Sunday, February 17, 2013


Introduction to Financial Planning for the Recent Graduate

Welcome to Financial Planning for the Recent Graduate.  My name is Eric Durham, and I’m going to be your coach over the next few months, teaching you the many ways to win with your money.  This vlog/blog series stems from lots of prayer and from my friends and their echoes of “teach me your ways” after I come home with tons of groceries and pay less than $1 for them.  Most of my financial knowledge comes from personal experience, trial and error, hitting rock bottom, and climbing my way back.  I’ve been employed in some capacity and receiving income from the time I was 15 years old because of the pressures of self-sufficiency and assisting my single mother since my freshman year in high school when my father left.  Since that time, I essentially became the “man of the house”, personally, spiritually, and financially.  I was blessed to be one of the first graduating classes in high school from the Academy of Finance, and paid my way through college (with way too many student loans, of which I’m almost certain you have as well, as 96% of college graduates have some sort of student loan).  

I personally manage both my retirement and brokerage accounts, graduated with a business and a music degree, and a few months after graduation, my very generous aunt put my fianc√© and me through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, of which many of my financial beliefs and advice derive from.  Enough about me.  This series is about you.  This is about you not having to hit rock bottom, not setting yourself up for failure, not being stupid with your money, but instead learning to win financially. 

Welcome to the real world.  Welcome to full-time jobs (or the job search), cold calls from financial advisors and insurance agents, grocery shopping, and your first monthly paycheck!  Personally, this was one of the hardest transitions that I’ve had to go through.  We are no longer protected by our college life “bubble”, where we have tons of friends and acquaintances close to our age, parties, meal plans, free time, classes, and every resource you would need within a few miles (sometimes even a few hundred feet).

Now we are faced with a new set of challenges, including what to do with our money.  What is a good investment?  What’s a bad investment?  What type of insurance do I buy? How do I save money on groceries?  How do I coupon like those guys on Extreme Couponing?  In this blog, we’ll explore many different ways of saving money, paying off debt, and most importantly, I’ll attempt to achieve one of the most difficult tasks: changing your behavior.  If you really want to win with your money and set yourself up for success, we have to change your behavior.  These are simply words on a page if you don’t take my advice to heart.  10% of financial behavior is head knowledge.  The other 90% is your behavior, and what you do.  This blog will not get you rich quickly.  What it will do, however, is steer you clear from bad financial decisions so you can live comfortably, protect yourself in emergency situations, and retire wealthy.  To start us on a structure, I’ll highlight a few steps to ensure you’re winning with your money. 

1. Get on a Budget
2. Save $1000 for an emergency
3. Pay off your debt
4. Save for 3-6 months of expenses
5. Invest 15% of your income into a retirement account

Stay tuned for next week's blog about budgeting, and be sure to check out my YouTube channel, where many of these blogs will be paired with a supplemental video:

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