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Episode 03 You Need a Plan and a Budget Not a Loan and a Credit Card

Hello and welcome to Episode 03: You Need a Plan and a Budget Not a Loan and a Credit Card.

Many people begin college because they don’t know what to do instead of beginning college. That’s OK if you have the money in the world and money is a matter of indifference.

Remember this video about how wise it is to incur $100,000 of debt before making any money.

Minute 3-5:30: The question is will your learning in college enhance your career opportunities? Maybe and maybe not. The less you know about the particular requirements of a job, the less likely is that your college major will enhance your ability to perform well on the job. A general degree in business will not prepare you for any business. If you think you want to be a business major, your best option may be to work in a sales job. Sales are essential to every business operation.

Minute 6:50-8:00: Many employers, such as Chick-fil-A, Amazon, Starbucks and many, many others contribute to their employee’s educational expenses. If going to college would cause you or your family to incur any debt, likely your best option is to take some time between high school and college and work, develop a budget and save money.

Minute 8:30—9: Some people’s parents aren’t helping. Dave Ramsey’s 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. The majority of Americans would have to sell something to be able to pay a $500 unanticipated expense. This has contributed to the “normalization of debt.” Likely your family is in the majority.

Minute 10:30: You will be expected to repay your student loans. You likely will not have the benefit of loan forgiveness programs.

Minute 11:40: In my book, Shun Student Loans, Get the Education You Need for the Fabulous Life You Want. I have a whole chapter devoted to helping you figure out how to productively spend your time if you don’t enroll in college directly out of high school. There are structured exercises and recommendations for free and low-cost online programs that will help you create a structure for yourself.

Minute 13:30: Don’t get a credit card. It’s much more likely to do you harm than it is to do you good.

Minute 15: Those choosing not to go to college will have a greater need to develop a structure for their own life.

Bonus content referred to in Episode 03:  If you are unsure of how to go about creating a plan for yourself prior to entering college, I recommend you check out the program at Self Authoring, a structured online writing program desired to help you envision the life you want for yourself. You should plan to work on it over a period of days or weeks. If that seems too daunting, you might want to begin with a daily writing exercise, that I talk about in my book, Shun Student Loans. Finish these sentences every day for two months.
“Yesterday, I….”
“Today, I am anxious/worried about….”
“Today, I am grateful for….”
Start small and short. Plan to write three things under each of the three headings. After a month or so of doing this each day, you may find that you’re ready to expand your writing. Perhaps now you want to write about the future. “Tomorrow I will…” or “I am looking forward to…” After a couple of months of doing this exercise, go back and read what you have written. Do you see any themes? Do you still worry about the same things? Have you noticed how many people and things in your life you have to be grateful for? Do you see some areas of your life where you can improve yourself?

The point of the exercise is to get you started reflecting on your own life so that you can begin the process of creating the life you want for yourself. Doing this exercise, while you are working an earning money, will help you discern whether a college degree is the right thing for you.

Finally, know that you are not alone in facing the challenge of creating a life for yourself and creating your own structure. Pick up Zachary Slayback’s excellent collection of essays, The End of School; Reclaiming Education from the Classroom for more ideas on how to create your own life structure.

If you like this podcast, please subscribe on Itunes. New episodes come out on Mondays and Thursdays. Please join our email list and get the free PDF revealing How to Recognize the Riskiest Student Loans and Lower Your College Costs

About the author, Rose McConnell

Rose McConnell is an attorney practicing in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of Shun Student Loans; Get the Education You Need for the Fabulous Life You Want. Her concern over rising debt levels grew out of observing the devastating impact of excessive debt during the 2008 financial crisis. Many of her clients lost their homes, had their retirement savings decimated, and have never financially recovered. She podcasts to warn families of the dangers of student loans and to offer information to debtors struggling with repaying education loans.

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