Monday, June 04, 2007

More Financial Advice That Misses the Point

In More Advice Graduates Don't Want to Hear, we learn that recent graduates should save more, learn to cook, find a partner for keeps, and skip the lattes. It seemed like decent advice to me, until the author started breaking down how much you should save with a recent graduate's salary of $40,000.

$40,000? I thought. That sounds like a lot for a recent graduate. But perhaps my opinion is just the result of working in publishing for so long. After six years at Houghotn Mifflin (and three years of teaching), I still wasn't paid that much. I concluded the cognitive dissonance I was experiencing was because of insularity (and low-wages) in publishing.

However, $40,000 isn't anywhere near the average starting salary for popular majors. For example, the average salary for a 2007 liberal arts graduate is $30,828. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers that reports all the starting salary data doesn't actually list any specific majors in liberal arts, sciences, or social sciences, just the business-related fields. So while a graduate in business administration might earn close to $40,000 ($39,850), it seems to me that the rest, based on previous years data, earn far less.

This reeks of Suze Orman. I would say that advice could be honed a bit to include ways to negotiate a starting salary closer to $40,000.