Dear Dave: I’m 22, and I just recently graduated from college. I’m lucky enough to be walking into a job making $60,000 a year with a company I interned with during school, and I’ll be living with parents for the next few months. I have about $50,000 in student loan debt, but I also have $25,000 in savings, along with an E-Trade account with two single stocks that was given to me a couple of years ago. Those stocks are now worth about $13,000 combined. Should I sell the stocks to help pay off debt, or put the money from their sale into mutual funds? — Tyler
Dear Tyler: In situations like yours, I teach folks to pull out any money they have that’s not in retirement plans, and use it to pay off debt. The shortest distance between where you are now, and wealth, isn’t a couple of stocks in an E-Trade account. The shortest distance between you and wealth is becoming debt-free and taking control of your largest wealth-building tool — your income.
If I’m you, I’m going to clean out everything, including my savings — down to $1,000 — and throw it at debt. After that, I’m living on a strict budget with no unnecessary spending until that debt is all gone. Man, with the money you’ll make right out of college you can be debt-free, and on your way to building a fully-funded emergency fund and wealth, so fast it’ll make your head spin.
Get this done, Tyler. Today. — Dave
Dear Dave: I’ve been in sales for 15 years. I love my job, and I love my company. Our business wasn’t affected as much as some during the pandemic, but my numbers have become stagnant. They’re still good, but I feel I can do better. Do you have any advice for someone who wants to raise their sales and become a more productive team member? — Sara
Dear Sara: Boy, I wish more people had the same attitude about their jobs. Folks with that kind of drive and sense of responsibility are almost always successful in their professional and personal lives.
I want you to think about one simple word — serving. It isn’t just a word or an idea, it’s an attitude. Serving means you provide what you have to offer in a way that makes customers happy to trade their money and time for it.
But don’t make the mistake of confusing serving with subservient. What I’m talking about is being proactive with customers individually and in the marketplace. It means being excited about what you have to offer, and believing you’ve got a great product at a great price. It means you’re determined to give your customers a great experience 100% of the time, and that going the extra mile — whether you have to or not — is just business as usual. And, it means if something goes wrong, you’ll step up and make things right in a way that will make them forget a glitch ever happened.
If you help enough people, and make that the first order of your business and those relationships, you’ll never have to worry about success. — Dave