Friday, June 22, 2012

A few drinks?

This Drinking game looks like good clean fun for the refined college grad. What college grad doesn't love a little risky drinking. Click read more to see a great game for Friday night fun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Starting an Investment Portfolio

Investment Portfolios: Getting Started

The refined college graduate knows the hardest part about investing is getting started. In the first few months after graduation, the recent college graduate likely has little to no savings. Starting one step at a time is the best policy. This post will give some basic tips on the first (and hardest) steps.
This post will assume that the refined grad is already at least matching their company’s 401k plan, has paid off credit card debt and also is following the suggestions in the STUDENT LOANS post. If the refined grad does not have a company 401k (or any retirement plan) there is nothing to panic about just move to step one of this post.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two Great Books on Etiquette

We could all use a little more Etiquette. Here are two great books to get college grads where they need to be in social situations.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Personal Finance Budget Template

Refined college grads have asked me for various different templates they can use to track expenses and estimate debt payment.

Here is a budget template I use to track expenses and savings. I find this useful to check once a month to make sure goals are being met. I also highly recommend using to track all expenses and budget on a more daily basis.

Leave some comments so I know what all the refined college grads think.

Email me with questions at

Student Loans Templates for Download

Dear Refined Grads,

As requested here is a link to the Student Loans templates that can be downloaded (FO FREE!) to serve as a rough guide for paying off those student loans. Thank you for the suggestion!

Stay refined,


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Student Loans: How the refined college grad handles them

Student Loans: How the refined college grad handles them

Student loans can make or break graduate life after college. Student loans can be a source of constant worry and strife or seldom thought about. This post will go into what student loans are, how they work and how to manage them.

Four amazing years have come to a close. The books are sold or donated, final grades are in, the beer soaked rug is removed from the fraternity house and the first job is already lined up. One of the top comments of recent college graduates is: Now I will have Money! No more Ramen and Milwaukee’s Best Light (Ice for the real men). Now it will be all about Miller lite and steak (a ton of steak). There is one thing the typical college graduate is not thinking about that can come back to haunt them. Six months from graduation student loan bills will start arriving (if not enrolled in a graduate program). These are some of the most important bills a college graduate will have.   
The refined grad knows there are two main types of student loans private and federal. These loans are structured in similar ways and have similar payment terms. They are VASTLY different in the interest rates they hold though.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

5 Refined Grad Credit Cards

Credit Card pitfalls…

Credit Cards specifically credit card debt is the number one way young college graduates get themselves into trouble. They are suddenly thrust into the real world and need to buy lots of things (new apartment furniture, food, pay utility bills and rent and of course go to the bar). All these expenses add up and can soon swallow the grad in a mountain of debt (not including student loans).

Do not be afraid Credit Cards can be great….
The refined college graduate is not afraid of credit cards and instead sees their usefulness in tracking expenses, building good credit history and most important keeping their money safe. The refined college graduate has a recent credit report and knows their score. These can be obtained at The refined college graduate pays off the entire balance of their card every month. The refined college graduate does not have more than two cards (why waste time keeping track of all of them). The refined college graduate knows they look really cool at the bar in front of the ladies when they pay with plastic.  
There will be more posts on credit, credit history and debt but for now here our five great cards we have researched and tried.


Knows that 'it isn't what you make, It's what you keep' that matters #frugal #refinedcollegegrad #spending #money -- Refined College Grad (@RefinedGrad)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Getting the New Website Geared Up

The new website will be organized into different advice sections for easy navigation. New Post on good credit cards and credit card tips for young people coming soon.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Website in the works

The Refined College Graduate website is now being created...Stay tuned for updates.....

Eating right...(so you can drink more)

It is highly important for the refined college graduate to eat right. Eating healthy foods has many benefits.

  1. Looking good 
  2. Feeling good 
  3. Being able to drink more beer without thinking about the calories 
  4. Everyone at work commenting on how healthy you are 
Here is a picture of easy to make veggie pizza 
  1. Pita bread 
  2. Pizza sauce 
  3. Sauteed Veggies 
  4. Little bit of Cheese 
Know your fruit and veggie seasons...From Fast Company 

With so much healthy eating the refined college grad will need more space to store drinks. 

More healthy tips to come...

Finding Employment after College

The refined college graduate knows the steps it takes to find employment after college. Here are a few tips for landing a sweet job after the nonstop parties stop.
  • Start early! The refined graduate knows that the hiring process at most companies is slow. Starting the job search in the fall of senior year is the best bet. Below is a list to get the soon to be grad started right.
    • Make a Microsoft Excel (Microsoft Office 2011) list. Include: company, POC, date last contacted, phone, email, location and job title applied for. 
    • Spend an hour a day applying, following up with potential employers and researching. This will keep you in a good grove.
    • USE FAMILY NETWORKS! Not enough college grads use their family's to help them find jobs.  This can be a great way to get into a great position.
  • Use the internet and social media the right way. 
    • the refined grad has a linkedin account. This is a must. Linkedin 
    • Take down all the party posts, pictures and tweets (the grads that still have those up are either dumb or have low self esteem). 
    • The refined grad has a signature for email. 
  • Be Flexible and open. Many college grads think that their first job will be their last and hold out for that "perfect offer". The refined college grad knows that a job is what you make of it. The refined college graduate is also not afraid to look for jobs outside their major. 
  • Have a great looking resume and kill the interview. Let's face it most college grads really have little to no work experience. Employers know this. The refined college grad knows what they lack in experience they can make up for in style and intelligence.
    • Have a great looking resume. The college graduate has about 30 seconds at most to grab the recruiters attention. 
      • The refined college grad has their name front and center with the biggest accomplishments near the top. 
      • There is clear formatting and organization. 
      • A resume template with more details will be provided in a later post. 
    • Kill the interview.
      • For Men :Have a tailored black, navy or grey suit with a pressed white shirt and a sensible tie ready to go (think Mad Men just without all the sex, booze and smoking).
      • For Women: Have a business suit or formal business wear with simple jewelry. DO NOT WEAR anything revealing or short (this isn't a frat party).  
      • Bring copies of your resume (printed on nice paper). 
      • Bring a pen, a professional binder and gum. 
      • Make sure to leave the phone in the car. 
      • Visit the business the day before to see how long it takes to get there. 
      • Plan to Arrive 30 min early (it is okay to sit in the car for a few). 
      • Practice interviewing with friends and family. 
      • There will be a post later with more tips and tricks. 
  • Okay most college graduates wait until after they have graduated to start job hunting. There just is not time to look for employment when there are only a few college keg parties left. 
    • DO NOT PANIC! Way too many grads get into a panic mode and then get depressed and frustrated when they don't find a job right away. 
    • Make sure you have an up-to-date Linkedin and resume. 
    • Apply to a local Job Agency. Here is a quick yellow pages search in the D.C. area. 
      • They will take a hefty cut of pay but it is great experience and they find the job for the grad. 
    • If all else fails try starting a business. There is no better time than when you are young and energetic. 
      • More posts to follow on entrepreneurship.
This has been a quick overview for grads or soon to be grads on how to start the job search. There will be more posts after this. 


Sunday, June 3, 2012

You Tube

Great video on investing myths...

New Lens!

New Lens! Everything goes to charity!

New Digg!

Must Read Books

The refined college graduate knows that learning does not stop after college and reads at least one book a month.

This is a list of good books for the refined college graduate.
  1. This book is a great starter that covers just about every topic in personal finance. It is a must read for all refined college graduates who did not major in business, accounting or economics. This is the best book to start with because it makes finance easy to understand. After reading this book you will be a finance wiz. 
  2. This is a great read for all the entrepreneurial minded refined college graduates. This book will completely change the way the college graduate thinks about money. MJ DeMarco is brutally honest and motivates readers to start their own businesses.  
  3. A throwback classic. From one of the best investors ever, the former Fidelity fund manager Peter Lynch. Some of the information is a little dated but Peter has a no nonsense method of finding stocks. 
More books to follow but these are three great starters. 

Motley Fool

Check this out Motley Fool! Great investing advise...

Personal Finance Tips

Every refined college grad needs to have at least a basic understanding of personal finance. Here are some basics for grads fresh out of college.

1. Have a budget! Many college grads do not track their spending at all. There are a few simple tools all refined college graduates should use. The first is This is a great tool that not only lets the refined college graduate to set up a budget but also allows the graduate to track spending. For longer term bigger picture budgets try using a Microsoft office template. These templates are good for setting long term saving and wealth creation goals.

2. Contribute to your employers 401k plan. Many college graduates take months to set up  and enroll in their companies 401k plan. The refined college graduate knows that this is to be done in the first week of work. All refined college graduates know to contribute at least to the employers match. For example if the employer matches up to 6% then the grad should contribute 6% of their gross salary (if the grad gives 6% and the employer matches 6% that is 12% of the grads annual income) . There are very few investments that yield a 100% return immediately this is one of them.

3. Pay off credit and private student loans as quickly as possible. The refined college graduate pays off the entire balance of all their credit cards (at most two) every month. Credit card debt can ruin the financial future of the college graduate. The refined college graduate also pays down private student loans as quickly as possible because they typically hold a higher interest rate than federal loans.

4. Open a roth IRA! The refined college graduate understands the time value of money and knows that a 401k is only the first step in retirement planning. A roth IRA allows the graduate to grow wealth tax free after money is put into the account. The refined graduate understands that taxes and costs can devastate long term wealth creation. That is why the college graduate invests with brokerages that have low management fees and low expense ratios such as Vanguard . A roth IRA can also be set up on an online trading platform such as TD Ameritrade. There are other great brokerages but Vanguard is who we like. A roth IRA can be a key component of wealth creation and unlike an employer 401k plan the refined college graduate has unlimited choice in what they invest in.

5. Have a taxable investment account. 401k plans and roth IRAs are great for retirement planning but the refined college graduate knows that at some point (in the far off future) they will want to buy a house, get married maybe even have a kid. The refined college graduate knows at least the approximate costs of all of these big life expenses.

  •   Buying a house. Recommended 20% down is about $45,000 for the median American home and about $55,000 for the average American home, according to U.S. Census data. This is not inclusive of fees and other expanses (man cave decor and toys) associated with buying a home or the house warming party expanses (at least two kegs needed). 
  • Weddings cost a ton of money (especially with that open bar). The average American wedding cost is  over $27,000. The refined college graduate knows to not go into large amounts of debt with a wedding. 
  • Having a kid is not only a life changing decision but also is expensive. The refined college graduate wants to make sure that their kid has the best life possible. That means providing them with everything they need from birth through college and beyond. The refined college graduate begins planning for a child even before there is an inkling thought of having a child. A 529 plan is started right after college graduation. This allows the power of compound interest to start without the expense of taxes. The refined college graduate knows that once a child is born the cost varies across the U.S. and can be anywhere between $10,000-$17,000 per year. A good starting point is
The refined college graduate knows that a taxable investment portfolio is far better than simply dumping money into a savings of checking account for these goals. Most online trading platforms offer commission free trading of Exchange traded Funds (ETFs) that provide great diversification and low expenses. The benefits of investing in a well planned portfolio far outweigh the potential risks. 

All of these topics will be explored further in future posts. This is merely a starting point. For quick tips follow @refinedgrad on twitter. 


Facebook: The Refined College Graduate 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

So you are a graduate...

This blog is all about sensible advise for the recent college graduate. There is literally an infinite amount of material out there on how a college grad should act but there is little material out there that is realistic. Most of us are not ready to "settle down" yet. We still want to live it up but have also started thinking at least a little of the future (a very little bit). This is the perfect resource for a little of everything for the refined college graduate from personal finance to when beer pong is still appropriate. Just because college is over does not mean the fun is.

Follow us on twitter @refinedgrad .