After this article is published, I will have written 7 articles for C.O.R.E. Magazine this summer. We have discussed my financial delusions as a child, the importance of saving money, the value in understanding financial concepts, employment struggles of teenagers and the dangers of student loans and credit. This summer, my goal was for our readers to slowly implement my advice into their daily lives for the same reason English teachers issue summer reading assignments or athletic coaches issue summer workout plans, conditioning. The fact is if a student goes an entire summer without reading, the transition back to the rigors of an English class can be challenging. The same goes for an athlete that plays video games all summer while eating Little Debbie cakes on the couch. Coaches can use practice time more effectively if they do not have to worry about the conditioning of their athletes. In regards to finance, if a student can begin exercising financial discipline during the summer break, they are better prepared to continue those habits when school begins. Summer break is a more controlled environment for students to regain focus as compared to the beginning of the school year.
During the summer, students are mostly around other students who are relatable. They attend summer camps with people they like to be around such as family, friends and teammates. Implementing something new is always easiest in a controlled environment. When musicians write a new song, they tend to want to play it for a close acquaintance before introducing the tune to the public. Gymnasts and cheerleaders attempt new stunts with assistance from spotters before attempting a new stunt independently. C.O.R.E. magazine readers have had all summer to begin improving their financial literacy in a controlled environment, and now it’s time for the training wheels to come off during the month of August!
Many of you are returning to school this month. Therefore, your social activities not only include family, friends and teammates. They also include the gossiping girl from home room, the swag snatcher from English and the flirty cheerleader who has goo-goo eyes for your dude. Few people desire to be financially savvy under these conditions, unfortunately this is reality. Adults are often faced with the decision to either “keep up with the Jones’s” or to be conscience of more substantial responsibilities, such as properly funding their retirement accounts. The harsh reality is that the older you get the more complex the environment in which these decisions have to be made. So, if this summer was practice, August begins the season, and adulthood is the championship game.
Don’t approach the upcoming school year the same as school years of the past. Set your own rules and standards. Last week I heard an iHeart Radio commercial in which Lil Wayne was being interviewed about his image. In the interview he said that people often criticize him for trying to be different. Wayne’s rebuttal was that he actually is deliberate about being himself, and in a world where standardization is often popular, this ideal is what makes him different. Being your self is an essential principle to achieving financial freedom.
In high school and briefly in college, I was a member of the track team. My specialty was the 400 meters, a race that has varying strategies. Faster runners can pace themselves for the first 200 to 250 meters with the intention of reserving energy, enabling them to use their superior speed to pass the other runners in the last 150 to 200 meters of the race. Slower runners with more endurance often get out fast, running the first 300 meters much faster than the other competitors in hopes of building an insurmountable lead early in the race. Lastly, there are runners that are a hybrid of the two aforementioned categories. Their race is a lot more strategic. The hybrid runners run the first 100 meters hard, coast the next 200 meters, regain momentum at the 300 meter mark and fight for dear life the last 100 meters in hopes that their efficiency will lead them victorious. Whether you are a speedster, the endurance specialist or the hybrid, the key to maximizing your potential as a 400 meter runner is to run your own race.
I know it’s important to many of our readers to be a “back to school beauty” or a “homecoming hottie” or be “French class fresh”. Before you go wasting a whole summer’s savings on impressing people who have no interest in your success or people who don’t even like you, remember the financial foundation we have set this summer. This school year, as you work to balance new financial goals, extracurricular activities and social events, remember to run your own race. Winning the money game is the only option, so approach it with laser like focus and the intensity of a linebacker. Now let’s bring it in.. On three…ONE, TWO, THREE GAME TIME WOOOO!!!!