Tips for College Grads: How to Retire Rich

Tips for College Grads: How to Retire Rich

Robert Powell, who writes for The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website, offers six tips for college grads on how to prepare for not just a normal life but a rich one after graduation. Bob opens with some humbling and humorous advice.

Jason Gay, sportswriter extraordinaire for The Wall Street Journal, this week offered up 29 Rules for College Grads. And his first rule was this: “Relax. Nobody expects anything from you for the first 80 to 90 years.”

Here are some highlights from Bob’s column:

Prepare for multiple careers
New grads today won’t follow the same blueprint as the generations before them, not least because they’ll live longer. Identifying multiple career options that interest you will frame your career path in a much more interesting and realistic way. Setting up the right expectations now will increase your chances of career satisfaction and staying power.

  • New college grads might also have [to] work a wee bit harder than previous generations at keeping themselves gainfully employed, especially in light of the increasingly faster pace of changes in technology and the global economy. There will be a premium placed on keeping skills and knowledge current.
  • “Invest in your career,” said Steve Vernon, a consulting research scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity, Financial Security Division. “If you don’t have strong earnings, you won’t be able to save much money.”

Stay healthy and health-wise
One of the toughest challenges facing new grads is maintaining good health habits amidst the changes they will be making when shifting from college to the working world.

  • “Take pride in taking care of your health—eating right, getting proper exercise, and becoming an informed medical consumer,” said Vernon.
  • “College graduates need to know the latest information on that topic, in order to plan their lives around realistic expectations of their healthy and total longevity—and also in order to put themselves in a position to hasten the medical defeat of aging and thereby increase their chances of benefiting from it,” said Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey, author of “Ending Aging” and chief science officer of the SENS Research Foundation.

Invest for the really long term
With life expectancies getting longer, new grads will likely need to plan for a longer time frame as an income-earner and as a retiree. It would then be prudent to employ an investment strategy that takes that into account.

Be a smart spender

“Create smart spending habits,” said Vernon. “If you learn how to live within your means now, you’ll be able to save and grow a nest egg that buys your freedom in your later years.”

Maintain a strong social network

“Maintain a strong social network—real people, not to be confused with virtual,” said Coughlin. “They will keep you connected, healthy and well for a lifetime, which for your generation is a long time.”

Live a rich life

Another network that must be maintained is that of family. “Be involved in the lives of your parents and grandparents as they transition into their elder years,” said Vernon. “It will make your life richer emotionally now, and you’ll learn invaluable lessons for when you reach those years.”