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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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Personal Vision: Part 2 – Vision Boards

Your Vision is in hand, but now what do you do with it? This is how to take your vision from paper, to action items.

Money is important. But your “why” behind your money is almost more important. Infact, It is more important.

I want money for a few reasons, I want to provide for a family I hope to have, I intend to use money to create a foundation to increase financial literacy in Utah, I want to be involved in Scouting and christian missionary work. There are reasons to the money. “Money for the Sake of Money” isn’t happiness. As I talked about in an earlier article, Experiences bring happiness, not “Plastic Crap”.

Many friends of mine have come to me asking, “How do you figure out what you want to do?”

Here is my answer.

How I Chose Financial Planning

I went to a small school, graduated from high school with an associate’s degree, then moved to Brigham Young University (BYU) studying Computer Science. I thought it was what I loved. My whole family works in computers, Dad, Brother, Little Brother. I’m different. During 2 years as a service missionary and proselyting minister for Jesus Christ to the wonderful people of New Zealand, I learned a thing or two about myself. This insight is a blessing. Jacob Johnson is a people man, he loves working with people, helping them, teaching them, breaking down their big ideas into pieces, which he then builds up into good points. Ideation, Maximzation, Includer, Communication, “Woo”-factor. When I jumped back into school, the answer wasn’t computer science. Quick talks with people sent me to try global supply chain management, marketing, and financial planning. Marketing people I interviewed all hated what they did, unless they were in charge of their work or ran their own firm. Supply chain was awesome except I don’t want to travel 6-10 months a year, not in the ropes for having a family. My old ballroom dance partner’s father was a financial guy. He loved his job. Dude from my girlfriends work did finances. Loved his job. Everyone I talked to that worked in financials loved what they did. Private firm, big company, RIA, Broker/Dealer, Insurance agents, 9 co-workers, 1 co-worker, 80 co-workers. They each loved it. They also did what I thought was great. They taught, they did technical work, they moved around, they left the office to visit and help, they weren’t stagnant, they were involved in the community, they were happy fun loving people; the people around them were happy.
The signs were enough. I knew where I belonged. So, I packed up from BYU and moved over to Utah Valley University (UVU) where tuition was $20 more expensive and the Financial Planning program has topped the charts since it’s been around with three times as many students as any other program in the U.S. only 400.

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This Should Be On Every Vision Board

How a Vision Board Got Me There

I’ll be honest, My vision was in pieces on my phone, in my wallet, papers on my desk, notes in other odd places, bits of my memory. AKA it was a disaster. I finally straightened out my vision board.

Purpose of a Vision Board

Vision boards connect actions with goals. Sometimes we are doing the right things, but it’s getting us no-where because it isn’t connected to our vision. Sometimes we have a vision, but no actions connected. The vision board is the intersection. It’s a logically and conveniently placed object that contains our current dreams and goals.

Daily as you consider the actions you will take, consider your board. Do they align with your goal? If not, 1) remove it from your to-do list, 2) add a new goal to your vision board, 3) do it anyways and wonder why you’re still where you’re at.

Nightly as you review what you’ve done. Consider your progress on your vision. Did your actions connect? Do you need to adjust any of your dreams?

Basically, the vision board removes waste, and focuses your efforts. Efficiency.

Creating A Vision board

Remember your vision statement you made in A Personal Vision? Whip that bad boy out, and read it. I’d recommend making reading your final vision statement daily as part of your confidence building routine. That should be a good base to start off. What is written on that that ties to things you want to achieve. Is a degree part of that? Is starting a company, changing industries, going to the gym, starting a blog, selling to 20 new clients, getting 3 computer monitors, etc on that?

Consider 5 areas:

  1. Financial – Where is my money going, how will I make it, how will I manage it.
  2. Physical – Fitness, eating, outdoor activities
  3. Social – Friendships, spouses, old friends, building a business network
  4. Emotional –
  5. Intellectual – reading books, developing your business skills, utilizing your brain, how do you waste time on your phone.

Also, Consider your Big Rocks. What are your responsibilities and titles? Parent, CEO, Small Business Consultant, Teacher, Brother, Minister, Soccer Coach, Student, ETC. What are the big visions you have for them?

Where to put it

It goes wherever you will see it the absolute most. Mine is right by my bed. Blue tape boarder, with pictures taped inside it. Maybe it needs to be in the kitchen on the fridge, or by your front door (though it can be hard to make it personal there)

Vision Board - Draft #1
An Early Version of My vision boards – Painters Tape and Photos

Areas of My Board – Money Gets Everywhere!

Now you might say, Jacob. This isn’t financial. YES IT IS. If you don’t have mastery of your vision and actions, you will never have control of your finances. It doesn’t make a difference if you make $25,000, or $250,000. I know people in both who are millionaires, I know people in both who still live paycheck to paycheck.

Every single task I do that makes me money is somehow connected to my vision board. That’s how simple it is.

Control your actions, create your vision. Utilize it daily. Happiness will ensue.

Share with me a picture of your vision board, or a copy of your vision statement and I’ll feature it in an article! Email me on my contact page or Here

-Jacob Johnson

Jacob is a crazy Vision Board wielder who also dabbles with small business review software, and financial counseling at UVU. He is an avid supporter of financial education and loves to work with event groups to get finances incorporated. Want me to speak or teach a class? Ask me Here

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Why you want a Certified Financial Planner, Why I don’t want to just be a “Financial Advisor”

Confidence comes through cognizance.

Now, everyone has heard the term ‘Financial Advisor’ before. However, did you know that not all terms mean what you think they mean.

Literally anyone can be a Financial Advisor. According to Investopedia,

“Financial advisor” is a generic term with no precise industry definition… What may pass as a financial advisor in some instances may be a product salesperson, such as a stockbroker or a life insurance agent. A true financial advisor should be a well-educated, credentialed, experienced, financial professional who works on behalf of his clients as opposed to serving the interests of a financial institution.

“Go to college;” I’m now a Financial Advisor by the legal definition. “Spend all your tax refunds on Pringles and Custom Baby-Seal Leather Boots;” I’m now a Financial Advisor. “Put that million dollars you inherited into this annuity;” I’m now a Financial Advisor and, depending on the company I work for, possibly $30,000 richer (assuming a 3% commission, some can be as high as 10%!).

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A well diversified Pringle portfolio
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Custom Leather Boots – Good Investment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on this link and print your own certificate of being a certified Financial Advisor from Last Week Tonight’s Financial Advisor Academy signed by John Oliver, the Dean of Financery! That’s how easy it is to say you’re a Financial Advisor.

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Boom – My dog is a Financial Advisor

The reason I want to be a Certified Financial Planner Designee is so that those served will be confident and secure the advice they are given is for their best interest. A CFP designation requires a LOT of work. Here are some of the many requirements

  • A Bachelor’s degree
  • Mastery of 100 topics of financial planning
  • Classes and credit hours in these areas:
    • Insurance Planning
    • Employee Benefits Planning
    • Investment and Securities Planning
    • State and Federal Income Tax Planning
    • Estate Planning
    • Retirement Planning
    • Asset Protection Planning
    • Estate Tax, Gift Tax, and Transfer Tax Planning
    • Financial Counselling
    • Capstone Course
  • Passing a 6 hour test with 170 questions about the application of the 100 areas including:
    • Two case studies
    • Mini-case problem sets
    • Stand-alone questions
    • This test has about a 42% pass rate
  • 3 years of work experience in all areas
    • Establishing and Defining Relationships
    • Gather Client Data and Goals
    • Analysing and Evaluating Financial Status
    • Developing and Presenting Financial Planning Recommendations and Alternatives (yeah. you can’t give one idea, but a cluster of them)
    • Implementing the choice
    • Monitoring the Financial Plan

Oh. And there are is more. There are ongoing requirements to be a CFP Designee.

There is a strict code of ethics involving criminal background checks and compliance to track everything you do. Every two year period requires thirty hours of ongoing continuing education.

Also, you CAN’T have a CFP Certification if you’ve had any of these.

  • Felony conviction for theft, embezzlement or any other financial crime
  • Felony for tax fraud
  • Revocation of any professional license previously (with exceptions)
  • Felony conviction for any degree of murder or rape
  • Felony for a violent crime in the last 5 years.
  • Two or more bankruptcies (with exceptions)

So, except for a violent crime lasting 5 years on your record, anything else is a permanent block from ever being a CFP Designee.

Who would you rather work with on creating your financial action plan?

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CFP Designees provide the best advice

Do you understand why it’s worth looking for a CFP with all of that under their belt, compared to just a “Financial Advisor” (I hope you printed that URL off, because if so, you’re an Advisor now, too!)

My interest in studying financial planning by becoming a CFP Designee is to help individuals feel aware, secure, and prepared for retirement. The peace that comes from knowing you are acting and achieving your own goals financially is  powerful and strong that builds real confidence to act. I’m also motivated to become a CFP Designee because it is something that is universal and needed for everyone; this field is a way to help all individuals and therefore families too, no exceptions. A CFP designation gives strong support to show I can do comprehensive planning, and have dedication to providing value and accuracy.  Attendance at finance conferences, Financial Planning Association meetings, and volunteer work through my school’s student financial counselling centre, the Money Management Resource Centre, are all ways I’m becoming as knowledgeable I can for the benefit of those I will work for. Individuals need help on a vision, and then they can make the wise decision.

I want to help millennial entrepreneurs, newlyweds, dance teachers, college students, and the active high paced people of today to understand how their money works and how to keep their wealth from slipping through their fingers. People are scared of money, or worried about money. If they are cognizant then they can be confident. My goal is to become a reliable counsellor; I will be a planner to help others make educated choices to feel confident and prepared to reach their vision: bear hunting in Europe, having a large family, creating a company from scratch, or planning 40 years in advance for retirement.

– Jacob Johnson is a student of Personal Financial Planning at Utah Valley University, He is a member of the student Financial Planning Association there and enjoys competitive ballroom dance.

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– Thank you Rebekah White for the wonderful craftsmanship and help in editing and reviewing my writing. Thank you for helping me to be confident. Rebekah has a degree in Creative Writing and helps authors and individuals express their thoughts in more effective and clear methods using their own natural voice. * If you’d like contact to her please let me know!