By Jared Smith
Gavin Collier will be graduating from the University of Georgia at the end of this semester and is applying for jobs and preparing for a career, possibly in a different state.
While the management information systems major is extremely excited to begin his adult life and move on to the next chapter, he said he is nervous about all the upcoming responsibilities that come with it.
“I’m actually very anxious about it,” Collier said. “This is something I’ve obviously never done before. Being out in the real world is kind of intimidating, but I think it’s going to be okay. I’m not super worried, but I’m starting to feel the pressure of that sort of thing.”
He said it is difficult to look for housing while still determining where his future job would be and how much money he will make. Fortunately for Collier, his parents are allowing him to stay home after he graduates until he figures everything out.
According to USA Today, the average salary of a college graduate in their first year after graduation is $55,260. While that seems like a reasonable wage, the average monthly expense for a person living by themselves in 2023 is around $3,500. That salary leaves little room for saving, investing, or handling emergencies.
Andrew Rosen, a contributor for Forbes, wrote about the importance of properly managing money and advised young adults to create a budget to manage their spending. One of the best ways to create a budget, he said, is to allocate a certain amount of money every month for critical necessities. Once those are accounted for, the remaining money can be spent on wants like special occasions with friends or family, he said.
An article by Bankrate also emphasized how significant it is to establish and maintain a good credit score. Most college students do not take advantage of starting to build their credit at a young age. While most students may know what a credit score is, they also need to learn how to build it and what can harm it, such as a late credit card payment. As the article noted, a poor credit score can make life extremely difficult regarding things like buying a house or renting an apartment.
Filipe Correia, a finance professor at the University of Georgia, believes someone in Collier’s position should not sacrifice joy and happiness in the process of becoming financially stable.
Allocating a certain amount of money a month for future financial success is prudent, but many people focus too much on wealth in the long term and lose sight of happiness in the short, Correia said.
“The idea of measuring finance is always prosperity,” Correia said. “Prosperity is not only the number in our bank account, but it’s also how many times we smile a day. Make sure you’re happy today, but that it’s not at the cost of happiness down the road.”
Collier agreed that happiness is determined by much more than how much money he will have. Throughout his job search, finding a city that is near his family is something he prioritize.
“Location is important to me, especially considering staying in the general southeast,” Collier said. “I want to live in the Atlanta area because it’s home for me, and I’ve also got family here.”
Jared Smith is a journalism student at the University of Georgia