Just how awesome is the class of 2016?

Hey 2016ers, we want to hear from you about how awesome your friends are.

We know you’re out there – maybe working, maybe traveling, maybe studying your heart out at grad school – and we want to hear more about your experiences!

Do you have a friend that’s thriving and living their absolute best life? More than one friend?

Let us know because we want to feature them in a short alum profile on Afterword!

Just click through to this easy form, and give us their name, email, and quick reason why we should check in on their awesome adventures!

And if you won’t do it for us, do it for these guys:

They just want to hear more about you and your fab friends!

 

 

Domino’s, Dining Halls and Dives. Your Favorite Burlington Eats – Part 2

Time for another adventure off campus to explore some classic Burlington eats!

A few weeks ago, we met up with a 2017 grad to grab some lunch at his favorite place:

KKD’s! This hole in the wall has been providing fantastic late night eats to Burlington’s weekend warriors since 1992, located right next to the Flynn Theater.

We met up with Ben Citrin ’17 to catch up and learn a little bit about what he’s been doing since graduation in May.

But first things first, why is Kountry Kart Deli your favorite?

“KKD’s has been one of my long-time favorite restaurants around Burlington.  I actually discovered it during orientation years ago.  Kountry Kart Deli offers a huge menu and is one of the only late night food establishments open that is not strictly fast food (like McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.).  I love supporting local business that provides great food at a reasonable price.”

Lets check out the goods:

Kathryn’s Chicken Tender Sandwich,

Ben’s classic Sausage Shiner, and

Ryan’s Italian wrap.

We hopped across the street and found a spot on the city hall steps to catch up more about Ben’s post grad life.

How has your first year out of UVM been? (So Far)

My first year out of UVM has been very interesting.  Although I have still been living in Burlington, I have been doing a lot of traveling throughout the summer.  I had several grad parties to attend in addition to a wedding.  Aside from traveling, I have been enjoying the summertime amenities Burlington has to offer, such as beaches, cliff jumping, and seasonal restaurants.

What so far feels like your biggest challenge and how are you going to overcome it?

My biggest challenge is figuring out what I am actually going to do next.  I have been interviewing with companies both local and in larger cities, mainly Boston and Philadelphia.  I have been overcoming it by weighing all the pros and cons with moving and ultimately deciding on what feels right.

What are you learning from your post grad experience?

I have learned that it is okay to take some time off to figure out what I actually want to do.  I did not want to rush right into the workforce the day or week after graduation–I am thankful I was able to travel during the summer while holding an internship at the UVM Medical Center doing web development.  I am learning a lot of things that aren’t taught in school, such as how to prepare a 401k plan and save for retirement (all the things I don’t want to think about yet!).

What are you looking to do next?

I have actually just accepted a job as a software developer for an established consulting firm in Colchester called C2 (competitive.com) and am every excited to start there in a couple weeks.

Congrats on your new job Ben! We love to hear about our alums and their adventures in the real world.

 

Are you in Burlington? Want to meet up and grab a snack?

Let us take you out! Submit your name and a suggestion of where to eat, and maybe you’ll be the next person we pick from the hat!

Maybe we’ll see YOU on our next trip to Flavortown.

Give Some Advice to the Class of 2021

Maybe it feels like yesterday for you, or maybe it feel like it was a million years ago, but I’m sure you can still vividly remember the feeling of moving into your first-year residence hall.

Were you excited? Terrified? Overwhelmed? So ready for your parents to leave you alone?

However you felt, there’s at least one new UVM-er moving in who feels the exact same way.

In just a week, the newest class of Catamounts are moving onto campus, and we’re collecting advice from alums like you, so we can share your wisdom to make their transition just a little bit easier.

Click through to give your advice and pass your insider UVM knowledge on to the next class! Your advice might even be featured on the Alumni Association social media feeds.

GOTP: The Secret Sauce to Budgeting and Saving

Today, we’re back with our first true post in the Get Off the Pile: Personal Finance Edition Series!

This post is all about budgeting and saving. Not the most thrilling subject, but doing it right can mean you have the ability to enjoy your days and nights, without dreading the next credit card statement or utility bill.

Thankfully, we got some advice from an expert some of you may know. Eric Hanson works at an investment firm in Burlington, and also teaches about personal finance at the Grossman School of Business here at UVM!

He was kind enough to answer some of our questions about budgeting. He laid out a few things to keep in mind, and a different way to think about budgeting:

“First of all, traditional budgeting is not really something many people can do. People can build a budget, but sticking to it is another thing entirely.

1. A better idea with budgeting is “pay yourself first”.  This means setting up a simple system of taking the important things out of your paycheck before you start spending.

This might include your retirement fund contribution, monthly rent payment, emergency fund savings, or student loan payments. Then you can shoe horn your expenses into what your take home pay is, rather than seeing the entire paycheck as available to spend. This is probably a more realistic approach for most people.

2. Live within your means.  This is not as easy as it sounds. Although it is probably not a scientific fact, I have found that many people are either spenders or savings.

If you are spender it is very hard to convince you to do any saving.  If you are a saver you will continue saving indefinitely. Most of us are neither extreme spenders or extreme savers but somewhere in the middle. This means there’s room for us to learn from our mistakes, and get better at saving as we grow.

3. Save as early and as much as you can. The secret sauce to saving early is compound interest.  This is the phenomenon of earning interest on interest.

Albert Einstein called this the most powerful force in the world and the earlier you get started saving, the more powerful compound interest is.

This means in your 401k plan, your 403b plan or whatever you have available.  Most people sign up for a small amount of withholding for retirement when they start working. Then five years later, if you ask them they can’t remember what they signed up for and they certainly are not saving to the maximum.

To start, you should at least save what the corporate match is (if you have one). This is free money and basically a 100% return on anything you contribute.  For instance if you put up 4% and the corporate match is 4%, you are saving 8% and you have a 100% return.

If you don’t have a match, just contribute something — even if it’s small — to get into the habit of saving and start cashing in on the power of compound interest.

4. Do not abuse credit.  There is no way you can possibly justify paying 15% to 25% on credit card balances.  You should pay off your credit card every month, period.

This is very difficult for young people because Madison Avenue is extremely good at convincing us any “want” we have is a real “need”.

There’s no worse way to blow-up your budget than to see credit card debt grow each month.

5. Get Insurance.  Young people need to remember that bad things can happen to good people.  Auto insurance, health insurance, and life insurance are important and in many cases the earlier you buy the cheaper the price.

If you can, build these into your budget — particularly if you can get health and life insurance through your employer because they can come directly out of your paycheck (see the “pay yourself first” paragraph above)

6. Start thinking about the future. Scary, I know. But, putting some money away that you don’t touch for a while is critical. Whether you want to save to buy a house, a car, or a trip, it usually takes planning and time — so get started!

For example, most young people are not going to accumulate enough savings for a down payment until they are at least in their 30’s, so it is good to set a goal and start now.

Or, if you aren’t a long-term planner, just stashing away some money each month for emergencies can be one of the best budgeting decisions you make.

Now, for some resources:

If you want to learn more you can check out these resources that Eric recommends.

  • If you want to go seriously in-depth, you can check out the textbook that Eric uses for his UVM course here. It’s pricey, but very comprehensive.
  • If you’re looking for something a little more fun than a textbook, you can check out The Index Card by Olen & Pollack. They set out to prove that everything you need to know about personal finance can fit on an index card!

And here are a few of our favorite resources here at Afterword:

Remember: This is big stuff, and can be pretty freaky to think about. Talking with Eric gave us a lot to think about in our own finances, and we all learned something new from his advice.

Mostly, he reminded us of a few important things:

  • Don’t be compulsive, but do have a plan.
  • Get involved in your community – volunteer!
  • Spend your money, that’s what it’s there for.

Okay gang, that’s all for this week. Let us know if you have any questions that you think we might be able to answer, or anything that you’d like us to pass on to Eric.

Have a great weekend!

 

Get Off the Pile: Survey Results!

Remember two weeks ago when you took a survey about personal finance for us?

We’re here to report back on the results, and take a look at what topics within the world of personal finance you all would like to learn more about!

So, Let’s check it out.

tl;dr: You all are interested in hearing more about the important stuff, like retirement funds, investing, and budgeting – Awesome!

The more we looked at these results, the more realized your interests boiled down to two thematic categories: Personal budgeting and Employee benefits.

A lot of you had suggestions on other topics for us to cover, and we’ll weave those in as well. First, we’re going to tackle some of these bigger topics, and then circle back to some of your suggestions.

In the meantime, we’ve reached out to our personal finance experts to get their input, including a professor here at UVM and an alum who is a professional financial advisor

We’re also collecting top-notch and easy-to-use resources from across the internet, so you’ll have access to all the personal finance information you could ever want!

Remember, we’re not experts at this either. So, we’re looking forward to learning about these things as much as you are!

Thanks for following along,

Kathryn ’15 and Ryan ’10