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The Ultimate Cost Saver in College: 4 steps

My father during his last semester of college told my mom, “Wait… I don’t want to major in business. I want to be a chef”.

Needless to say, he didn’t go to chef school. Many of us spend years bouncing around in majors of college and end up with all this needless classwork.

This is the key to saving both Time and Money in college.

Get the Right Major the First Time

This is easier than it sounds. First, you need a vision. If you don’t have one, use this nifty little template. (Jokes, that’s a link to my article about writing a vision statement)

But seriously, the most important thing in deciding your major is knowing who you REALLY are. Who are you? What makes you tick? Figure that out.

Here’s the process:

  1. Lists about you
  2. Interviews
  3. Comparison Charts
  4. Have 1 “figure-it-out” semester

This is the process I used to break into my major quickly. The reason it’s so good in saving you money is because of the time you spend going to college. Sure, earning a couple scholarships for $400 or $500 a piece is great, but if you can go to school for 2 semesters less because you didn’t change a major, then you just saved 2 semesters of tuition which is average about $9-10,000 dollars.

Here is, The Ultimate Cost Saver in College.

Step 1: Lists

List out 20 majors you’re interested in.

List out 20 Jobs you could enjoy doing.

It’s important to get to a larger number, so you really consider things you actually enjoy. Everyone is able to find 3 or 4 things they like, but can you get 20? Narrow it down to a top 5. Maybe a trusted friend, or therapist, or coach, or school counselor could help you narrow the list down a bit.

My Step 1: I was deciding what I wanted to do with my life after finishing a 2 year service mission in New Zealand.  The starting list included skills with dancing (I was a 4th place Titleist in Youth-American-Smooth at BYU Nationals in Ballroom in 2013), a love for computers, good conversational skills (I hope), loving people, loving group interactions, breaking ideas into pieces, loving competition and other factors. It was easy to identify event planning, financial services, and global supply chain management as 3 possible majors, among others.

Step 2: Interviews

Find people in each industry that you know (or don’t!) and interview them. This is cake. Ask people on social media, google companies that work in that industry, it’s not too hard to find someone. Most respectable people will give you 15 minutes to interview them.

You need good questions: Here is a basic list:

What makes your job worth it?

How did you end up working in this industry?

How much do people get paid working in your industry?

How do you help people?

What are the best certifications or skills to learn success?

What personality types work well in this industry?

How do you get into the industry running fast?

Is this a 40 hour a week job? How much time do you need to invest to achieve excellence?

Interviewing  5 people in each industry will give you a good way to benchmark what they enjoy, pros and cons, income levels, what they hate, skills they utilize frequently, career path and progression, and other little details you want to know.

My Step 2: After calling up a few old friends, and posting on Facebook about wanting to talk to professionals in these areas (in separate posts on different days. Posting a list of things on Facebook gets zero responses. and you want more than zero), I was able to interview a few event planners, financial planners, and a few supply chain management experts. The leader of my service mission (over 200+ of us missionaries) was a supply chain expert for UPS during his working days, my old dance partners father is a financial planner, and a man from my church back home is a very successful event planner. This grew into more interviews. My Girlfriend sent me to the finance guy for her company at a local Edward Jones branch. My interviews grew and grew and I really learned the good, the bad, and the ugly of each industry.

Step 3: Compare

If you’ve read many of my articles, you’ve probably seen that I often say “Ask your friend, boss, etc to shorten down this list with you.” or “Ask your friend if that’s really you”.

Same here! Ask people what they think, and maybe make a weighted list or pros and cons for each, then weight how important that is to you. Then you can almost make a weighted average of how important it is.

My Step 3: I didn’t make a weighted list for this (Such a Hypocrite, ae?) but I’ve done this with many projects. Deciding where to spend money, choosing to live at home or live on my own during college, If I should paint my room blue on the top half or blue on the bottom half, and other ‘very important’ decisions, or less important decisions.

 Step 4: It’s okay to have a “Figure-it-out” semester

Maybe it’d be good to take one semester and take 1 or 2 classes in each major you’ve picked. It’s also a great time to talk to counselors and teachers and continue working on clarifying step 3 (compare) and spend more time on step 2 (interviews).

Realize that rushing through college isn’t fun. There are scholarships you can get while in school, there are lots of governmental aid that you can get, and there is college life. Do you really want to be out of school in the big world at 21? Consider studying abroad, finding side hustle opportunities, start a business, do something epic during school time. Summer is the opportunity to work at a hotel in Alaska, work on a fishing boat on the sea, working in hospitality in Australia, or building up certifications, skills, and hobbies that can contribute to your overall balance in life.

Remember,

Lists, Interviews, Comparison tables, and Take a semester to figure it out.

Jacob Johnson

The Financial Ginger

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A Personal Vision

The Realization

I cracked open a new self-help book, excited to read and learn the mysteries of sesquipedalianism and profundity.

When I read this,

“While we’re discussing self-help books, we wanted to mention a study… [asking if] ‘The Power of Positive Thinking”… [is] a real phenomenon?…
The Results? People with high self-esteem… were more optimistic… but participants with low self-esteem who intoned those five words” (I am a lovable person) “felt less optimistic than those who didn’t…
People with a negative self-image are reinforced in that belief when they try to will their way out of it.

-Belsky, G., & Gilovich, T. (1999). Why smart people make big money mistakes–and how to correct them: Lessons from the new science of behavioral economics. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Like many of you, I have my own worries and things that I deal with. I’ve experienced that desire to no longer be where I am. In minor ways, I’ve had times where I’ve felt no matter what I’m doing, It’s not good enough. Self-Help books that teach us about how we use time poorly, or manage money in odd ways, or anything won’t help us if we don’t help ourselves!

But enough of that! I’m a positive guy with a talent for including people! So this exercise is for everyone to do, to know YOU better.

Vision Pitching

I was reading from a book called “To Sell is Human – The Surprising Truth About Moving Others” by Daniel H. Pink. He talks about creating sales pitches, but I think its high time to create a personal vision pitch.

* NOTE* this is my personalized version, you can get  the original version at http://www.danpink.com/pitch
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Let Go of the Ground in Vision

A vision is supposed to be the tone and aura you carry with you, representing what your theme of life is, where you’re headed, your dream, you passion, and your love. You are not who you think you are; you’ll find that out as you clarify your vision with others. The reality is that you are more than anything you can imagine with more power than you think. Ponder these questions before starting the vision:

Where do I see myself tomorrow?

What will I be working on in 5 years?

How will I be serving those around me in 20 years?

What will people say about me in 30 years?

How much time will I spend on my passions in 40 years? What is the passion you thought about when you answered that question?

Now that that you’re ready, remember this is practice not permanent. The last thing to do right before reading and starting this next bit is to physically move yourself! Would you feel comfortable with getting up and moving to somewhere you never go and then start. It is vital to be in a new or different location. Maybe you can set a timer and spend 15 minutes on it right now.

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Travel Away for a Minute to Refocus

Writing

Get a piece of paper, or use a writing app on your phone, and start your vision using these steps:

  1. One Word. Write as many individual words as you can that describe you. Try for 50.
  2. Question. What question do you ask yourself that makes you think deeply? What’s your question that makes others think and act? Write at least 10!
  3. Rhyme. Give a rhyme for where you’re going! What rhyme defines who you are? Write at least 10! It’s totally acceptable to google search [or ninja search] rhyme sites to help.
  4. Email. If you were to summarize your vision with a subject that would get everyone to open and read it, what would it say? Write 20!
  5. Tweet. You have 120 characters to write your vision statement, your guide to life. Write this.
  6.  Story. Read Below, and write your own.

Your try: Once upon a time ____________________________. Every day, _______________________. One day ________________________________________. Because of that, _________________________________. Because of that, __________________________________. Until finally, ___________________________________.

-Pink, D. H. (2012). To sell is human: The surprising truth about moving others. New York: Riverhead Books.

Refining

Now take your list and share it with the 5 people you know best. Ask them to remove and erase half of the remaining extras in each of your lists, until eventually you get down to you. Your Vision.

Here is Mine.

 

  1. Confidence
  2. Do you feel that way now?
  3. To feel confident, you must be cognizant.
  4. Smiling? After meeting this guy you’d better be.
  5. Worried by the future, you want peace. What’s uncertain to you? Feel confident, find your dreams with me!
  6.  Once upon a time, there was a ginger boy who loved everyone. Every day, he would laugh and smile with his family because he was confident that he was loved. One day he wasn’t so sure about what he was going to do with his life. Because of that he became very worried. Because of that he searched and learned and grew! Until finally, He was a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) who could help each beautiful person to discover and feel secure in their future.
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What It Feels Like to Share Your Vision Draft

Your statement

The last thing to do is to revise from those 6 points a paragraph, or maybe even a page. This can be detailed in statements about what you believe in, beliefs you would fight for, career paths, medium term goals, long term goals, habits you’ll pick up, habits you already have, or things that you are good at. We’ll talk more about refining the statement later.

I am a planner. When I am secure and anchored I am a blast to be around and a great communicator. Everyone is my friend and I naturally trust everyone. I’m a trendsetter seeking to push social boundaries and what is accepted to create a better experience or more learning. As a Visionary who prides himself in social engagement, I tend to be a social butterfly with friends in every group. I want everyone to like me with a ‘woo’ factor and work hard to be inclusive of every individual around me. I have a natural ability to break ideas into pieces; it is easy for me to find ways to improve a process and maximize results. I see the value in each piece. The Visionary within has come to believe in Jesus Christ and to feel the power in the principles of the Gospel with a firm desire to involve Jesus Christ in maximizing both my ability to help others, and ability to feel secure and anchored in my own life. The Analyst in me is great at counselling with others, helping them to see and create their own change, and can effectively communicate steps and processes to enrich and empower them to feel secure and plan for success. It is my choice to fight for families, fight for confidence, and involve everyone in things that will bring them security, peace, confidence, and knowledge that will improve their lives. I am Jacob. I am a family man, I am a hard worker, I am consistent, I am a networker, I am trustworthy, I am a creator, I am active, I am an empowering friend, and I am a child of God.

Send me feedback! What could be better about my dream? I know it’s already been shaved down, but it sure could use more work. Share yours here and let’s become better at sharing our visions with each other. Let go of who you aren’t and become who you want to be.

I’ll post some of your visions (with permission) if you send them to me here! Or you can email it to me directly at [email protected]

Next week I’ll share Part 2 of this series,  An Active Vision. Now that you have a vision, let’s make it happen.

-Jacob Johnson
Student of Personal Financial Planning at Utah Valley University
Expected graduation in December 2017

Pounamu- Green Stone (Jade) from New Zealand
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“Ahakoa He Iti, He Pounamu”
Though it may be small, To me it is precious.

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Do You See Where You’re Going?