that. You’re just not ready to commit to making changes. And that’s cool because I’m here to fix that.

Somehow at 17 I decided to open up a retirement account and a new savings account. I decided to get serious about my money. I knew that if I wanted to save any money or see any results, I had to take matters into my own hands. I also knew that I sucked at saving money. Whenever I got paid I would hit the mall and come back with sweet new shoes. What I didn’t come back with was money in my checking account. I was a broke joke who dressed well and ate out.

So what did I do? I setup automatic withdrawals from my account so that money would be put away whenever I got paid.

If I never made this money, I would have never saved any money. By focusing on savings, I also avoided debt because I became very greedy. Sadly, I don’t have a feel-good debt comeback story. I’ve always just been greedy and wanted money. I also wanted freedom, which is why I worked like an animal when I was in college.

After writing about finance for over six years years, I’ve seen many of the same questions and problems.

The following question is likely on your mind:

How do I accomplish my financial goals in my 20s without missing out on the fun?

Yes, I know that nobody uses the phrase “financial goals,” so let’s get specific. What goals do you want to accomplish? They likely involve:

  • Getting out of debt.
  • Finally saving $1,000.
  • Making more money.
  • Planning a trip.
  • Being happy.
  • Less stress.
  • Being free from a crappy job/toxic lifestyle.

I believe in actionable steps and specific goals. This is why I want to help you solve your pressing problems.

I put together the best free email course on the market.

What are the topics in this email course on reaching financial freedom? 

  • The importance of your attitude.
  • Why you need to invest in yourself.
  • How you can crush that debt.
  • Powerful ways to save money.
  • The cure for boredom.
  • How to plan a trip.

You’re going to receive some of my premium guides, this free email course, and access to me.

How I saved up for a trip when I was 18.

I used to think that only the rich could travel. I always thought that I couldn’t afford to go away and that I would just be stuck being average.

Then my first winter of school, I realized that I really wanted to get away.

But how could I afford to do this?

I played around with a calculator and figured out that I could go on a trip if I put away $20 a week. After a year this would add up to just over a grand. What’s $20 a week? It’s pretty much nothing. That’s what most of us spending on coffee or some frivolous purchase.

So I slowly put the money away and went wild in Cuba!

The point here is this:  If you wake up and hope for the best, then you’re going to keep on getting what you’ve been getting. Hope is NOT a game plan.

You looking to conquer your goals finally?

Watch the video below. Leave me your email. Get the financial freedom course for free.

We will be covering specific and actionable goals in the next few weeks. This isn’t all about feel-good quotes. Your sorry self is finally going to pay that debt off, plan that first trip, or save $100. You might even get the motivation to escape the friend zone.

“I used to drive around, look at the big houses, and imagine what it would be like to live there and use that as motivation.” — Mark Cuban

Stop loitering. Grab our FREE email course. The 7 steps to financial freedom by 30!

Cheers to financial freedom (or having enough beer money for next weekend)!