Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To Dream the Impossible Dream

I had the opportunity to counsel a young engineering graduate yesterday.  She had just received a really fat offer from a very good aerospace/defense firm in my state, and she was asking my advice.

First, I said she should say "thank you", and maybe "and when do reviews happen?" because the offer was very generous and the job will be fun for her (certainly for a few years - manufacturing and test can be great, or it can be great for a while). 

Second, I said "and you're not buying a car for at least five years".  This caught her up short, because apparently her mom had (jokingly?) said "Now you can afford that Audi!".  As thought that were a funny joke.  Ha.Hum.

We then had a crash discussion of the core principles of Mustachianism as relate to a student who is really tempted to dive into the newly-employed lifestyle inflation that I have (regrettably) done myself and seen so often. She had just assumed that this would happen.  She had no idea that you could NOT succumb to this.

I asked how much she had lived on in the past few years.  The average was about $24k.  This is more than necessary, but certainly not insane given her preferences (she does not like roommates, and has cats...sigh).  So I just asked her if she could keep living on that amount. This was like cold water.

(Her, eyes wide) "Well, yes, I guess." 

(Me, eyes narrow) "So do that."

That would automatically put her in the admirable category of 50%+ savers, and this would be of discretionary take-home pay, not including the pretty-good employer match 401k.  I pointed out that this would allow her the privilege of deciding to do whatever work she wanted in a fairly short period.  This was news.  It was not news she expected, but I hope she realizes it is good news, and that she can take this unique opportunity to start off right in her career.