Posted on Monday, May 19, 2008, 12:00AM
Congratulations, college class of 2008! You've earned your diplomas. Now it's time to get smart about the real world.
Current projections say the job outlook for the class of 2008 isn't bad but it's not GREat either -- there is an increase in hiring compared to last year, but it's half of what was projected in the fall, and salary growth is mixed as well.
The bad news: Research shows graduating into a recession has the potential to negatively affect your earnings in the long term.
The good news: Surviving and thriving in an economic downturn boils down to managing your expectations and your finances wisely, which is a lesson with a lifetime's worth of value. Here are some areas to concentrate on.
Find Housing You Can Really Afford
The "New York Times" did a piece recently on finding your first New York City apartment.
One of the men they profiled is a consultant who chooses to pay more than half of his after-tax income for an apartment in Manhattan. Despite the fact that his income (combined with a roommate's) satisfies the landlord, he is not showing good financial sense. You shouldn't spend more than 30 percent of your income on rent. If you need to split the rent eight ways, then do it. When you're young, living with lots of roommates can be a rite of passage, not to mention a fun way to get to know people and have a home base in a big city. 年轻时和许多室友一起住是一个成长经历，而且这也是结识新伙伴、在大城市里有一个居住地的好办法。
Or try starting out in a not-so-big city. The most affordable rents, not surprisingly, are in states such as Kansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky.
Take Care of Your Health
Young people are the largest and fastest-growing group in the country without health insurance. That must be why I've been invited to several benefit parties for twenty- and thirty somethings who have unexpected medical expenses that they can't afford to pay for.
Doctor's bills are bad for your wealth as well as your health -- they're a leading cause of bankruptcy and credit card debt.
So if you don't have health insurance through your job -- or if you're still looking for a job -- here are a few options:
- In 30 states, you may be eligible for coverage under your parents' plan as part of a family rate, up to your mid 20s (in New Jersey, the limit is age 30). Find out more here.
- You may also be eligible for low-cost coverage under a state or local plan for low-income adults, such as Healthy New York or Healthy San Francisco. Check your state's insurance department for details.