Money Matters

Millennials: Here’s How to Save and Invest When After College

Tanisha A. Sykes, Special for USA TODAY

Ever since she was a little girl, Kate Strauss says she heard Hollywood calling her name.

“I’ve always wanted to act and write, so after college, I moved to L.A.,” says Strauss, a comical, bubbly Millennial living her dream.

After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2014 with a degree in acting, Strauss hopped the first flight to Calfornia. .

While pursuing acting, she’s also taken on production jobs “because they’re fun, and I’m learning a lot,” she says.

The work is also keeping her afloat financially. “On a production job, I can make up to $3,500 a month after taxes,” Strauss, 24, explains.

Her income sounds cushy for a recent grad with less than $1,000 in student loan debt. But as a freelancer, her take-home pay can dip to $1,500 a month. She may have an acting or production gig for a time, followed by a waitress job, she says.

“Honestly, I’m living month to month,” says Strauss, whose bills include rent, food, cell phone, and car and health insurance. The rent is manageable at $850, but Strauss also spends $400 to $600 a month to buy organic groceries, and another $100 per month for personal upkeep, including salon appointments for her hair, nails and eyebrows. It sounds so L.A., but Strauss says, “It’s the cost of doing business as an actress.”

Still, she’s tried to cut back. “I cancelled out my gym and yoga memberships, rarely eat out, and drink coffee at home instead of buying lattes,” she says. For emergencies, like recently needing new tires for her 2008 Toyota Camry, Strauss’ mom helps out.

For now, saving and investing aren’t happening.

“I don’t invest because I literally don’t have any extra money,” she says. “But I’ve been listening to business guru Tony Robbins, so once I can afford to, I plan to invest.”


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