Finance Friday: Gifts for Graduates

I remember it well. June 13th, my graduation day from college. Having spent five years being taught how to think and then learning to think for yourself graduating from college is like your Dad taking the training wheels off your two speed overnight.

You were used to dime diving – ya know searching through the couch cushions in the student lounge to collect coins for your laundry. While you didn’t make much you made due. You always found enough money to go shopping, go dancing, and oh yea, go out eating.

But unfortunately, that “Real World” you kept hearing them refer to is rampant with due dates (past due dates), minimum payments and balances, fees and grace periods that expire after six months. Instead of buying flowers for the graduate in your life consider preparing them for the financial world they cannot hide from – no matter how many times they hit the proverbial snooze button.

I’ve stated before that I knew absolutely NOTHING about personal finance when I entered college. Not only did I graduate with a Roth IRA, a funded emergency fund and savings account, and a debt free week long stay in Panama, but was also able to purchase my first home at age 23. I attribute my enlightenment to one book: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by the Godfather of passive income, Robert Kiyosaki.

If you can get your graduate to do nothing else, I highly recommend you force this upon them – then let them make their own decision about how to proceed. The Godfather very simply talks about his upbringing and the influences that helped shaped his vision from his friends dad (Rich Dad) and his biological father (Poor Dad).  He introduced me to the concept of “passive income” and “making your money work for you”. I can say without a doubt, this book changed my life!!!!!

My other recommendation demonstrates a practical viewpoint of implementation. A semi-recent graduate himself, Ramit Sethi discusses in his book and blog by the same name, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, how young professionals can earn more, invest more, and do it all rather easily. He hates most financial advice and I hate some of his advice, but I give credit where credit is due: 90% of his material is absolutely valuable.

While he feeds off some stereotypes (especially in his Indian culture) he offers concrete advice as it relates to the psychology of individuals and why most people behave they way they do. The one thing that I took away from Ramit was the simplicity of automation, as I discuss here. Master this and you never have to worry about managing your finances again!

These weren’t books that anyone in my family suggested to me – or even could suggest to me. It was pure fate that brought me to these two gems. The goal isn’t to get your graduate to implement every single piece of information but rather to get them to be aware and start to think about these things. Have start early, so they don’t finish late!

Editorial note: And no I don’t think I’m slick I realize I’m posting Finance Friday on a Saturday…my bad!


“Your my latest, greatest…doodad”


I felt that if I made the picture really big, you’d understand. Look at those eyes and the little white toes. Everyone, meet Nibbles. He’s eleven weeks old now and by the far my latest and greatest doodad. A doodad, taken from Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is any unjust expense; something that doesn’t make you any New Money. Since I’ve yet to devise a plan for the pup that’s gonna make me some money, I’ve simply become smitten (You had me at hello).

He’s been a great addition. His plum sized bladder, barks and yelps(!) get me up and outta bed at 5:30 each morning (ahhh, nothing like beating the sun up!). His entertaining tricks and excitement at such a small apartment, keeps me at home (why spend money when you can watch a pup dream he’s running?) and not spending.

That’s So Money. But wait, is it wrong to use another living being as a financial tool? (He’s just so cute I don’t mind staying in) Don’t tell me it’s some kind of dog exploitation!

But the benefits have been noticeably significant. He has increased my future cost of living though. Currently, his only cost to me has been a vet visit, food and supplies. Come September, I will have to pay an extra $25/mo to house him in my new apartment. The periodic expenses are easily woven into to my budgets. But I didn’t account for the all the clothes !!

Nostradamus of Financial Markets

After the awards ceremony, a woman that I regard with the utmost respect, came to me and said I am moved right now. You guys (referring to my boyfriend and myself) are f**king amazing”. She continued to ask me, “do you know what you have done? You just shaped the lives of eleven young adults. Has that set in yet?” Last night was a complete success and went off without any problems.

I once came across a quote, and I have no idea who originally said it but it goes like this: Success is when you add value to self, significance is when you add value to others”. I like this quote and move my life and life actions in the direction to ultimately become significant.

In other news, I recently came across and fell in love with Cash Flow the e-game. If you are not familiar with Cash Flow, it is a game whose tag line is :”The more you play, the richer you become“. The way you win is to bet out of the rat race, the mundane employee driven circle, and onto the Fast Track, where you buy businesses, vacations and ultimately your dream. It was created by the infamous Robert Kiyosaki, who has been dubbed the Nostradamus of Financial Markets. I personally think it’s the Lil’ Wayne Complex (he claims he’s the best rapper in the world), in that if you claim it, you are it. But I digress….His claim to fame is the entire Rich Dad, Poor Dad series where, through books and games, he simplifies financial concepts down to increasing your passive income or your mailbox money to the point where it is greater than your expense.

It truly is a fun and educational game. We played Cash Flow every week and the students actually created a millionaires club that they called, the Money Makers. The best thing this game can teach you is the flow of money between assets and liabilities and income (or cash flow) and expenses.

On the Rich Dad website, I was just informed that Mr Kiyosaki has a new soon to be bestseller called Increase your Financial IQ

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