Weekly financial Q&A, with items on the right time to buy a house and job experience.
I graduated from college in May, and I already have a job in my field. It was a part-time position that went full time, so I already have $15,000 in an IRA and about $23,000 in savings. I’m also debt-free, because scholarships paid for my education. Am I ready to buy a house?
You are the man! This is an awesome position you’re in right now!
Financially, you’re OK to buy a house. I do have one slight hesitation, though. There are going to be lots and lots of things happening in your world during the next few years, and there’s a possibility you’ll end up moving — maybe for a girl, or even another job — during this time period. It’s going to be a time of transition, and having a piece of real estate tied around your neck could be a huge pain. But if you’re sure that’s where you want to be for a while, then it’s not such a big deal.
Keep in mind that there’s a word for real estate that sells quickly, and that word is cheap! Lots of times, the only way to get out from under something like that fast is to practically give it away. It’s a great time now to buy a home, though. It’s like they’re on sale. Interest rates are low, too.
Don’t use the entire $23,000 as a down payment on a place, and keep an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses set aside. Make sure you get a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, too. If you play this right, Zack, you’re going to be sitting pretty!
No experience, apply anyway?
Do you think it’s a good idea to apply for a job if you have a degree in the proper field but no real work experience in that area?
Absolutely! Does this mean you’ll get the job? No, but I can promise you one thing: The only sure-fire way to make sure you miss out on a job is by not applying for the position in the first place.
Line up all the interviews you can for jobs for which you have a reasonable chance of being hired. Then, go in there with your head held high, and impress them with how articulate you are and how you carry yourself. Use your style, intelligence, education, and confidence to sell yourself and your ability to jump in, learn quickly, and get the job done!
I’ve met lots of people who say they have 20 years of experience, but it’s really more like one year of experience 20 times. That kind of “experience” is useless. I’ve also met lots of sharp people without experience, but you can tell they’re the kind who will put their minds to work, think outside the box, and figure out a way to get things done. As an employer, if I’ve got a choice between the two, that’s the one I want to bring onto my team!Dave Ramsey is a nationally known personal finance expert. Visit www.davesays.org for more financial advice.