Help Gertrude out!

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One of my favorite parts about having a blog is getting reader mail. I love when people ask questions. Not because I think I can provide some incredibly insightful advise, but it affirms that people value my opinion. Instead of me directly responding to the following email, I figured I’d post it up here and we can all help her out. After all, 20 opinions are better than one….right? Here’s the email…

I graduated in 2005 with a BA in psychology and realized I did not want to go into working in counseling. Now I am unsure what to do as I have spent the last 4 years in a couple of dead end jobs: customer service, travel industry, waitress and bartender. I have no idea where to even begin. It is too late for me to take internships and I have no way of knowing if I sign up for graduate school if I will like the job in the end. I am thinking of HR management or international relations, as I would like to one day work for the foreign service, however knowing how hard it is to get in, I would be happy in HR in a government position. It is just so frustrating to find oneself with a college degree and no qualifications to do anything but wait tables or be a customer service rep. Any advice is appreciated.

-Gertrude

Well thanks Gertrude for a delicious piece of humble pie. Last week I wrote an article about my quarter-life crisis, but after reading Gerdies E-mail, realized I need to be darn thankful for the position I have. Anyways, on to my thoughts…

Gertrude, I think it’s important to not limit yourself because of your degree. I too received a degree in Psychology, but don’t really use it in my position. Don’t limit your career choices because of the degree you received. Upwards of 50% of college grads work in a field unrelated to their course of study. If you want to work in HR, pursue HR. If you want to be a trapeze artists, join a circus. You can’t change your degree, but you can certainly change your career.

Turn what could be seen as a negative situation and make it positive. Maybe you haven’t held steady employment over the last couple years, but explain to your potential employers what you DID learn and how you grew from your part-time employment. Make yourself stand out, be positive, and be confident.

I wouldn’t recommend graduate school for you, primarily because you’re not 100% sure that’s what you want to do. Grad school is a HUGE decision and can cost a pretty penny. Remember, holding a degree, masters, or PhD doesn’t guarantee income….ever. The worst thing you could do for yourself is get a masters in a field you end up hating, be $50K in debt, and another 2-3 years behind on work experience. Hold off on the grad school for now, until you get a better idea of exactly what you want to be doing.

If you want to work for the government in an HR capacity go to USAJobs.gov and start applying. That is where 99% of all federal positions are listed. Lastly, apply for EVERY job you want, even if you think you’re under-qualified. The wost thing the company could do is tell you “No.” which is not that bad in my opinion. If you are applying to positions you truly want,  it only takes one offer to change your life.

That’s my $0.02 for Gertrude (by the way that is a fake name I made up for her). Now it’s your turn to throw down some comment love and help a girl out. What do you do if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, but you’re already an adult?

*feel free to shoot me an email if you got a question*

Wells Fargo or Redneck Bank…Do you know which bank is backed by the FDIC??

The answer to this question… BOTH.
I got my blogs first question from a pretty cool dude named Jeremy.

He asks….

I read your post about getting a better rate on my savings account . Makes sense, but how can one verify that the bank is legitimate? I’d rather not just throw money at somewhere I’m not sure of.

-Jeremy

PS Wachovia has really been making me angry with their tiny savings rates. Before I started to be so disgusted with them I had quite a bit of money in their bank. Makes me wonder how much money you have to have in there to get some respect.

A valid question for sure, and one I didn’t address is my previous post about online savings accounts. So how can one go about making sure their hard earned cash is safe?

The most important thing to look at, when selecting what bank you want to hold your savings account with, is verification that “bank x” is backed by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). Essentially, being backed by the FDIC means if bank x sucks at doing their job and they can’t afford to give you back your money, Uncle Sam will pay you back instead. If you put $10K in the bank and six months later they pull a WaMu, you will get all $10K back from the fed. I can’t stress this enough, being backed my the FDIC is uber important!

Do not sign up with a bank just because they have a phenomenal interest rate – chances are, if their interest is WAAAAY above competitors something fishy is going on -. If you put $10K in a bank that is not backed by the FDIC and that bank fails, then you are, how do we say… SCREWED! You probably will end up losing all of your hard earned money. Most banks advertise on their home page if they are FDIC insured (they know it is a huge selling point). If you have any doubts that the institution your looking in to may not be, you can always go here and verify.
As far as the interest rates go, I feel ya on getting some pretty crappy rates right now. When I opened my Countrywide Online Savings account I was earning a little over 3% on my money, less than a year later I’m earning a dismal 1.6%. I personally don’t chase interest rates. Sure there are banks out there that have better rates than mine, but it is hardly enough for me to go through the hassle of managing yet another account.

For example, say Joe Six Pack puts $20K in to a Countrywide account tomorrow and lets it sit for one year at 1.6%. At the end of the year Mr. Six Pack’s account balance would be $20,320. If you took that same $20K and put it Zions Bank (currently at 2.15% interest) and let it sit for one year, your balance would be $20,430. The Zions account earned you an extra $110 over the course of the year. For some, that extra $110 may be worth chasing, and if so good for them. Personally, I prefer picking a relatively solid performer and sticking with it (unless its rates are SEVERELY lower). I initially signed up with Zions Bank because they offered one of the highest interest rates in the country, but when I found out I had to physically mail in my deposits I quickly said “Peace Out Zions” (I prefer to do everything electronically).

As the title of this posts alludes, Redneck Bank is, as far as my research has shown, legitimately backed by the FDIC and a subsidiary of The Bank of the Witchitas. Although their 3.1% offer is enticing, I’ll stick to my countrywide account for now.

Anyone else have any interesting insight in to the online savings accounts?

Keep on saving!