Posted in College & Student Loans, You and Your Money

Raising Adults

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Yesterday, I returned home from a seven day cruise with my 19 year old daughter.  It was an awesome trip full of bonding moments as it was just her and I out in the world for 7 days (and she was trapped on the ship with me with no where to go).  On the last day of our trip which was a sea day, we were eating lunch and starting talking with this couple who had 2 teenagers but were traveling alone.  The gentleman was in law enforcement and my daughter is in college for Criminal Justice.  We talked to them for almost an hour sharing great advice and talking about our passions.  My daughter shared many of the things she has learned over the years and the couple seemed shocked and impressed at her knowledge and grasp on reality.  One of the subjects we talked about was the epidemic in this country with teenagers and young adults believing they are entitled to everything without working for it.  And my daughter agreed – she sees this with her friends and others all the time.  When it was time for us to part ways and move on to other activities, the lady leaned over and whispered in my ear “You raised her well.”  I admit I teared up a little.

I don’t say this to brag although I am super proud of my daughter and the young lady she has become.  I am telling this story because it brought home a lesson that I learned many years ago and have shared from that day forward – we are raising adults.  It doesn’t matter whether a kid is 2, 12, or 20, you are always raising an adult.  Let me explain.

Your kids and kids in your life – whether for a moment or for a lifetime – are watching every move you make and every word you say (and the way you say it).  Kids aren’t born knowing how to do things.  They learn by what we teach them.  The key word is teach them.  Now, you can teach your kids on purpose like I did my daughter or you can teach them by default – either way, they are watching and learning every moment of every day.  The other day I was in Wal-Mart and I heard a kid screaming from 4 aisles over.  He just kept screaming until he got to the aisle I was on.  Then I saw his mom give him a phone and he stopped.  Whether she realized it or not, she taught him that if he screamed, he would eventually get his way.

I hear parents say all the time “We don’t use the word no”.  Well you should, but not as a mantra.  Use it in conjunction with an explanation as to why the action or behavior is not allowed.  A great example is the entitlement issue I spoke of earlier.  Kids believe they are entitled to everything because that is what they have been taught – again either on purpose or simply by not teaching them a different way.  My daughter is no different than every other kid out there – she wanted stuff and still does.  However, I have no issue telling her no and at the same time explaining to her why not.  She has never once heard “because I said so” from me.

We must realize we are raising adults from the moment our kids are born.  Did you know that a newborn will cry and get upset if you are stressed when holding them?  But if you are calm and soothing they will be too.  It starts from day one and continues through their entire lives.  My daughter is still watching me even at 19 years old.  It is still my responsibility to be an awesome example to her on how to navigate life in a positive direction and reach all of her goals and dreams (not mine, hers).  So the next time you are speaking with a little tone because something isn’t going right or you are swiping that credit card to pay for something, just remember they are watching your every move.

Posted in Budgeting for Everyone, College & Student Loans, Debt Free, Saving for Your Future, You and Your Money

College – Is It Worth the Investment?

Clemson's Tillman Hall
Clemson’s Tillman Hall

Today on Twitter, I was participating in a chat on this very subject.  And, as always, I was truly fascinated by the answers to the question and a little concerned.  As a majority, we tend to see college as a must.  We even go so far as to look down on those without a college degree.  But realistically, college isn’t for everyone and in many cases isn’t even necessary.  College is only worth the investment if it is needed and if it is approached wisely and with a plan.

I was blessed to have the opportunity to go to school debt free.  And it was understood that I would go to college when I graduated, basically for the reason I stated above.  No one bothered to ask me what I was passionate about – no one bothered to help me find out what I would love to do every day if money wasn’t a factor.  I just went to college and got a degree in a subject that I was good at in school and had a decent pay grade in the workforce.

And I was miserable for the first 15 years of my adult life.  Many of our youth are heading to college because they are pressured into believing that it is the next logical step.  Guidance counselors are giving out the emails of all students with decent grades to colleges so that they can bombard them with propaganda to come to their school.  The pressure is high and as a result is creating a problem in this country.  We currently have $1.2 trillion in student loan debt.  And much of that debt is for degrees that were never finished or never used.

When deciding for yourself or helping your child decide what to do after high school, consider these 3 tips and consider them in the order that is presented.

  1. What is your passion? – Many careers don’t require a college education.  Some require no experience, some a certificate and some a small amount of vocational schooling.  Before you can decide what education path to take, you must first decide what you want to do – not just a j-o-b, but a career and a passion.  I always throw out the question “What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?”.  The saying “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” is so true.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find this out until later in life, but I am so happy I did.  Because now I am doing what I love and I am guiding my 17 year old daughter to her passion – which by the way doesn’t require a college degree.  And odds are she will make more money than most because she will be working for herself.  Owning a small business is a great way to accomplish your passion and make lots of money if done correctly.  You should take some business courses, but it doesn’t require a degree – just some awesome mentoring from those who have been successful.
  2. What is the best way for me to get the education I need? – Once you determine the level of education you need, you then need to find the best way to get that education without becoming part of the statistic above.  You can pay for a 4 year degree with cash and without the help of parents, but you can only do it with a plan and determination.  You have no idea what your first job is going to be or how much you are actually going to be making.  Don’t mortgage your next 20 years if you don’t have to (and you don’t).
  3. Pay cash – This option is harder and may take a little longer, but I promise you it is the best way to invest in your future.  This is where I lose most people – if I haven’t already.  First of all, people don’t believe it can be done.  And secondly, they don’t want to do the work to make it happen.  Yes, it is easier now to sign up for the student loan.  But as millions are finding out, it is not the easiest in the long run.

Here’s the bottom line – I loved every minute of my college experience, but I wasn’t a fan of the 15 years I spent being miserable and not doing something that I was passionate about.  I was working a j-o-b to pay the b-i-l-l-s.  So find what you love to do, wisely get the education you need to get to follow that passion and do it with cash.  Live your dreams!

Buy any of Debbi’s award winning books on her website or on Amazon today.

Posted in Budgeting for Everyone, College & Student Loans, Debt Free, Saving for Your Future, Winning with Your Money

What About Me?

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We all at one time or another ask “But what about me?”.  Even the most selfless person will ask this question from time to time.  As a typical southern girl and a person of faith, I was raised to not be selfish and to always think of others first (which is not a bad thing, by the way).  And I have always said that selfish people do not become wealthy.

So why am I getting ready to teach you a situation where selfishness pays off?  Because it is not the form of selfishness where you don’t care about others and only care about yourself.  I am going to talk about a situation where being selfish will pay dividends for years to come.

When it comes to your money, there are scenarios where you need to be selfish.  Being selfless means that you don’t care about yourself and you put others first.  But when it comes to how you handle your money, doing what is best for you has to be the number one priority.  What works for you might not work for someone else and vice versa.  You have to be selfish and stick up for what will work for you and your financial success.

For many years, I did what everyone else told me I should do.  I even went to school for what my parents told me I should, not what I wanted to do.  After I graduated, I did what everyone told me was the next logical step.  However, the next logical step didn’t work for me.  Taking the next logical steps landed me in $200,000 of debt, divorced and very unhappy.  I am not blaming my parents or anyone else.  This is all on me – I made the decision to follow the crowd and not be true to myself.

When it comes to your career, how you handle your money, when or if you buy a house, who you marry (or if), if you go to college, or any other life decision, you have to be selfish and do what is right for you no matter what other people think.  It is always good to get advice with large decisions, but always remember that the final decision has to be yours and if someone gets upset, it is their problem, not yours.

Personal finance is personal.  This is true for every aspect of it.  This major lesson that I learned the hard way is what makes our coaching firm different from the rest.  Our only goal is to find what works for you.  One way or another, find what works for you and do it 110%!

http://www.abcsofpersonalfinance.com

**Make sure to visit Amazon to purchase Debbi’s award winning books in paperback and Kindle format.