Tag: millennial


Finding Beauty in Ordinary Places: May/June Update All Posts / Life / More

If you’re new here, I post an update every couple of months that details how we’re doing on our debt payoff and other goals. I also include some highlights of the months and what I’ve been reading and watching…because life is about more than just reaching goals.

As a Type A person (with debt), I easily get caught up in trying to be productive all the time. It’s important to relax once in a while 🙂

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Let’s Talk About Privilege All Posts / Frugal Living / Saving Money

As a personal finance blogger, I’ve thought a lot about the best way to help others improve their finances.  Some bloggers are very non-judgmental and say that everyone has their own unique path.

Others feel that people should follow a more rigid set of rules in order to get out of debt or build wealth.

*This post may contain affiliate links.  Read our full disclosure policy here.

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How to Stop Caring What Other People Think All Posts / Frugal Living / Saving Money

Debt has become so normalized in our culture that we no longer believe it is possible to live without it.  Whether we’re aware of it or not, we are constantly bombarded with messages about how to live a “normal” life.

These messages come from a variety of different sources – advertisements, schools, our parents, relatives, friends…our entire society promotes the idea that debt is normal.

Here’s what my original life plan looked like.

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Forex Trading for Beginners All Posts / Frugal Living / Saving Money

*This is a guest post by Julia Smith.

The foreign exchange market (also known as Forex) is a global decentralized market for the trading of currencies.  Based on volume of trading, it is by far the largest market in the world.

Beginners often ask how to succeed in Forex trading. The main guarantee of success is to develop a competent strategy. Trading on online platforms requires awareness, ongoing training, clear understanding and monitoring of a chosen strategy.

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7 Reasons Why I Drive a 17 Year Old Car All Posts / Frugal Living / Saving Money

My car is ugly.

It’s rusty, it has plenty of scratches and a few dents, and it’s 17 years old.  It’s not pretty or shiny.  The heat/AC is out half the time and it’s usually making some sort of bizarre noise.

It’s what most people would consider embarrassing.  Some people think I’m crazy for continuing to drive this vehicle, but here are seven reasons why I do it.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read our full disclosure policy here.

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The Solution to The Student Loan Crisis All Posts / Saving Money / Student Loan Debt

The average college student now finishes school with nearly $40,000 in student loan debt.  Those with advanced degrees, such as master’s, doctorates, or professional fields (medicine, law) often graduate with six figure debt.

Many articles have been written about the student loan crisis, and some have predicted that student loans will be the next “bubble” to burst.  Others have argued that the student loan crisis is not a “real” crisis.

*This post may contain affiliate links.  Read our full disclosure policy here.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that my husband and I started with a combined total of $117,000 of student loan debt that we are trying to pay off as quickly as possible.  You can probably imagine how I feel when someone diminishes the struggles of millions of Americans by claiming that student loans aren’t that big of a deal.

People who think that the crisis is “exaggerated” typically say that the reason for this “exaggeration” is to encourage “free tuition” political policies.  Student loans are a hot topic and a politically charged issue.  On the far left, politicians advocate for student loan forgiveness and making college tuition free in the future.  In contrast, those on the other end of the spectrum call for personal responsibility.

I’ve read quite a few of the comments on articles about the student loan crisis.  Of course, it’s typically the people with the most extreme viewpoints who are the most vocal.  Some say college is a “right” that should be provided for free.

Others say things like “No one put a gun to your head and forced you to take on student loan debt.  You’re a f$@$#&! idiot for taking on that much debt for a useless major”.  Then, the person typically boasts about how smart and financially successful they are because they didn’t go to college and didn’t take out student loans.  Interestingly, these comments are often riddled with poor grammar and awful spelling.

Odd, right?  How is it possible that people who can’t even construct a basic sentence are somehow making smarter financial choices than brilliant students who have earned doctorate degrees?  Clearly, intelligence isn’t the issue here.  So what is the issue?  What differentiates those who succeed financially from those who end up buried in debt?

Financial Education

From my own observations, there is one factor that seems to determine, better than any other factor, whether or not someone will succeed financially.  That factor is financial education.

Those who have avoided debt or have built wealth in their twenties often have one thing in common: their parents taught them how to manage money.  It is a privilege to be raised by parents who encourage you to avoid student loans, to build an emergency fund, and to pay cash for everything.

Some parents teach their kids about money from a young age (with things such as Dave Ramsey’s class Financial Peace Junior), and these early money lessons typically stick.

For those who didn’t grow up with money-smart parents, financial education still plays an important role in determining their financial fate.  As a personal finance blogger, I’ve read hundreds of PF blogs.  For bloggers who started off in debt, the story is almost always the same.

Some type of financial education sparked an “aha” moment for them – it may have been reading PF blogs, discovering an inspiring book such as Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover, taking a personal finance class, or learning from a money-savvy friend.  Whatever it may have been, there is usually some type of financial education that inspired the person to start getting out of debt and building wealth.

In our society, debt is normal, excessive consumerism is rampant, and the idea of paying cash for everything is practically taboo.  Without any kind of financial education, we often do what society expects us to do.

We listen to our parents (who didn’t have student loan debt and have no idea what it’s like) – even if they’re terrible with money.  We listen to our teachers and advisers who tell us that a four year degree is the only path to success.

We take out student loans for impractical majors.  We don’t want to flip burgers for the rest of our lives (as if that’s the only way to avoid student loans).  We do what we think is “normal”.  We believe that our “investment” will pay off when we’re “successful”.

If we want to solve the student loan crisis, we need to stop doing what we’re doing.  Relying on politicians to forgive our debt or to make college free probably won’t help.  Calling people idiots (when they’re already buried in massive debt) definitely isn’t going to help.

We need to start educating high school students about student loan debt.  Personal finance classes should be a requirement in high school.  It’s time to stop teaching students that a 4 year degree is the ONLY path to success.  For many, community college or vocational school may be a better (and more affordable) option.

We need to understand that being book smart without being money smart is a dangerous combination that often leads to mortgage-level student loan debt.  In addition to teaching kids how to be book smart, we need to teach them how to manage money and avoid debt.

What do you think is the solution to the student loan crisis?

Other stuff you might like:

My Personal Finance “Aha” Moment
How to Start a Blog in 5 Easy Steps
5 Dumb Things We Did With Our Student Loans
How to Ditch Your Student Loans with the Debt Snowball
Which Debt Payoff Method is Better – The Snowball or The Avalanche?

Personal Finance Resources:

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
YOLO: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life by Jason Vitug
Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
It’s Only Money and It Does Grow on Trees by Cara MacMillan

Blogging Resources:

How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
365 Blog Topic Ideas for the Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing to Write About by Dana Fox
Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income by ProBlogger


5 Reasons to Become a Tutor All Posts / Career / Making Money

If you’re proficient in a subject and know how to dissect and explain complex information, you might make an exceptional tutor. A tutor is a private teacher who instructs others in some branch of learning either one-on-one or within a group setting.

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