The Graduate.

Bill Parrott |

It’s an exciting time to be a college graduate.  After years of tests and toils you’re now ready to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom and take it to the streets.      

Here are a few thoughts to help guide you in your journey.

Think big.   Somebody, somewhere, somehow is going to change the world.  Why not you?  You’re more than qualified to be you.  You have the ability to do amazing things.   Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can do a thing, or you can’t do a thing you’re right.”   Now is the time to go big and make your mark on the world. 

Think small.  It would be nice to have a 10,000 square foot home with seven big-screen TV’s, four refrigerators, a five-car garage and Olympic size swimming pool but you don’t need it today.  In fact, you don’t need it all.  The more stuff you own the more shackled you’ll be to your job, city, bank, etc.  A smaller home with less stuff means more dollars in your pocket.

Think of others.  In Mark 12:31 Jesus says to love your neighbor as you love yourself.  If you put others first, you’re likely to help yourself as well.  Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” 

Give.  Get in the habit of giving away 10% of your pay to others.  The Bible recommends giving a tithe, or 10%, of your firstfruits.  The more you give, the more you’ll receive.

Save.  Try to save 10% of your income.  The amount you save should be deposited into a savings or money market account.  Your savings account will allow you to put a down payment on a home or buy a new car.  The more money you have in savings the less you’ll be dependent on others.

Invest.  I recommend investing 10% of your pay into stocks.  Stocks of all shapes and sizes – large, small and international.  The sooner you start investing the more money you’ll have in the future.   The stock market will be your BFF for the long haul IMHO.  The only way for you to reach your long term financial goals is to be an owner of stocks.   According to Dimensional Fund Advisors, a $1 investment in U.S. small stocks from 1926 to 2015 is now worth $16,743 while large stocks have grown to $5,3186.  If you took the “safe” route and invested in U.S. T-Bills your $1 is now worth $21.[1]  Investing and saving are two different things but both are needed for financial success.

Spend.  If you’ve been doing the math, you’re left with 70% of your income.  Can you live on 70%?  Now is the time to figure it out because once you have a home, a spouse, a few kids, a dog, a cat, a fish you probably won’t be able to live on 70%.  Get in the habit now of spending less and saving more. 

Start your own company.  In the gig economy you can call your own shots.  According to one study about 40% of the work force in 2020 will be working in the gig economy.[2]   Besides a big company will love you until they don’t.  In 2015 there were 493,431 announced layoffs through October 1 according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas.[3]  Now is the time to stick your flag in the ground and stake your claim. 

Travel.  It’s a big planet out there.  With a laptop and iPhone, you can work from New York, Paris, London or Munich.  You are as free as the wind so take advantage of it.

Smile.  A simple smile mixed in with a please and a thank you will open a lot of doors for you.  Do not be shy so spread a little cheer with your pearly whites.

Congratulations!  Go do some good.

Good habits formed at youth make all the difference ~ Aristotle.

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.

May 23, 2016.


[1] Dimensional Fund Advisors – Dimensions of Returns 1926 to 2015.