Graduate with Excellent Credit: 5 Ways to Jump Start your Credit Score

Echo boomers are growing up in a difficult financial time.  Everywhere you turn, there are products and services to check your credit, monitor your credit, fix your credit.  Its for good reason too – your credit score is important.  If you want to buy a car, a house – or even rent an apartment – there is a good chance a credit check will be involved.

Credit Score MattersGeneration Y is exceptionally at risk.  The world has transformed into a colossal credit nightmare.  Add in the fact that majority of people are not taught about credit, loans, and financial details while under the impression that obtaining a college education can land you a lofty salary, and you have a recipe for disaster.  Don’t fall into a bad credit score trap. Be responsible, follow a few simple steps, and you can jump start your credit to make it easier to get that first job, that first car, and that first apartment.

First off, what is important when obtaining credit?  To keep things short and sweet:

  • Payment history – do you pay on time?
  • Credit history – how long have you had credit?
  • Debt ratio – how much debt do you have?

So lets take a look at a few tips on how to start out establishing the above:

1. Find a store or gas station that you frequently buy stuff from with cash or credit and get a credit card. Department store credit cards and gas station credit cards are easy to get.  Do not go overboard using them.  Use them responsibly.  If you typically pay for gas once every two weeks with cash at the same gas station, maybe get a credit card from that gas station and pay off the balance in full every month.  This builds history and shows that you can pay bills on time.  Alternatively, you could look into entry level credit cards aimed towards college students.  Just be careful not to abuse it.

2. Be a cosigner. While not all of us receive cars for our sixteenth birthday, there is a good chance your parents make car payments.  It involves a little effort on their part, but you could be added as a co-signer/co-owner of the vehicle, or a co-signer on a credit card.  This is beneficial to you because it establishes credit history, shows you can pay bills on time (even though your parents do it), and also associates your parent’s score with your own.  However, this would not be a good idea if your parents credit score is bad.

3. Stick with what you’ve got and develop a routine. Once you start settling in and gaining some credit momentum, try not to do anything that jeopardizes it.  Actions such as closing your credit card accounts, switching addresses, changing jobs, and opening new lines of credit can jeopardize your score.  The more routine you get – have a credit card, use it, work, get paid, pay bills on time – the better off you are.

4. Keep it under control. While it is easy for us to take advantage of free money, keep in mind that you have to repay the money you borrow.  Not only that, but interest rates are designed to make money off your bad habits.  Its best to use it conservatively.  Aim to keep your balance at no more than 10% of your credit limit and try not to open too many credit accounts.

5. Safeguard your name and credit score. Never put yourself in a situation where you can be reported as a delinquent payer.  Pay your bills on time, safeguard your identity, and clarify any credit issues.  Be wary of signing up for programs that monitor your credit, but you can use free services that allow you to see if you have been reported for being delinquent.  Make sure to address any instances against your name.

While this may not achieve the best score, it will get your credit score off to a nice start as well as help you develop some good credit habits.  Further down the line this will benefit you in many ways.  Not only could it help you pass a background check for a potential employer or be accepted as a tenant in an apartment, but it can also land you a nice interest rate on a car or a home.

Gen Y Won’t Fix the Housing Market

The lack of confidence in the US real estate industry is apparent across the entire country.  Even recession proof areas such as Washington DC are experiencing some slowdown.  Some analysts have placed faith on Gen Y, the echo boomers, to be the saving grace of the market.

Gen Y has close to 80 million in population which makes up a little more than a quarter of the total population.  They are coming of age to be prospective real estate owners as well.  Will they be the fuel for the next real estate boom?  Don’t count on it.

Unlike previous generations, the millennials have a different set of issues, priorities, and lifestyle choices that may delay their entrance into the real estate market, causing the hopeful recovery of the housing market to be a bit further down the road.

Unlike previous generations, Gen Y is starting with an increased amount of debt.  College tuition costs around $7000-$26000 a year not including books, housing, and other bills, placing many of our young professionals in surmounting debt.  The average college graduate is graduating with $20,000 debt for tuition and $3000 on the credit card, with some racking up close to, if not surpassing $100k for a bachelors.

HouseFor some graduates, this amount of debt is offset by satisfying salaries averaging in the low $50k/year range, but they are also concentrated in high cost of living areas such as Washington DC, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, etc where average home prices are easily a quarter million or more.

Obviously these homes are priced for couples and not really the young urban professional, and with marriage rates at a low, and divorce rates common, it might make more financial sense to echo boomers to rent instead of buy.  These potential buyers are doing well in an otherwise struggling economy, but not with the type of purchasing power to enter the real estate market.  Many are finding it more beneficial to rent, pay down debt, and/or live the high life with iPhones, car payments, and stashing money in a 401k than to consider real estate.

Don’t worry though – the echo boomers will eventually look to buy after paying down debt, settling down with a significant other, getting a few promotions, and coming up with the money for the increasingly difficult down deposit.  Just don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.

Ask an Echo Boomer

We have added a new page and forum topic to the site that allows the public to ask questions to be answered by someone from Gen Y.  If you have a question (example, “why do echo boomers like iPod and iPhones so much” or “what can my company do to retain Generation Y employees”), this is the place to ask it HERE.  We will be answering all valid questions publicly on the blog.  Now is the time to clear up any questions – and best of all, its a FREE service.

Not only can you ask it HERE, but you can also visit the topic in the General Chat portion of the forums, or navigate to it in the tab titled “Ask an Echo Boomer” located above.

Gen Y: What is Most Important in Life?

This poll is to judge what is important in life for Gen Y.  Is Generation Y more relaxed, ambitious, greedy, egotistical, or just plain balanced?  Please feel free to cast your vote if you are from Gen Y (born in 80s and 90s), comment, or join the discussion in the forum on why you chose your answer.  Please respect the integrity of the poll and do not vote if you are not a millenial.  Feel free to join in discussion though!

What is most important in life?

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Generation Y: Assertive with High Standards in the Workplace

While some have dubbed Generation Y as being lazy with a sense of self-entitlement, these are just misunderstandings and baseless generalizations made by older generations.  From the Millennials point of view, the world is held to a high set of standards which is inherited perspective passed down from the parents and reinforced by society’s culture.

Gen Y in the workplaceThis includes everything from personal belongings to workplace environment.  It isn’t uncommon for an echo boomer to want to listen to headphones while he or she works or work flexible hours.  While some may see this as a sign of insubordination and poor work ethic, the fact is the music can make the employee more efficient, and flexible work hours improves work/life balance, which creates a happier, more productive worker, and raises the (falling) employee retention issue.

As shown in the TIME article (link), Generation Y wants investment.  They don’t want to be corporate drones and want to be appreciated as individuals.  Corporations that invest in their employees by providing training, apprenticeship, assistance for further education, work/life balance and a wealth of opportunities are likely to succeed with Generation Y.  They want to be treated like an asset that can evolve into a company poster child rather than a cog in a wheel.  They don’t want to fight their way up the corporate ladder – they want to be encouraged up the ladder through experience, education, networking, and manager/employee apprenticeships.

In the mind of echo boomer, established rules are not meant to go unquestioned especially if they don’t make sense.  If there is reasoning to bend, break, or redefine traditional rules, then let’s design the system to make sense.  It just may be the defining factor in generation Y’s rise to power.  When Generation Y does find themselves in positions of power, they will most likely be interested in reforming the economic, political, and societal landscape… which is a good thing especially for Generation Z who takes the “special snowflake” mindset to the next level.

Why is generation Y so open minded, assertive and confrontational to conventional values?  Other than growing up in divorced families, the end of the cold war, paranoia in school security, and xenophobia towards terrorists due to 9/11, the most influential item in their lifetime was the rise and maturing of the internet.  Pioneering this infinite amount of information without guidance gave this entire generation a different outlook on the world.  It gave them information without structure and let them make sense of it.  This independent mindset into the unknown carried over into their personal lives.  It gave them the mindset, we don’t have to settle for the way things are.  We can challenge it, re-order the world, and make it a better place.

So, how can we sum up Generation Y in the workplace?  They are hard working and more importantly, highly efficient, but with high standards.  Don’t discredit them as prima donnas though – they are quite capable, bright, and their innovative thinking may be more of a benefit than a weakness.  That is, if you know how to cultivate it.  Those who are satisfied with the status quo… well, they may be threatened by Generation Y and probably for good reasons.

Date/Age Range of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y

Here is the date range comparison between these 3 generations.  Note that the start and end date are debatable.  As I said in a previous post, generations don’t end with black and white borders.  They fade into one another, so you will see an overlap of age.  Without further adieu, here are the ranges:

Generation Timeline

Baby Boomers: 1946~1953 to 1964

This would make baby boomers, in the year 2010, somewhere in the ballpark of 46-64 years old.

Gen X: 1965 to 1976~1982

This would make generation X, in the year 2010, somewhere in the ballpark of 28-45 years old.

Gen Y: 1977~1982 to 1995~2001

This would make generation Y, in the year 2010, somewhere in the ballpark of 9-33 years old.

For the most part, Generation Y are the children of the Baby Boomers, and in some cases, grandchildren.  This is due to them being around their prime reproductive years during the 1980s (the last baby boomers turned 18 in 1982).  Thus, the echo boomers being a surge in population as an echo of the baby boomer post-war boom.

What generation do you identify with?

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Are You an Echo Boomer?

Generational gaps do not have black and white borders but a shaded gray area.  The baby boomers, for example, started sometime between the time frame of 1946 and 1953 and ending sometime around 1964.  Being the children and grandchildren of the baby boomer generation, the echo boomers, started sometime around 1977-1982 and lasting until 1995-2000 as an “echo” of the baby boom, post-war peak.

Generation YAlso known as Generation Y, the Next Generation, the Net Generation, the Millennial Generation, and the Millennials, echo boomers grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, being the generation that stretched into the new millennium.  Some of the historical events that highlight this generation were the fall of the Berlin wall, the Gulf War, the rise and maturing of the Internet, Columbine, fears of Y2K, and 9/11.

Some of the issues that this generation faced were the growing diagnoses of ADHD, childhood obesity, prevalence of parents having divorce, school shootings, and widespread drug and alcohol abuse (although some studies have shown that alcohol, drug, and divorce rates have been dropping in recent years).

Some of the more iconic (positive) trends of the echo boomers are the rising use of technology, the growing availability of media, the freedom of information, social networking, socially liberal attitudes, optimistic attitudes of inherited problems (pollution, divorce, drugs, war/politics, economy, etc), tolerance of cultures and race, and a strong belief in teamwork and community.

Generation Y has already entered the workplace and is shaking the status quo.  They have been known to be ambitious and efficient leaving some with the impressions of entitlement and laziness.  Some of these assumptions are misunderstood due to Generation Y’s high expectations and ability to multi-task with ease.  Echo boomers in many cases have limited loyalty to employers and seek out comfortable working environments, fair pay, and benefits.

Some iconic cultural references include: Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, Batman, Pogs, Nerf guns, Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies, Tamagotchis, Furbies, Yo-Yos, pop music (boy bands, girl bands, Britney Spears), re-release of Star Wars, Power Rangers, Seinfeld, Pokemon, Simpsons, and the birth of Reality TV.

What political view do you affiliate with?

We are kicking off the content of the site with a political poll. Feel free to cast your vote. Please keep in mind this is for generation Y voters only. Please respect the integrity and anonymity of the poll.

What is your political view?

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Hello world!

TheEchoBoom has gone live as of Saturday, September 18th, 2010.

Currently, we are messing around with styling, formatting, and overall layout.  We are also looking into our forum options and how that will integrate into the main site.  We are hoping to have a working blog, forum, and polls by the end of the week.  We are aiming to jump start content as well by posting lots of polls, starter thread topics, forum rules and stickies, as well as blog content helping further define Generation Y.

Please stay tuned for more content.