Broke as a joke.
After college I was as broke as an ’80s has-been. And I wasn’t alone. Recent reports state the average amount of college debt is roughly $30,000! It is a rare breed of post-grads who emerge totally debt-free from four years of tuition, rent, grocery bills, spontaneous spring break trips and a generous serving of nights out.
Debby Fowles, author of The Everything Personal Finance in Your 20s and 30s Book, reminds college grads their stint back home coincides with the repayment of any loans taken out to pay for tuition. “The day after you graduate, your six-month grace period begins (some types of loans have different grace periods). Your first loan payment will be due approximately 30 to 45 days after the end of your grace period.” With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to have your financial situation in order to prepare for the road ahead to student debt freedom.
At the heart of it, you’re at home, at least to some extent, to save money. Be wise. Save and pay off debt. Or be like yours truly and buy a BMW convertible and live a life beyond your means, regretting every dollar of premium gas you pour into the tank of oblivion.
Attitude of Gratitude.
It used to be you loved having people over at your place. Your mom would be all “cool mom,” à la Mrs. George from Mean Girls, and pop her head into the rec room periodically to be like: “You girls want some fresh-baked cookies? Party mix? Pop? Delivery pizza? Tell me how many. Are any of you vegetarian? Should I ask for no pepperoni?”
Now that you’re back at home, you want to be able to mingle with your friends without feeling like your parents are going to bust in on you at any moment and be all: “OK, guys. Fun’s over. It’s a school night. Everybody get on home.” Or perhaps more confusingly now that you’re older: “What’cha guys talking about? Can I join?”
Wherever your paternal roommates land on the spectrum of oddities, always be grateful. I don’t want to Jesus Juke anyone, but we are called to honor and respect our parents regardless of age. Now that we’re over the legal age of guardianship, parents are not responsible for taking care of you. If they opt to help you out, show them some love. Gratitude calibrates the heart of both parties. Like we learned in Sunday School: Have an attitude of gratitude!
But the most important thing I can pass on to my wee little Jedi warriors is, This too shall pass. In the thick of life change, it’s hard to see the end. But standing at the other end (ya know, having to pay rent for ultimate privacy and not being reminded to grab a coat when I depart my parental unit), I can assure you that you will look back at your parents with thankfulness and appreciation.
It may seem like the simplest thing in the world to cross the threshold of your old front door and step back into the familiar place you’ve grown up in and returned to periodically over your undergraduate career, but not only have you changed a lot in four years, home will have changed a little in your absence, too.
In the midst of change, please focus on flourishing. This time can quite possibly be the space to discover who you want to be without the pressure of keeping the lights on.
Don’t stub your toe on your mom’s StairMaster 2000!
Zach was diagnosed with cancer and given only a few short months to live. What he did with the time is simply amazing.
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