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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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Get The Job. 3 Sure-Fire Ways to Impress (Before You Ask For The Job)

Before you can make smart financial decisions, you need to have money. Why not explain how to get the job?

My Friend, Larry, asked me the other day if I knew anything about resumes. I told him SURE! Let me get you a good template and some other fun things. I helped him and reviewed his resume. He got a job interview. He got the job. Here are 3 tips to getting that job.

Three Things: Resume, Elevator Speech, Good Knowledge

Resume

First, you need your resume to look desirable. A Good Resume has the following information
1) Your contact information
2) Your Purpose Statement
3) A Skills/Qualifications list
4) Your Work Experience
5) Your Education Experience

They need to each be relevant and overall your Resume should never ever ever ever eeevveeerr be longer than 1 page. This is why.

“When I hired at JCPennys and Home Depot, I’d receive hundreds of applications for a single job opening. Anything over 1 page I threw away.” -Dana Johnson, Store Manager

Employers have no time for your lack of brevity and concision. Heck, If this was more than 800 words long, you probably wouldn’t read this article! You probably thought “It’s 3 things to get hired. I can do three things”. Click-Bait at its finest. (You can join my click-bait mailing list here. #ShamelessAdvertising)

Elevator Speech

The elevator speech: “Hello, My name is Jacob Johnson and I’m a student of Personal Financial Planning at Utah Valley University. I get excited about connecting people to their finances. I study tax planning, insurance risk, and retirement planning so that I can help others to see their big financial picture. As a Counselor and President at the Money Management Resource Center, a free services for students, I help individuals and couples with student loans, debt management, budgeting, and general financial questions.

Would you stop by our office in the Woodbury Business building to see how we can help you feel more at peace with your finances?”

The good elevator speech has 3 important factors:

The Introduction– Which is why I’m here
“I get excited about connecting people to their finances. I study tax planning, insurance risk, and retirement planning so that I can help others to see their big financial picture.”
The Explanation– What you’re doing about your dream
“As a Counselor and President at the Money Management Resource Center, a free services for students, I help individuals and couples with student loans, debt management, budgeting, and general financial questions.”
The Invitation– Tell them what you want them to do (Often times, this is in the form of a question or request)
“Would you stop by our office in the Woodbury Business building to see how we can help you feel more at peace with your finances”

Now your invitation could be different: it could be a request for an interview, requirements about the internship, or consideration to hire you or give you an internship.

Research Them

Last, you need to know the company! You should know some history about them, where they started, their mission statement, and maybe a little bit about where you want to be in their company.

I’d recommend also getting some good questions to ask. How do you get business, How do people climb the ladder, What are the requirements to move up, How frequently do you hire… Just make sure that you’re asking good questions that demonstrate your excitement and knowledge about working in that industry. This will make it easy and natural to talk to them regardless of path; email, phone call, in person, etc.

“You sound a thousand times more intelligent when you have prepared intelligent and meaningful (but not overly complicated) questions… when I was assistant manager…I got to sit in and help interview people. And let me tell you, you seem significantly more prepared, intelligent and eager for the job when you prepare a few questions.” – Flia

What are some of your best moves to make sure you get the job? Share it below!

Join the Facebook group to tag along with the community!

-Jacob Johnson
The Financial Ginger

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The Financial BlabberMouth
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Visions Part 3: Brain to Paper – 3 Places to Start

“How about… idea streaming? Like when you have this massive goal in mind but no idea how to get there. How to break it down into achievable components.” – Athena M.

Idea Streaming: From Brain to Paper

Thanks Athena!

Some of you have emailed me telling you that you don’t even know where to start with getting your ideas from mind to paper. We need that vision statement! You have sent me so many wonderful visions. Here are 3 ideas that I’ve personally used to write my vision statement.

1) Personal Relationships!

A good place to start is with those who you know well, whom you trust, and family members. Try to ask them these types of questions:

“What are some things I’ve always been good at?”
“What careers do you see me working in?”
“How do I communicate with people?”
“What is my biggest strength?”
“What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen me do?”
“Why can’t I become a professional Oreo eater?”

And why not ask yourself some questions, nothing is more personal than yourself.

Think of your Core being:
What is your purpose?
How will you find peace in life?
What are things that really amaze and inspire you?
What do you always enjoy, even when you’re tired?
What do you believe is possible for you?
What is your biggest limiting belief?
If you left tomorrow forever, what what you have wanted to do today?
Here are a few question lists to get you thinking:

Get To Know Yourself: 29 Questions to Discover the Real You

20 Questions to Know Yourself Better and Unlock the Immense Potential Within

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/08/06/5-ways-to-get-to-know-yourself-better/

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/getting-to-know-yourself-what-you-like-and-what-you-want-in-life/

2) Think Categories and Goals

This is my favorite way to do things.
I organize things into 5 categories

1) Physical (Food/Exercise)
2) Emotional (Relationships/Feelings)
3) Spiritual
4) Educational (Learning/ Occupational)
5) Financial

If you consider these 5 categories and where you want to be with each one, or where you can improve, or skills you already have in that area, you can learn alot.

3) Tests!

Okay, So maybe I lied. This is my favorite. I’ve taken sooooo many personality tests. I loved the ones in 8th grade that would say, “You could be a great Accountant or Firefighter.”

Here are some of my FAVORITE personality tests:

Myers&Briggs Test: I’m an ENFP (Extrovert, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving), But I score really close to a Thinker (instead of a Feeler). I’m basically 100% on Extrovert.

ColorCode Test: I’m a Yellow: I inject shots of enthusiasm and optimism. I’m charismatic, spontaneous, and sociable. (Pretty much everyone loves me. It’s a fact: look it up)

Strengths Finder 2.0: see your top skills: I’m an Includer (Involve EVERYONE), Maximizer (Make pieces better), “Woo” (I want people to like me), Ideation (breaking down ideas into pieces), Communication (I tell people things). You can see this influence my vision statement. This test also comes with 3 sections: 1) awareness, 2) Application: with 10 action items for each, 3) Achievement: Quotes and what success sounds like for each of your top skills.

HowToFascinate: This is a great test that gives you some adjectives that describe you along with  a primary and secondary “Advantage”. I’m a Trendsetter: Innovation and Prestige are my “Advantages”. Cutting edge, Elite, Progressive, Imaginative, Edgy. This test, for a price, can give you pages of data about power words, how to explain yourself, and ways to utilize that in a business sense.

Culture Index (INC): I don’t know where to find this test, but I took one when I applied for a job and was emailed a printout of it. It gave me an ABCD score, an EU score, and an LI score which I have no idea what is. This test talks about how you work with individuals and companies. “Self-Reliant, Initiator, Effective with Setting my own priorities, quick paced and likes to handle problems right when they arise even if it means multitasking…” and other valuable information.
My favorite gem is this: “Prefers to delegate the completion of tasks to others, but is capable of limited attention to detail.” This is true! I start 100 things and finish 12 of them… and get my little sister to finish 4 of them, my brother to do 3, and my roomate to do 6 more. The rest are forgotten and eventually dumped into the pit, like in the movie “Inside Out”.

DISC: I’m an Influencer- I like to collaborate and dislike being ignored in teams and groups. There are four types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness. This provides insights in how you work with team.

These tests are vital in crafting out information about yourself. Did I miss any? Let me know if there are others you like, and I’ll update this list.

Last Thoughts

An online place to organize your thoughts like Mindmeister or another website could be great for organizing or laying out your thoughts. It’s a difficult task, but is worth it. then, make that vision board, write that personal vision statement, and utilize them daily to accomplish you.

why?

Because knowing yourself and your goals is the first step in getting your money to work properly. It’s also they key to happiness. When your Money and your Dreams align, you will be happy.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, your vision board, your vision statement, or your test results for any of these tests! Maybe I’ll feature you on my website or in an article (with permission of course).

Happy Financing!

-Jacob Brad Johnson
The Financial Ginger

OnACouch
Drive a couch down the street! #GoalAccomplished
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Money and Happiness: Experiences VS “Plastic Crap”

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Artist: Crystal Johnson

Have you ever had the thought, “I wish I had something to look forward to!”? When that thought occurs, what are you really wishing for? Are you hoping for a fun experience, or are you hoping for a new toy?

A Trait of Happy People

Happy people buy experiences, not objects. “[A] wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”[1] Throughout your life, people will say anything to get you to buy their product. They try to lure you in by telling you their product is the latest trend, or the item most worth your money. When these thoughts come, remember that your money is your tool to living the life that you want to live.

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Experiencing Dinosaurs: I’m the Kid in the Blue Soccer Jersey

Some Professional Opinions

“If you’re a materialistic individual and life suddenly takes a wrong turn you’re going to have a tougher time recovering from that setback.”[2] Materialistic people who turn to shopping or other types of spending are “likely to [experience] even greater stress and lower well-being.”[3]

Individuals who focus their life on financial success are more likely to have problems adjusting to life and also are likely to have lower well-being.

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Klondike: Bobsled Competition for Boy Scouting
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Experiencing Canoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Importantly, it affects our satisfaction with life. Ed Diener, Happiness expert and psychology professor at the University of Illinois said that “[materialism] is open-ended and goes on forever—we can always want more, which is usually not true of other goals such as friendship”.[4]

Basically, Spend your money where it counts. Material things are a necessity, but moderation can help you to live a more fulfilling life.

Need, Want, Luxury.

There is a simple scale called: Need, Want, Luxury. You need transportation to and from work. You want to drive a car. A luxury  for me might be to drive a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage (okay, weak sauce, but that’s the car I want to drive. That baby gets like 42 MPG!) (Okay, it may not be a luxury topping out at about $8,000).

You may be able to fulfill your need with public transportation to work, maybe you live close enough to school or work that a bicycle will do. The Important part is that your basic needs are fulfilled.

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My Needs Are Filled: Everything Extra is Icing. Don’t Let Icing Distract You From The Cake

After that, your money is Discretionary. Carl Richards, of Behaviour Gap, asks if we really do connect what is important to us and how we spend our money.[5] What is most important to you? Why do you spend the way you do? Do your spending habits come from your community, your parents, or others? That’s probably a strong source of where your money discontentment comes from. How will you change that?

Spend money on things you value, but also on experiences. Valuable experiences can often seem to be counter-intuitive when considering the cost. I recently got a gym membership. I have a free gym at my school, It’s just as nice or nicer than the gym my membership is at. Why would I pay when I have a free gym? It’s worth paying for that membership because of the experience it is with my two childhood friends. The three of us go and have a good laugh, some good lifting, and a friendship that pays me not in money, but in physical health and friendship.

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Volunteering with Hot Air Balloons

 

DanceWBekah
   Competitive Ballroom Dance

Science and Money-Happiness

You will be happier if you spend money on things you can experience, but people “still choose to spend their money on material items because they think they’re of greater value.”[6]

Experiences have the power to make us happier. According to researcher Mr. Killingsworth,

“Minds tend to wander to dark, not whimsical, places. Unless that mind has something exciting to anticipate or sweet to remember.” Doctoral Candidate Amit Kumar’s research showed “when you can’t live in a moment, they say, it’s best to live in anticipation of an experience. Experiential purchases like trips, concerts, movies, et cetera, tend to trump material purchases because the utility of buying anything really starts accruing before you buy it.”[7]

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Boat! (Or Getting Stuck)
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 Touring New York
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Pyramid On Top of a Mountain
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Visiting an Indian Reservation
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Removing 400 Cubic Yards of a Forest at a Women’s Shelter in Gore, New Zealand

My Story

I remember being on the beach in New Zealand, standing with my Samoan friend as we watched an airplane fly directly over our head, yet again. Old bricks from houses built during the Great War scattered the seashore. This was the happiest moment of my life. My time, my effort, and my money were devoted to the experiences I wanted to create. I had decided to participate in a ministry for two years. I was a volunteer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I met with other ministers to try to grow religious involvement in communities, taught lessons and scripture classes with groups and in the homes of families, and actively participated in service projects – vandalism clean up, fence and trail repair, service in soup kitchens, and horseback riding lessons for the disabled were among the many service projects I participated in.

Aside from a green-stone necklace from a dear friend, a few lavalavas, and some Weetabix All Blacks collector cards, I’m not sure I have any tangible souvenirs from that experience; my memories of sitting on a beach with my Samoan friend and watching countless airplanes fly directly overhead offer me some of the greatest and happiest memories of my life.

If you’re going to devote your time, effort and money toward something, wouldn’t you rather it be an experience that may bring anticipation, excitement, and prolonged joyful remembrance? Consider that next time you’re about to buy what I call “plastic crap” or non-essential material things.

Next week I’ll talk about some techniques for crafting your own personal vision so you can start aligning your values and money and avoid the “plastic crap” mind-set.

Jacob Johnson
-Jacob is a fidget-er who is always changing things, He spends his time making vision boards, experiencing things, and perusing business cards from years ago. If you want to add to his business card collection, send him one!

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Articles:

Experiences Vs Crap Design by Crystal Johnson.

[1] Hamblin, James. “Buy Experiences, Not Things.” The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/buy-experiences/381132/

[2] Ruvio, A., Somer, E. & Rindfleisch, A. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2014) 42: 90. doi:10.1007/s11747-013-0345-6,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/materialism-health-effects_n_4344056.html

[3] Ruvio, A., Somer, E. & Rindfleisch, A. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2014) 42: 90. doi:10.1007/s11747-013-0345-6
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/materialism-health-effects_n_4344056.html

[4] Diener, Ed. “6 Reasons Why People – Not Things – Will Make You Happier.” The Huffington Post, 2 December 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/materialism-health-effects_n_4344056.html

[5] Richards, Carl. “Do Your Values Align with Your Money & Time?” Behavior Gap, 22 April, 2015, www.behaviorgap.com/do-your-values-align-with-your-money-time/

[6] “Proof That Life Experiences — Not Things — Make You Happier.” The Huffington Post, 3 April 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/life-experiences-happier-material-things_n_5072591.html

[7] Hamblin, James. “Buy Experiences, Not Things.” The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/buy-experiences/381132/

 

Here are A Bunch of other Experiences!

 

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Publications from Searcy

While I was at Searcy Financial Services. I had the chance to publish several articles for Allos Investment Advisors. Here are some of the works!

I hope you can find people that could benefit from these to share them with! Please let me know if any of them catch your eye and your stories!

intern-insight-1-cheshire-catintern-insight-5-experiences-vs-numbersintern-insight-6-ups-and-downsintern-insight-7-save-now-thank-laterinterninsight-2-budgetinterninsight-3-start-now-to-retireinterninsight-4-habits-start-smallSFSJacob (4)