Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trying not to be a pain in the neck.

My little brother has his very first job, working part-time as a cook at the pizzeria where my mom is assistant manager. After his half-hearted efforts to find a job last summer failed, we were all a bit worried, but he's getting good reviews from my mom's coworkers so far so it looks like he'll do well and gain experience that will help when he applies for other jobs.

He'll be doing that soon because he's decided to defer his scholarships and take next year off from school. He spent the first two years teetering on the brink of losing his biggest scholarship by not maintaining a 3.25 gpa, and he still has no concrete plan for a major so a year working in the real world may provide some much needed perspective. However, not having a scholarship that pays his living expenses means he needs to find enough work to pay rent. He may find a cheaper place by rooming with a friend, but he's pretty adamant about not living with our parents. (After a mere week at home, I completely understand.)

Even though my brother and I have very different approaches when it comes to money, he's managed to avoid the major mistakes that snare so many college students. He has no debt and a bit of savings. My brother does grasp the importance of accumulating money, and if he can just keep his impulse to buy every new tech toy reasonably well in check, he might end up in ok financial shape.

I'm trying to figure out how to offer a bit of guidance without annoying him. Lecturing or nagging would be counterproductive, but we've always been very open about money so it's fairly natural to mention, "Hey, I opened a Roth today. Now that you're earning income you can start one yourself if you have a little money you're able to set aside for retirement. Here's a pretty good option you can start with $50 a month that you might want to consider."

Would it be reasonable to give him a personal finance book as well? I don't want to force advice down his throat, but I do want to give him resources and encouragement to make good decisions that will make his life easier later on. I like The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, but it might not appeal to my brother. Do you have any recommendations for a good book for a twenty year old starting out?


Gypsie said...

I highly recommend Suze Orman's Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke. It breaks it down into sections and isnt a read through. It was designed to skip around and read what applies to you. I read it cover to cover and recommend it to a lot of people.

Ms. MiniDucky said...

Perhaps David Bach's "Automatic Millionaire"? His writing is accessible and I think it's general enough that your brother will find tips and philosophies he can incorporate into his life painlessly.