A Guide to Financial Success for Recent Graduates


By Sage Casaga
Email: sage@gerberkawasaki.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sagecasaga/

Graduating college is a huge accomplishment to be proud of. All of the hard work has finally paid off, but the pressures of finding a job and figuring out your next steps can be extremely stressful. You might be wondering, "How am I going to afford to pay for everything? How am I going to survive financially?" Just to add to this stress, you may have graduated with a large sum of student loan debt. According to StudentAid.gov, the average student debt for Millenials is about $30,000 for each borrower. This is a massive problem in America for recent graduates; however, not all young professionals went to college or took out student loans. Maybe you chose the unconventional, but a courageous path of starting work right after high school. You have likely been able to save some money as a young professional. Regardless of your situation, here are the most important steps you can take today and be on your way to financial success.

1. List Your Goals:
Think of the life you want to be living in 5, 10, or 20+ years from now. For some, it might look like owning a home, providing for a family, going on vacations, retiring, or just simply living a better quality of life. These goals may be different for each person; however, they all cost money and a solid plan in place. Once you have an idea of some of your goals, the next thing you need to do is determine how on track you are to reach them.

If you do not have any financial goals that come to mind, that is completely fine. Sometimes we dismiss the idea of having goals because we believe they are unattainable, but that's not true. Keep reading, and you will be on your way to achieving your objectives.

2. Create a Budget:
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to create a budget. A budget is important because it allows you to figure out how much you are saving or can save per month. Taking a personal inventory on what you spend every month is critical to getting ahead financially. The simplest way to do a budget is to write down all your monthly expenses and total them. The expense categories that are most important for young professionals are:
- Rent on apartment or house
- Car Expenses
- Credit Cards
- Miscellaneous Expenses (Clothing, Entertainment, Dining Out, and Groceries)

After you total your monthly expenses, subtract this from your monthly net income. Since every person's financial situation is different, this number may be negative or positive. If its negative, immediate steps need to be taken to reduce expenses or increase income. As a general rule, it's easier to cut unnecessary expenses than to increase your monthly income. Many people do not like to do a budget because it requires discipline, but discipline is what it takes to build wealth. As an advisor, I'd be happy to send you a budget sheet and help you create a customized plan. If you can save money every month, you are living within your means and in a position to start growing your money.

3. Start Investing (even if it is a little bit):
The biggest asset a young college graduate has is time. That is why it's so important to not only invest in yourself and your career but to invest the money you're able to save. The reality is, most jobs as a young professional do not pay enough to allow your financial goals to come true. The best way to reach these dream goals in life is to grow your wealth through investing. Gerber Kawasaki is unique from other Wealth Management firms because we have a program designed for young professionals. Because we have no minimums, our advisors can help anyone who is looking to build wealth.

4. Speak to a Financial Advisor:
Too many individuals are afraid to ask for help. Do not be that person who waits to ask for help after you get into trouble. You need to create a plan proactively and hire someone who can help you make the best financial decisions for your situation. We live in a complex financial world, and it is important to have a team behind you as a resource to maximize your potential. As a Gerber Kawasaki advisor, I can help you create a customized plan to reach your financial and life goals much faster. We understand that life changes, so we are flexible and work with you throughout these changes.

When preparing for your future, you owe it to yourself to start with these simple steps. I like to use the analogy that preparing for financial success is similar to preparing for a sports competition; it requires the proper gear, discipline, and a solid game plan. The approach you take for your financial future is not different; with some practice and knowledge, you can achieve financial success.


Sage Casaga is a Financial Advisor of Santa Monica, Calif-based Gerber Kawasaki Inc., an SEC-registered investment firm with approximately $1billion in assets under management as of 02/10/20. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which course of action may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Readers shouldn't buy any investment without doing their research to determine if the investments are suitable for their situation. "All investments involve risk and one should consult a financial advisor before making any investments. Past performance is not indicative of future results."