Welcome to the first edition of the Festival of Under 30 Finances. Our goal in running this carnival is to bring together the wisdom of personal finance bloggers and use it to help organize the beginnings of our financial lives. I hope you find these articles to be great sources for useful information. The Festival will be run every other Friday, with submissions due the previous Wednesday by midnight. The host of the second edition is College Student Financials; you can submit articles at this site.
Each edition of the Festival will feature a question for the contributing bloggers, chosen by that week's host. This week our question is:
What was/is your major in college (if you didn't go, what would you have liked to study?) and what impact does this have on the job you have now?
Beachgirl's Budget Blog: My major in undergrad was Information Technology. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after graduation, so I went to grad school. My program was Science, Technology, and Public Policy. I was able to get an analyst job with the federal government while working on my Master's, which then allowed me to get my current Consulting/Analyst job with Booz Allen Hamilton. It's helped some, but I wish I had done things a little differently.
Young Finance Guy: My major in college was Finance. During my job as a financial analyst, finances comes into play 90% of the time. In fact, I would not be considered for my job without a finance or accounting degree.
Pragmatic Finance: I am majoring in physics with one more year left for my undergraduate degree. I am currently working in a summer research program so it has helped give me some background knowledge and an idea of how the system generally works.
The Business of Life - My undergrad major is computer science and my graduate major is a MBA. Both degrees play into my current job - I wouldn't be doing half of the things I'm doing if it wasn't for the MBA and I wouldn't be able to do the rest very effectively without the CS degree - so I would say it's worked out well for a first job.
City Girl's Financial Blog: I majored in Chemistry and this major helped me land the job that I currently have. (Note: she is on the way to medical school!)
A Penny Saved: My major in college was Computer Science. It has a great impact on my work as I work as a Systems Administrator.
My Money Path: I was an accounting major in college, and now as a CPA, it has a tremendous impact on my job now. I could not even do what I do without that degree.
Budgeting Babe: My major in college was Public Relations, with minors in Marketing and Spanish. Since I currently work for a PR firm, my studies were a direct link to my current career. I've been employed with the same firm for 5 years now and am specializing in health care PR. I guess I can consider myself established now!
College Student Financials: I am currently a double major at UMass Lowell, Management of Information Systems and Marketing. I chose MIS because I have always been interested in computers and I would like to work in the IT field when I graduate. I chose marketing for a second major because I took a few marketing classes my sophomore year and they seemed fairly interesting and easy, along with a double major looking impressive on a resume. When I graduate, I hope to get a job in an IT department of a small to medium sized business. As for it's impact on my current jobs while I am still in school, 3 of my 4 jobs are IT related, one being the IT admin for a department at UMass Lowell, another working for a help desk for a Financial Firm, and the third being an IT tech for a public school system.
Money and Values: My major was history, and I don't really use it in my job. Maybe very tangentially.
Penny Foolish: My majors in college were physical anthropology and evolutionary biology, with minors in history and biology. At my job having all this random science knowledge occasionally comes in handy, but it's really having the science base that allows me to absorb a lot more than I might if I were some other major.
Our articles for this edition:
Beachgirl's Budget Blog writes a cautionary tale about signing bonuses. Don't go counting your bonus dollars before they hatch!
Young Finance Guy gives you the positive perspective on adjustable-rate mortages. Those of us getting into our first house soon may want to opt for one of these babies. At the beginnings of our careers, with incomes rising and the potential to move, it may be a smart choice.
Steve Faber at Debt Free contributes Common Mistakes in Becoming Debt Free. A lot of people leave college with serious debt - here's some pointers on what not to do to keep it from hanging around and growing.
Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity gives you the lowdown on what to do with a signing bonus. If you've gotten or will get this great perk, you can follow his tips to use it to start your financial life on the right foot. It's a couple of great reasons to not blow the whole thing on beer. (Even if the beer is on sale.)
Thatedguy at A Penny Saved tells you where to stash the money for your mid-term savings goals. This is a great strategy for saving for your first house or to buy your next car.
Jason at Pragmatic Financehas some wise words: Forget the Campus Bookstore, Buy Textbooks Online. I did this for most of my college textbooks and saved a bundle.
Adam Byram at The Business of Life presents Buying a House Is Expensive (But Still Do It). You should be working towards this lofty goal, even if you're young. You'll be glad in ten years that you put that five or ten bucks into your house fund each month.
Cecilia at City Girl's Financial Blog writes on an important topic: Withholding 101. For those of us with relatively low incomes, you can get a lot of deductions at tax time (student loan interest, retirement savings, etc.) so it's important to fill out your W-4 accurately to avoid a big tax refund.
Daniel at My Money Path presents Vacation!, a story about how you can go on vacation and not feel guilt over the money. Even when you're low on cash, you can treat yourself with a little planning.
Nicole the Budgeting Babe discusses how volunteering yourself and experiencing life brings greater rewards than a pile o' cash.
Mike at College Student Financials ponders the age old question: should you make less money but be happy, or make a lot of money and be miserable?
Penny Nickel at Money and Values asks: Could you walk (or bike) to more places? Many of us live in big cities without kids to tote around, and we're (hopefully) in good shape. So why are we still driving everywhere?
My article at Penny Foolish spells out why I think prenup-type agreements should be part of your relationship even if you aren't getting married.