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3 tips to keep more of your money

April 28, 2021

A financial education manager offers strategies for new graduates to meet their money goals

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the summer 2021 issue of ASU Thrive magazine.

Post-college life can feel drastically different than campus life, especially when it comes to money. You’re suddenly earning more, but also spending more. Financial education manager and ASU alum Emily Schwartz suggests you make sure you have these three tools in your financial toolkit to help move you closer toward your money goals:

1. A solid budget

A budget is not just a spreadsheet with expense categories. A budget is a plan to align your priorities with your spending. 

What’s important to you? What are your large and small spending and saving priorities?

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to start carefully observing and tracking your expenses so you know exactly where every dollar goes. 

Then, instead of trying to spend less, you can make specific and informed decisions about your spending to support your priorities. Am I saving enough? Do I have enough money to take a vacation or sign up for that fitness membership? Should I be spending less at the grocery store or on clothing? These are questions that are tough to answer unless you have the bird’s-eye view that a budget provides.

Emily Schwartz

2. A debt inventory

As you’re working on observing your spending, it’s also important to do an inventory of your debt. Did you accumulate student loans or credit card debt in college?

Create a spreadsheet of any debts you owe, including the total amounts, interest rates and minimum payments. You can then use this information to develop a payoff plan that makes sense for you. Are you making only the minimum payments?

Can you afford to pay more and accelerate the repayment schedule?

A debt inventory helps inform those decisions. 

3. Your job’s retirement plan

Even though retirement seems far away, now is the time to start thinking about your retirement savings. Does your job have a retirement plan? Learn about it and ask questions if you don’t understand. 

Does your company match your retirement contributions?

If so, make sure you’re taking advantage of the full match. If your job doesn’t have a retirement plan, research individual options like IRAs. 

Finally, remember that money management is a lifelong journey. There may be bumps. There may be stumbling blocks you can’t predict. The important thing is to have good habits in place early on so you are as equipped and informed as possible to navigate whatever you encounter on your financial path.

Emily Schwartz, ’10 MM, ’14 PhD is the assistant vice president at MidFirst Bank and a financial education manager. She leads the Making Smart Money Moves series of webinars and workshops to help people of all ages create a thriving financial future.

 
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Zoom in on success

April 28, 2021

4 ways for young professionals to advance while remote

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the summer 2021 issue of ASU Thrive magazine.

Life doesn’t always give us what we expect. Instead of going into the office, engaging with your colleagues and managers face-to-face, you’re working from home now. And rather than feeling supported in a system that has worked for generations, you’re in new territory. Even the people you normally look to for advice don’t have all the answers. They’re feeling their way forward too. 

When things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be, how can you set yourself up for success? Here, former chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley Europe and current executive coach, speaker, adviser, author and executive-in-residence in ASU’s Office of the President May Busch shares four things you can do to still thrive in a work-from-home environment.

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May Busch

Focus on what you can do

In the remote working model, you’ll be more energized by focusing on what you can do and what you do have. This means adopting a growth mindset. Instead of wishing for or worrying about what you’re lacking, turn the tables and look for the opportunity. Or as a friend of mine, Michael O’Brien, says, “How is this happening for me rather than why is this happening to me?” 

Help your manager help you

In all likelihood, your managers will want to make your experience as good as possible. But they may not know how to help. 

Reach out to have a conversation with your manager about what’s possible. Work together to find creative ways to learn, connect and even add some fun into the workday so the team as a whole can be more productive and energized.

You can also speak with your peers. Share what’s working and scripts that you’ve used successfully to work better with your manager. 

Not only will you have gotten new ideas for how to make the most of this new way of working, but you’ll also be building your community of support. And we all need support! 

This brings us to your superpower.

Use your digital native superpower

Companies are now realizing this “new way of working” is here to stay. And senior managers are struggling in this remote working environment too. 

They’re used to stopping by in person and bumping into people in the hallways to do their mentoring. But while they may not be digital natives, you are! In this environment, it’s a superpower. 

You’re likely to be able to add value by sharing some strategies you’ve learned that can be applied to the remote-working environment. Offer tips that might help everyone feel better about staying connected and give you some visibility with managers.

Use this golden opportunity to add value

If you’re facing challenges in today’s work environment, you are not alone. We’re all finding our way forward. The key is to keep experimenting to find those golden opportunities to add (and receive) value. 

So, which of these steps is most important for you to take to set yourself up to thrive in the work-from-home environment?

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Staying adaptable and agile in a changing world

Growth mindset: “What can I learn from this situation? How can we create new opportunities?”

Fixed mindset: “This isn’t the way work is supposed to be, so it’s worse for us. I wish we could get back to normal.” 

Don’t let the fears and worries of people from previous generations (including your loved ones) color your mental game. This experience could be what sets you up for greater success in the future, whether you choose to become more adaptable, more globally connected or more innovative, to name a few possibilities.

May Busch is the former chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley Europe, and she’s now an executive coach, speaker, adviser, author and executive-in-residence in ASU’s Office of the President. Find her at maybusch.com/asuthrive.