Practicality Or Passions

“Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

It’s often said if we do what we love, we’ll never have to work another day in our life. Yet, is that completely true? While we may love what we do, will we love who we do it for? Where we do it? How we are doing it? How much we get paid to do it? Will we love it forever? How do we know what we love today, will be something we are so passionate about in five, ten, fifteen or twenty five years? Do you truly believe that if you got a job doing what you love at 25, you’ll be in the same career when you retire (hopefully) at 65? The fact is we most likely have no idea what we will love to do the rest of our lives. Yet, as children, we are given the impression that we should follow our dreams and pursue something that we love. Unfortunately, this viewpoint can cost us a lot of wasted time, opportunity and debt. Is it worth taking on $100,000 worth of debt in student loans for something you think you love only to find out you can’t get a job doing it or discover that it isn’t something you liked as much as you expected?

 

Quite frankly, while we are told by educators and our schools that all degrees are valuable and you can get a multitude of jobs with any degree, the “real world” doesn’t work that way. In fact, I would argue, there are very specific paths most of us should follow in order to reduce our debt, maximize our time, and give us ample opportunities to succeed. Let’s discuss college first, as that is what a majority of high school graduates do afterwards. STEMM is science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. These career paths will bring you a plethora of opportunities at the cost of plenty of hard work up front, and potentially a lot of debt without scholarships and or grants etc. Also, just deciding to major in one of these paths won’t automatically result in a job. Certain degrees in science are in higher demand than others and not everyone who majors in engineering may be guaranteed work. If you live in Rhode Island and don’t plan on moving away, would there be a point in majoring in Petroleum Engineering?

 

Let us jump over to the liberal arts side of things. I would argue, that unless you have a specific desire to pursue a liberal arts career, do not focus on these degrees. In other words, if you want to study Anthropology, then know in advance where your opportunities may lie, such as field work studying primates, working in a museum or teaching. Don’t study anthropology with the notion that you can always get a job as a Business Analyst. If that’s your plan, then just pick a business concentration and study that. If a hiring manager for a Business Analyst position has to choose between two similar resumes but one candidate has a degree in Anthropology and the other in Business Process Management, who do you think they will go with?

 

Likewise, unless you want to be a historian, a history teacher, or a historical author and have a plan to make these things a reality, maybe consider a different major than just history. Philosophy is another possible example. Unless you want to become a Doctor of Philosophy and work in a university, this major might not be for you. If you choose philosophy and figure you can always get a job as a some sort of business relations manager- think again. Just study business management and save yourself the time from the start ensuring that the debt you may accrue will have greater potential value.

 

Again, there is nothing wrong with choosing a liberal arts degree, but don’t choose one just because it’s something you love to do, with the false belief you can always “get a job in business.” College is an expensive investment and with high expenses comes practicality. This is the biggest financial decision of your life being made before you are even 20 years old. By putting practicality ahead of your passions you may see greater potential in your career along with less stress, job security and favorable financial health.

 

Remember, you can always keep your passions while going through school. Just because you love playing an instrument, doesn’t mean you have to stop. If you love to write, there is no reason why you can’t keep writing (maybe start a blog??). If you enjoy being active then keep staying active. It’s good to dream big and see into the future, but don’t forget about what’s happening right in front of you. Remember, college is not for everyone. Plenty of jobs are available by learning a trade or even joining the military. A high skilled tradesman can live just as well as any college graduate while being in just as much if not more demand for their skills. This spans everything from plumbing, electrical, carpentry, mechanics, HVAC, iron workers and so forth. The military has hundreds of career paths you can follow to learn a myriad of important skills both technically and socially. Even better, they will usually pay for your schooling!

 

The explosion of college, doesn’t make hands on work any less important. Only more important! If you are going to college, my ultimate advice to you is simple; Remember to choose a degree that will afford you as much opportunity as you can get. In the end, you will be able to buy your time to do the things you truly love to do. What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think practicality needs to be set ahead of passion? Or do you think there is a healthy combination of how both can be achieved? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Three Reasons Why You Should Substitute Your Master’s Degree For A Real Estate License

“There is no more profitable investment than investing in yourself. It is the best investment you can make; you can never go wrong with it. It is the true way to improve yourself to be the best version of you and lets you be able to best serve those around you.”– Roy T. Bennett

 

Ah, Spring is here and as usual the creativity is running through The Thrive Vine. Today’s topic is near and dear to me; mostly because this is the approach I took with my educational journey. I racked my brain for years wondering if I should go for my Master’s Degree (who knows someday I still might) but in the short term I opted for the not so conventional substitute of getting my Real Estate License.

 

Overall, getting my license has paid off. In my best year so far I was able to make 32k in commissions while working part time as an agent (if anyone wants to know more about how I did this I can certainly write a blog on this). Being in real estate has been a really fun and exciting path, and I think both short term and long term it has been a better investment than going for my Masters would have been.

 

Usually when I talk about getting a real estate license most people out the gate protest “I don’t want to sell real estate” or “I’m not a good salesperson” well that’s perfect! Because in today’s blog I’m going to explain why getting your real estate license isn’t just for selling houses, it’s just down right a more practical decision than going for a Master’s Degree. Here are three reasons why you should substitute your Master’s Degree for a Real Estate License:

 

Practicality –  In the opening of this blog I mentioned that getting your Real Estate License is more practical than getting a Master’s Degree. Why do I feel this way? Because whether you are going to be a homeowner or renter I’m about 100% positive you’ll want to know what your contract/lease means. We have to look at buying a home as being one of the biggest financial decisions of our lives (aside from college) and just having the knowledge of different types of loans, the options you have, and how the process works is beyond beneficial. You’ll never have to worry if someone is looking out for your best interest; because you’ll have the tools necessary to do so.

 

Supplement Your B.A – When driving myself crazy about whether to go for my Master’s Degree or not I started to ask myself some introspective questions, such as: What will a Master’s Degree do for me? Is it worth going into more debt? (this was a big one for me) and possibly what is my goal in my career? The answers to these questions I still have with me today.

 

I believe for most, a Master’s Degree ultimately means a larger potential salary, faster career advancement, and makes you certainly more marketable to employers down the road. Yet when I thought about it; these same qualities are what a Bachelor’s Degree was supposed to accomplish 20 years ago. So 20 years after I receive my Master’s Degree, would it be obsolete? More importantly, would I be obsolete? Could I be dispensable by a younger generation coming out of school with PHds? All of these questions came in to play and aided my decision. Instead of spending the tens of thousands of dollars on a Master’s Degree I went towards my Real Estate License, which including books and a 2 week class, was a  total of a thousand dollars.

 

When thinking about pursuing a real estate license many people assume you need to sell real estate. Although that’s what it’s most commonly used for, you can also use the credential to supplement your Bachelor’s Degree. How you might ask? Well think about real estate development companies, commercial real estate investors, property management companies, real estate investment trusts, even healthcare such as senior living companies, etc… any company or non profit that wants to expand, has a targeted demographic, and wants the best success for their business will have a need for someone who knows real estate.

 

Personal ROI – I lastly wanted to talk a little bit about Personal ROI (return on investment) between a Masters Degree and a Real Estate License. Let’s look at some numbers: Say you spend 20k on a Master’s Degree and get a job for about 70k-80k, if you have industry experience, or possibly 50k-60k if you don’t have any industry experience and just your Master’s Degree. If you’re coming out of school with debt, you won’t see the full return on your investment until you pay off your debt completely. On the other hand, real estate offers different kinds of Personal ROI. Keep in mind your total investment of your license is about a thousand dollars; so even if you sell one home you’ve made your money back on your initial investment.

 

But say you don’t want to sell houses, or choose to not, use a real estate license to supplement your career. Then how does getting a real estate license make sense? The answer is investing. Simply put, if I didn’t have my real estate license I probably wouldn’t have gotten into real estate investing as fast as I did. It was because of my real estate license that I was able to see properties that hit the market first, meet mortgage lenders and get great rates on my personal mortgages, and additionally meet wonderful people and form relationships along the way. As I’m sure you can tell, I feel getting a real estate license has the potential to have tremendous Personal ROI.

 

Conclusion – This blog admittedly a tad biased in favor of substituting a Master’s Degree for a Real Estate License. My goal here is not to deter anyone from pursuing their Masters, but really bring awareness in making a conscious effort to explore what additional credentials will do for you, and most importantly is it worth the debt you’ll take on. Furthermore think about your personal ROI, and hopefully, the joy and personal fulfillment a Master’s Degree might bring to you.

 

I sincerely believe having a real estate license is such a useful tool, to not only build wealth; but make connections and form relationships as well. What do you think? What does a Master’s Degree mean to you? Would you ever consider getting a real estate license? Let us know in the comments below!

How Debt Can Set You Up For Financial Success

 

 

 

“I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.” – Stephenie Meyer

 

Usually the words debt and financial success are never used together, nevermind in the same blog title. Yet, I wanted to write a blog about what I learned from being in debt and the biggest lessons and habits that helped me. While being in debt is certainly something most financial professionals (and me) would never advise, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel; and there are some life changing lessons to be learned by being in debt and getting out of it. Without further adieu here is how debt can set you up for financial success:

 

The Background Story – Back in 2011 I was the ripe old age of 22 and fresh out of college. My total student loan debt was a mere 45k;  childsplay compared to what many college graduates face today. Yet, as they say, timing is everything and after graduating just 3 years post the Financial Meltdown, the unemployment rate was 9%; which really sucked. After getting off to a rough start in the job market I found myself with two bachelor degrees working for $12.00/hr; not exactly what I was envisioning. However, it didn’t really matter how much I was making, I had 45k to start paying off.

 

The Habits –  I’ve always been a pretty frugal person so having enough money to pay off the monthly statement on my student loans really wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t until I started understanding interest rates that I was able to step up my game and start aggressively paying down my debt. Soon every spare penny I had went towards those loans and I eventually paid off the 45k in about a year and a half, thanks to $12.00/hr and more overtime hours than anyone would need in a lifetime.

 

Although most would say paying down the loans was a great accomplishment; it wasn’t until the debt was satisfied that I realized the habits formed by repaying my debt were attributing to my financial journey and success. If you’ve made it this far, you might be asking “what the hell is this guy talking about!?” Stay with me..

 

You see, it hit me that when you are actively paying back debt you are always on a budget; afterall, you know that you have a loan payment coming up and will budget your finances appropriately to make that payment. However when you pay that loan or debt off, you still have the power to put away money as if you were still paying off your debt. For example, say after you pay off your debt you continue to allocate that loan payment in your savings account or a retirement account.

 

By formulating this habit, you learn the art of not only saving but paying yourself first. Paying yourself first is really one of the most important rules of personal finance. It’s important to not increase your expenses by spending your money on expensive lunches and nights out at the bar everyday; but take that extra money and invest in yourself and your future.

 

Credit – Another way that debt has the potential to increase your financial success is through your credit. I remember after paying back my student loans my credit score soared to over 800. What did this do for me? It was because of a good credit score that allowed me to lock in a stellar 3.3 percent interest rate on my first duplex; without question this wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t set up by the habits that were created by paying off my debt.

Conclusion – Not very often will you hear to appreciate debt. However, when the habits used to pay back debt are used towards savings and investing; financial success is almost inevitable. What do you think? Do you think the habits caused by debt can later help you on your financial journey? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Tips On How You Can Manage Your Student Debt Today

“Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you keep.” -Robert T. Kiyosaki

 

It’s time for us to have a heart to heart. One of my goals for this site is for it to become a complete resource for development. From career advice, to landing the job, to creating wealth. Today’s lesson: Debt. If you’re reading this I know you have some interest in getting out of debt but maybe aren’t sure how, or are so overcome with the balance of your debt that it might not even seem like it’s worth it. Just a little background, I was able to pay off all my student loans (about 45k) by 24 by just making $12.00/hr. I won’t lie, it was alot of hard work and strategy, but paying off student debt has put me in a really good position to accomplish my goal of financial freedom by 35. Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips on how you can manage your student debt today:

 

Start from the beginning – This might seem like an obvious place to start but it is oh so important. With student debt it’s really important to know and understand what you’re getting into. The issue is that you’re only 18 when you make one of the biggest financial decisions/investments of your life (#brokensystem). Student debt is incredibly interesting, many times what university or college you attend might not matter as much as you think it would when it comes time to start your career. If you are in the position where you are picking a college or thinking of going back to college, really weigh the return you might see from having a college degree with the debt you’ll be taking on. Furthermore think if you’d like to commute or dorm. I get the whole “college experience” thing and being away from home; but is it worth the extra 25k in tuition? Weigh your options carefully; you’ll be dealing with your decisions later in life.

 

Loan Consolidation – For many of us the “damage” is already done. I personally know I had a terrible return on my education first coming out of college. My debt was 45k and I came out making 12.00/hr or approximately 24k a year. For New Jersey, that really sucked. So how did I pay off those damn loans? First step, loan consolidation. After you graduate you might have 4-5 different loans floating around all with different interest rates. Take as many loans as you can and try to consolidate them under one interest rate. There are services such as So-Fi and Earnest that actually specialize in this; we have links to these sites on our resources page. By getting most of your loans under one interest rate you should save not only time, but a ton of money.

 

Get Aggressive – I have a really weird relationship with Money. I hate losing it, and spending it on stuff I won’t see a good return on; so college wasn’t exactly on my good side. I literally wanted to beat the proverbial snot out of my loans. How did I do this? Every month I’d get a statement, and every statement I’d give them a few hundred dollars more than what they asked for. Listen up, this is the big secret behind any debt: They get you with the interest rates. If you only make minimum payments you will be losing money every time you pay, even if your interest rate is low. The key is for you to feed that loan money until the interest rate no longer matters, and your payments are being applied solely to the principle of the loan. For example say your lender asks for $500/mo, give them $1,000.00 or $1500.00. Even if it’s $750 it’s still better than just paying the minimum balance.

 

Get Hustling – When I finally landed a fulltime job I remember being so relieved. I literally thought my work was done. I found a job, I spend 40 hours a week there, I then get to go home and play with my cat. I was crazy wrong. I’ve talked with so many graduates over the year whose salaries don’t justify their debt. (example 200k in debt vs 50k salary) Their full time jobs can’t support their debt never mind their lifestyle and cost of living. So what are they supposed to do? I honestly hate Math, but the one thing I like about it is that it’s very cut and dry. Sometimes there simply isn’t enough money, so you need to create money. How do you do that? You either pick up overtime at the current position you’re in, or you find a side hustle to make extra money to put towards your loans. In my instance I worked 50-60 hour weeks picking up any overtime I could for probably about a year and half to two full years; was it hard? Hell yea it was hard, but I was able to pay down my debt super fast and you learn to be grateful for the opportunity. So what are examples of some side hustles? You can pick up a part time job aside from your full time job, get your real estate license, give lessons on anything you are good at ex: guitar lessons, math tutoring, any bonuses you see from your full time job put towards your loans etc..,… If you get hustling you will be able to pay down your debt. no doubt about it

 

Saving Money Is The Same as Making Money – Often times when we feel there isn’t enough money in our lives we look for a higher paying job. We feel that if we only made more money than things would be so much easier. Sometimes that might be the case, but often times you can make lifestyle adjustments to accommodate your financial requests. If you ask me, it’s really important to track your finances and analyze what you are spending money on. When you have a loan payment coming up, did you really need to drop $300.00 on shoes? How about instead of going out to eat every day, try once a month? You see what I’m getting at. Luckily there are a plethora of tools out there to help track your spending and calculate your net worth. Probably the two best apps for calculating your networth is Mint, and Personal Capital. I personally use Mint. For me it gets the job done, it links to my accounts, tracks my spending, and calculates my networth. I can set personal goals for myself and make lifestyle adjustments around my goal. Both of these apps are incredible tools and I would certainly encourage anyone looking to advance their financial future to use them.

 

Conclusion – Student Debt can be an incredibly tough obstacle to tackle if you do not have a plan. I hope some of the above tips and strategies help you to eliminate your debt and start your journey to wealth accumulation! Remember that debt is completely controllable and might take some behavioral and lifestyle changes but can be managed. You got this! Do you have any tips, good sites, or apps that helped you with your student debt? Let us know in the comments below!

Loan Consolidation: A First Hand Account

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

This is going to be a quick one. Let’s be honest; there are already hundreds upon thousands of resources available to educate you on the best way to handle your student loan debt. Consolidation is always an option. Rather than telling you how I did it, or who I suggest you use, let me briefly explain why I did it and my story, as everyone’s situation is different. I owed a decent, not extraordinary amount of money upon graduating with my master’s degree- a cool 70k. While there are plenty of people who may owe 170k or even 270k, given my income level and my financial situation, it was still a burden for me to make the payments.

 

Yet, I had a plan. My total monthly payments before refinancing were going to be about $900 a month. Of that, $700 was for federal loans and $200 for private loans. While I could just afford this, I wasn’t comfortable having to be accountable for so much each month. I also have a mortgage and other expenses to pay. I looked into consolidating my loans and realized I could do it directly with the Federal Government rather than a private lender since most of my loans were government loans. I applied to a few private institutions but kept getting interest rates over 6%. Sticking with the Government I received a rate of 5.5%. The best I received by far. I then consolidated all of my government loans, which brought my total refinancing amount to about $59k. The remaining $10k was 4 small private loans which I kept under that lender. What I did, which has really helped me, was taking the longest repayment term I could with the government – a whopping 25 years !

 

Now, before you start yelling and shaking your head at me, listen to this. At 25 years, I was still going to pay the same interest rate as the 5 year loan. The only difference; they would take less for principal each month. We’re talking approximately $1k a month for a 5 year loan vs $360 for a 25 year loan. In turn, this alleviates the pressure to have to pay a high amount each month, especially if you don’t have the money. But I could always give them more.

My plan was to roll in more money each month as I paid down my other 4 loans. If I paid off a private loan which was about $50 a month, I would now give that additional $50 to the federal loan. Now that I owe less than $2k with my private lender, I can give my federal lender an extra $150 a month towards the principle. Therefore, I benefit from the same low interest rate as anyone else who refinances with the government (they set the rate), but I get to make the payments on terms that are more comfortable to me.

 

This alone means I will pay off my loan in less than 15 years now. As I make more money (hopefully) and pay off any other debts, I am hoping to eventually pay 700 a month. The additional 350 month would pay off the loan in less than 10 years. If I have some extra money from tax returns or bonuses, I can apply that to my loans as well. The beauty of the long term loan is not necessarily because you will take that long to pay off your loans, but because if you can’t afford the high payment for a period of time, you won’t be ruined financially. Therefore, the most important thing when refinancing is the interest rate and the payoff terms. Choose the longest amount of time you can at the best rate. You’ll be thankful you did! Do you have questions about the loan consolidation process? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Steps You Can Take To Advise Yourself Through College

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” -Bruce Lee

 

Ever wonder why peer advisement for college courses isn’t more of a thing? I do. I never really thought much of it until I went to go schedule my classes for my last semester of college. Me, being the ambitious guy I am, wanted to take 18 credits, stack my schedule, and pretty much hightail it out of college. The classes I needed to take however, needed to be approved by my advisor; a professor of mine. As I was sitting across from my professor I had all my courses and a checklist laid out: electives? Met. Gen Ed’s? Met. Credits needed to graduate? Shy by 18 credits. My advisor looked down at the classes I lined up that I wanted to take, looked up at me, looked back down at my list, sighed a little, and then said “why take so many credits? Why not take less credits and take some next semester? I mean what’s another semester, right?” The last sentence he said penetrated my scull, and immediately I made the connection. “What’s another semester!?” I thought to myself, “another five thousand dollars, is what another semester was.” Needless to say I went on to take my 18 credits (6 classes) and pulled a B or better in each of them. Here are my three steps you can take to advise yourself through college, without an advisor:

 

Pick Your Classes – I know typically when we think of educational institutions, business isn’t the first thought that comes to mind. Honestly the institution I attended was a non profit. Yet, I realized that college professors do not take into account the student’s financial situation. In my case there’s a reason I wanted to bust my butt to finish up with college; money. I didn’t want to pay for another semester of books and tuition. To this day I think that having college professors who are paid from the tuition you pay, and advise you for the classes you should take, is a bit of an inside job. So how do you get around this? I know in my situation my classes did need to be approved by my advisor, but I pretty much got to call the shots. If you have a decent GPA and know you can handle the work and courses you want to take. I say go for it.

 

Know Your Requirements- I had another really great experience with advisement that I’d love to share. Majoring in both economics and history my university would offer courses that could count towards both majors (#score) So when I saw a class that said Economic History and was advised to take it, I jumped on it! I mean what could go wrong. Well… essentially everything. So it turns out the course wouldn’t be accepted by the business college to go towards my economics degree, and would just count towards my history credits; not exactly what I was hoping for. Yet, after the smoke cleared there was a valuable lesson. Advise yourself. Especially if you are picking up majors in different areas of study, do not count on communication between different colleges within the university. So how do you advise yourself? Online you can find all of your course requirements for any majors and minors that you’d like to pick up. When scheduling or viewing available classes be sure to have a checklist on what requirements you need to take each class. After picking out your classes for the semester go to your advisor and get your selections approved (*I’m sure this process is different in all institutions, so double check what the process is for your college). By you taking on the responsibility you’re assuring yourself your advisement is done right, and at the same token taking the responsibility off the advisor who might not be as educated in the realm of advisement as you might think.

 

Peer Advisement – I know the university that I attended did not offer peer advisement, but I certainly hope this changes. One of the most useful tools I utilized while advising myself was asking my peers. The great thing about college courses is that there are tons of people who are in different levels of their college careers. You might have seniors and freshman in the same classes. I was quick to find a group of students who I had multiple classes with and asked them what their next moves were, and I remember even sitting down with some going over my own schedule. If colleges aren’t utilizing peer advisement I’m not sure what they are waiting for. It was an excellent way to network, and get better information on what professors and courses I should take.

 

Conclusion – “So what’s another semester?” You tell me. With a generation drowning in student debt I would make the assumption if another semester could be avoided it would be appreciated both personally and financially by the student. Remember while advising yourself to do your homework. Make sure you know and understand your requirements, prerequisites, and always be sure to put yourself out there to your peers. The work alone in college can be challenging enough, but sometimes you need to step up and make your own luck; something that in my life, proved to be immensely beneficial. What do you think? Do you think professors should advise students on what classes they should take? Do you attend an institution where peer to peer advisement is a thing? Let us know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

The Three Biggest College Expenses (Aside From Tuition) And How To Eliminate Them

“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.”– Robert T. Kiyosaki

 

Nowadays, when college comes to mind the first thing our focus is drawn to is the tuition. Without a doubt this is for good reason. College tuition has skyrocketed in recent years causing a massive bubble, and not to mention incredible turmoil in America’s future economy. Due to students who are riddled in debt; the future economy will see (and to some point has already seen) delays in home ownership, and the decision to start families. Although it may seem virtually impossible to save on college costs, I’m here to tell you there is! In today’s blog I’m going to discuss college costs that we can control specifically textbooks, commuter costs, and housing. Stay tuned, to find out the Three Biggest College Expenses and how you can save and prepare for them:

 

Text Books – Textbooks are probably the biggest college expense next to Tuition. If you take enough classes you can easily rack up a 1k bill in text books in a semester. However I have a few ways you can take on this expense so that it is virtually no cost to you.

 

The first rule is to never buy your books from the University bookstore. Many times bookstore prices are crazy inflated, and for a book you will need for 15 weeks it’s usually not worth it. Instead your first stop should be your town library or university library. Essentially if the library has the book, you can keep renewing the book for 15 weeks; this results in you never having to spend a dime on your text book. Now it’s possible, the library won’t have your textbook, or worse, the right edition required for your class. No worries at all! Still steering clear of your University Bookstore, the next stop is to try Google Books!

 

Many times Professors will only require you to read a few chapters from an entire book. Luckily Google Books has previews of many chapters of educational texts. I would use google books to see if you can locate those chapters, or the book in it’s entirety, as you might not need to spend any money at all on a textbook.

 

Another idea should be a site like Amazon or my go-to, Ebay. Both Amazon and Ebay allow you to purchase books from outside vendors which allow for the pricing to be competitive; and for you to get a better deal.

Lastly, many times you can also find students who have previously taken your class who are selling their books; many universities have Facebook Pages dedicated to educational items for sale by students which again can lead to a great deal. The bottom line is that tuition is expensive enough; you should be spending anything on educational textbooks in 2018!

 

Commuter Costs – Ah the days of being a commuter. Going to a mostly commuter school I realized and started to appreciate the art of creating an accommodating schedule for myself. The last thing you want to do is have to constantly leave campus to go to work or because you have massive downtime. To respect your time, energy, and gas money; you want to focus on optimizing your schedule. What that means is scheduling your classes on 2-3 days out of the week. So say instead of taking a class a day, pack your schedule full of classes so you are only on campus just a few days a week; this will respect your time and the amount of gas you spend getting to campus. To take things a step further apply for an on campus job. What this does is it really maximizes your time and availability on the days you are on campus. If you do have any downtime in between classes you can put in a few hours at work! By just taking this approach you’ll save thousands of dollars in gas money and wear and tear on your car over the course of your college career.

 

Off-Campus Housing Costs – Housing is one of the biggest expenses a person can endure, whether in college or not. Yet in college how can you beat or drastically reduce this expense? Assuming you do not have the option to stay at home close to rent free (that’s a no brainer!) there are some ways to make a smart financial decision all the while achieving your autonomy. The first step should be getting roommates to split the cost of rent. This makes it really easy for everyone to save some money while having a roof over their head.

 

I know what you might be thinking; in my area rents are so high I’d need like 8 roommates to afford rent! Being from New Jersey, and a Landlord, I get it! Here is a little insider information that might help. Landlords love people who will watch after their property. To get a reduced rent ask the landlord two things: Can I help be your property manager; I’ll make sure the property is in good condition, field tenant phone calls, remind people to pay on time; do this in exchange for cheaper rent.

 

The next question you might want to ask is if you can sublet the space. So say you pay 1k/mo for a 2 bedroom unit; what would happen if you started to AirBNB out the second room? This way you could potentially make your rent back and live for free. Of course you want to run all of these ideas by your landlord first as there might be certain stipulations in your lease and location.

 

Bonus – Just for getting through this longer than usual blog I have a little bonus on how you can allocate money for Textbooks, commuter costs, and housing costs all before stepping foot in college. The answer lies within investing. As some of you might have guessed by now, I love my low cost ETF’s and index funds. The reason I love these types of funds is because they can see a growth rate of 5-10% if not more! But they take time to grow. So let’s talk hypothetical here: say in high school you worked really hard part time and were able to make 1-2k. Now by investing that 1-2k in a mutual fund (529 college savings plan) or index fund, your money can continue to grow exponentially. Which means that your money continues to replenish itself. Without a doubt, that money which will continue to grow can help with textbooks, housing, and commuter costs. Additionally the money that you save from the aforementioned costs is really just money back in your pocket that you can save, spend, or invest.

 

Conclusion – When attending any higher education institution tuition is, and should be, your main financial focus. However other expenses that we might not realize creep in. These other expenses with some planning and creative thinking can all but be drastically reduced or completely eliminated. What are your thoughts? What are some strategies that you think students can use to reduce their college expenses? Let us know in the comments below!

How Interning In High School Can Save You 100k

“Nothing ever becomes real ’til it is experienced.” -John Keats

 

I’m a man of many theories, but one of the strongest theories I have is about interning in High School. I find it absolutely fascinating how internships in and of themselves were really created for the College student as a means to gain exposure and experience in their area of study. Yet, with college debt on the rise what happens for people who didn’t get it right the first time? Or those who thought they knew what they wanted to do, but quickly fell out of love with their careers? Most go back to college and pick up another degree or advanced degree; which results in more debt. You see, Higher Education is no longer something that chooses what career path we will go down, it starts to dictate our financial future at the tender age of 18. A career can be changed; money owed to a lender cannot. In today’s blog I’m going to share my theory with you a little more in depth, and explain how interning in High School can save you 100k:

 

Testing The Waters – Knowing exactly what you want to do by 18 years old is nothing short of crazy impressive. The adolescent brain isn’t even developed, so it only makes sense to go ahead and make one of the biggest financial investments of your life (#sarcasm) So if you don’t know what you want to do or your passion, how do you find that? The answer lies in trying different things. In High School you might be crazy into music or art; on the other hand you might like teaching and helping others. I would highly encourage you to try any and all career paths; you’ll quickly realize if it is for you or not. It’s through this game of trial and error that we realize if a certain career is something we’d truly like to pursue. Look at it like dating a career. If something doesn’t pan out, explore other options. Now I know what you might be thinking “where the heck can I intern that allows High School students?”

 

Small Businesses and Mentors – Now I’m about 100% sure you probably won’t be interning at IBM in High School; however there are tons of small businesses who need help, would appreciate your help, and greater yet you can talk to and get real world experience from a business owner in the field you are looking to study. So say IBM isn’t looking for High School students to Intern for them; but it’s possible Joe’s Computer Shack down the road is; I’d go talk to them. Keep in mind it’s really tough to Intern with some careers; such as a Police Officer’s or Teaching. However it never hurts to seek out a Police Officer or Teacher, and ask for their time to talk about their career, and seek a mentor ship opportunity. It’s from hearing other people’s experiences mixed in with you experiencing different things, that allow you to make a sound choice about what path you might want to go down.

 

The Two To Five – The biggest reason I highly encourage High School students to Intern is to gain experience. The issue I have with our workforce system is that an entry level job requires 2-5 years experience. The problem is, even if you intern in college, you have nowhere close to 2-5 years experience! By starting to intern in High School you are gaining experience, and more importantly gaining contacts and networking. Whether you intern seasonally or part time in High School, by the time you graduate College you’ll have the 2-5 years experience in a certain area of study that the market requires. By utilizing this strategy you will without a doubt have a tremendous edge over other entry level applicants.

 

Conclusion – I think most people are wondering “ok, so how can all of this save me 100k?” In essence your education is a matter of “doing it right the first time.” By not going back to College for a different degree, or pursuing a higher degree just so you can get some movement in your career, can save you over 100k without question. If you are a High School student looking to intern remember to look at the small businesses around you. It takes alot to run a small business and by interning at one you will be guaranteed to learn alot about the subject matter you’re interested in. Most of all remember you have time. When you are in High School time is your greatest asset; if you use it wisely it will pay extraordinary dividends down the road. What do you think? Do you feel starting to Intern earlier will get you further ahead in the workforce? Share your thoughts in the comments below!