Moving from college life to adult life can be a shock to many new graduates. Not only is it a lot harder to get through a day at work after a night of drinking than getting through a couple of classes, it also is tough to be tied to a desk for 40 or more hours each week. In this post, I am going to share with you 5 tips to starting your career off right. Not only will they help you now, but they will set you up nicely in the years to come, opening up many more doors. Let’s get started.

5 Tips To Starting Your Career Off Right

#1. Save For Retirement

I know retirement feels like it is light years away, but you have something that every 40 or 50 year old would kill for: time. Time is your best friend when saving for retirement. You can save less per month now and just let time work its magic and end up with more money than someone who is 10 years older than you and saving a lot more each month.

So while it might be tempting to ignore the contribution to your 401k plan, you would be foolish not to put something aside for your future.

#2. Live Like A College Student

It’s easy to think now that you are working, you need a new car, apartment, clothes, etc. You don’t. The longer you can keep your living expenses low, the better off you will be.

By doing this, you can save a lot of money. This is where more doors will open for you in the future. Maybe in 5 years you want to travel the world. Or you want to take your dream job that pays a lower salary. If you save a lot now, you can do those things without much of a financial hit.

#3. Invest In The Stock Market

Many people are scared of the stock market because of the Great Recession. But over the long term it is a great place to build wealth. Invest in a stock market mutual fund or ETF and stick with it forever. Just keep adding to each and ignore what the market does on a daily basis.

If you can do this, you will build a lot of wealth over the course of your lifetime.

#4. Negotiate Your Salary

It is so important to negotiate your salary. While it might seem pointless to negotiate your salary, it is not. Look at this basic example as proof. If you start off making $30,000 and earn a 3% raise the following year, you would be making $30,900 that year. But if you can negotiate for a starting salary of $35,000, your 3% raise the following year is $1,050.

See what happens there? Not only are you making more money by negotiating in the first year, but your raises are more as a result as well. This will compound on itself and the sizes of your future raises will be more and more.

Negotiate for any amount you can get, but don’t sell yourself short. Ask for what you are worth! If you don’t feel ready to negotiate the first year, but sure to note all of your accomplishments during the year so when you do get a review, you can negotiate at that point for a higher salary raise.

#5. Find A Mentor

Once you figure out what you want out of life or what success means to you, find someone who is there and befriend them. Ask them to mentor you. Learn from their successes and failures.

The more you can learn from others who are successful, the greater the odds you too will be successful.

Added to this point is to not be afraid to fail. You learn and grow by extending beyond your comfort zone. It is only natural you will fail. Stop looking at failure as a bad thing and learn from it and grow.

Final Thoughts

If you follow these tips, you will put yourself on solid financial ground both now and in the future. You will find that money is not a stress in your life now and you can enjoy life more.

For your future self, by following these steps you will be well ahead of the game and may even be on the path to retire early one day.

It is up to you how you want to live your life. Starting your career off right with these steps will help you to have the best life you can imagine.