Money advice for my Graphic Design students
(as well as everyone else really)
Money is something that is rarely discuss in most majors but should be. It is a subject that interests me and I have learned a lot of hard lessons over the years. Here are some quick tips:
Know what you are worth. What value do you bring to a project. This is tough to answer.
Know your burn rate. How much money does it take to live your life now and with an eye for the future?
Don’t be ashamed to ask for and insist on what you are worth. Your value is not the point of negotiation. What and how much you and the client exchange is the point of negotiation.
Start saving as soon as you start earning. Start simple. Put 10% of your net into a retirement savings. Every time you increase your pay or rate, put half of that new earning into savings. You will thank me when you are my age. Really. Think of this as paying future you first.
Have a bank of f-you/emergency money. The typical recommendation is 3 months living expenses.
Be very careful with debt and credit. You are selling your future. Some things might be worth it or necessary but that list is small.
Learn how money really works. If you don’t know where to put savings, start with a market index fund from vanguard.com. A Roth IRA is the best choice for young people because of tax reasons.
If you start in your 20s with this stuff, you can be comfortable in your later life earlier than most other folks. I wish I learned and committed to this sooner than I did.
Almost none of this is graphic design specific but relevant for anyone.