Categories
Education Finances

A Question About Debt

There is a lot of discussion about how to handle student debt these days. When I came online this morning, I received the screenshot of the above tweet along with a question (abbreviated for clarity):

“I have $XX,XXX in student debt from a college that forced me to leave when I became pregnant. Despite the fact that they refused to allow me to attain my degree, they still charged me. I cannot complete my education until my debt is paid in full because my original college refuses to release my transcripts, and I cannot find a job that pays enough to eliminate the debt without that degree. What can I do?”

I don’t know. I volunteered to write this post in hopes of finding someone who does.

Debt is growing ever more common in our society. In the second quarter of 2019, consumer debt was listed at $13.86 trillion. While I refuse to get into the reasons behind this massive number, today I would like to ask you a question:

Can we fix this? And if we can, HOW?

I think we can all agree that the debt situation has become a problem. Student debt alone has reached the point where politicians are using it as a weapon to gain more votes.

The book Plutocrats even discusses how people in the finance industry have profited from this debt. In an earlier post, I even discussed the multi-million dollar paycheck that a single CEO in the credit card industry has attained.

Back in the age that the Old Testament of the Bible was written, Israelites were ordered to cancel all debts of their fellow man every seven years. The text excludes foreigners, but Deuteronomy 15:1-6 is a fascinating solution to the issue of debt at hand. Here is a direct quote from the start of the passage:

“At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.” – Deuteronomy 13:17, NIV

For the record, I do not have debt. Therefore, I feel that I have no right to contribute to this discussion. That said, the massive amounts of debt that our populace has incurred warrants attention.

If you could propose a solution to the massive amount of debt our nation’s populace is facing, what would you propose and why? Please share your answers in the comments below.


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Education Goals Inspiration

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING

One semester down; 19 to go.

We can do 19 semesters.

When I shared that fact with my daughter Katie (who is studying for her Bachelor’s in Health Science now), she announced that it sounded so much easier that way. She had been a bit depressed at the fact that she just committed four years of her life to not only working full-time, but studying full-time as well.

Unlike my Katie, I am only capable of going to college on a half-time course load. The thought of taking four years to acquire a two-year degree would be depressing but 19 semesters?

I can do 19 semesters.

To monitor my progress, I decided to take the suggestion of reader Belinda to heart. She used a five-year journal to keep track of her progress as she stopped smoking and sorted some health issues. I decided to follow her lead and use the multi-year journal format to keep track of both my long and short-term goals. With each passing year, I will be able to look back and see how far I’ve come.

It will help me gain perspective when I feel as if I’m not making any progress.

How do you maintain a positive perspective as you work towards your goals? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Education Life Success

How to Defeat Panic and Accomplish Your Goals

My daughter and I started college this past Thursday. We woke up bright and early to eat breakfast before we got started.

Katie began to cook while I turned on some relaxing classical music. After a brief phone call from Auntie wishing us a happy first day of college, we talked quietly as we ate before settling down in our spots to begin our studies.

I felt my chest tighten the moment I saw the tasks listed in this week’s unit. There was a list of items to read, a video that was suggested to watch, and a number of assignments to complete.

It is easy to become overwhelmed when we start a new project. Our mind gravitates to the big picture and we feel fear as that little voice inside of us screams that we’ll never get it done.

We’ll fail, so why should we even bother trying?

While our lizard brain is trying to protect us, it doesn’t understand is that we don’t have to do everything at once. We don’t have to complete everything in an instant.

All we have to do is focus on one step at a time and plod our way through. We are certain to reach the end as long as we keep walking.

The hardest part is getting through that first moment of terror.

My mind was screaming. What in hell were you thinking?!? There is no possible way you can do this on top of your job and everything else! You are going to fail, just like you failed the other times. You’re just throwing your money away and wasting your time. Quit now while you’re ahead!

I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and waited for the moment to pass. Fortunately for me, this isn’t my first rodeo. When I left my husband I had no clue how I would survive. While I accepted the panic, I picked one thing and got to work.

Since then I’ve managed to raise my kids and build a successful writing business. I’ve accomplished other things during that time as well. While I may not know just how I’ll manage this new project, I know I will do just fine.

I just have to focus on the next step.

The very first thing I needed to do was download all of my reading materials. Once that was complete, I selected the reading assignment at the top of the list and got started.

One by one I went down that list. I didn’t worry about the next step; there wasn’t any point in worrying about it until I reached it. Before I knew what was happening I had reached my first written assignment.

While I may be discussing a college class in this post, the knowledge I used to get through this first week can be applied to anything we want to achieve in life.

The steps are simple:

  1. Close your eyes and allow yourself to breathe through that moment of panic.
  2. Determine the very first step you need to take.
  3. Focus exclusively upon that step until it is accomplished.
  4. Determine the next step and repeat #3.

Don’t worry about the big picture. It will only make you insane if you do. Just focus on the task that is immediately in front of you.

The journey will take care of itself.

If you have a friend who feels overwhelmed, take a moment to share this post with them. You may be helping them achieve greatness.

On another note, I recently signed up all of my books for the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale, that occurs during the entire month of July. Every single book I have listed there will be offered for free or at a significant discount so I urge you to take advantage of the opportunity. You can find my profile here.

Categories
Education self-improvement Success

How to Deal With the Demon of Doubt

After a long night at work I returned home to discover a surprise in my inbox:

“Congratulations! We are excited to inform you that your application has been reviewed and you can start studying at UoPeople in the upcoming term!”

I sat and stared at that email for an hour. I was accepted? Just like that?

They’re joking, right?

I logged into the website. It was real. While they were still processing the paperwork I’d submitted to prove that I was fluent in the English language, I had been accepted to study at their University.

I thought I would be excited. I thought I would shout my happiness to the entire world.

But I wasn’t.

I was terrified.

What in the world do you think you’re doing? My demons raged. You just committed two to four years of your life to acquiring a stupid piece of paper! By the time you get done, you’ll be so old that no one will want to hire you in an office job so you’re just throwing your money away. Just think! That $2,000 could be invested and net you about $200 a year! And just where do you think you’re going to get the time to do this, missy? You’ve got your job, your writing business, your personal investment studies…there is NO WAY you can handle all of this! It’s not like you haven’t tried before. How many times have you failed college in the past when you were younger and had the energy to spare? You’re too tired, you’re too old, and you’re too broke to even think about doing something this stupid. Stop chasing the rainbows!

Doubt = Fear

Every single doubt that we have is simply fear coming to the surface. Every single doubt comes from the negative words people have said to us in the past.

“You’re great at starting stuff but you never follow through; if it wasn’t for me you’d starve.”

“It’s a shame that child was even born. With the parents she was stuck with she’ll never amount to anything.”

“You might have book sense but you don’t have a bit of common sense.”

“I don’t know why you even bother; it’s impossible to get rich so you might as well enjoy what you’ve got right now!”

“You need to stop working so hard and get a good man to take care of you.”

The words may be different but the damage is the same. You internalize those doubts and every time you discover an opportunity to better yourself they come back to haunt you. They force you to question yourself just long enough for the opportunity to pass and you end up wishing that you’d made the leap too late.

How to Conquer the Demon of Doubt

While you may not be able to silence the demons completely there is something you can do to minimize their trauma.

All you have to do is analyze their objections one by one.

Two thousand dollars may net me $200 a year in passive income but a degree can help me acquire a job that pays considerably more than I can earn right now. Jobs that require an Associate’s Degree start at around $24,000 a year in this area. That is 150% more than my current wage. If I invest most of that extra 150% I will more than compensate for the loss of passive income now.

Two thousand dollars would allow me to escape the drudgery of manual labor. Considering how badly my shoulder aches after a busy day scanning at the register, how my feet sometimes swell painfully after my shifts, and the varicose veins that are starting to form on one leg, my body needs that reprieve. It may even allow me to extend my working years even further. Many of my compatriots aren’t physically able to continue doing manual labor into their 70s. Considering how hard I’ve used my body, there is a good chance I won’t be able to either. Because of this, if I don’t spend $2,000 now, the odds are high that another injury will doom me to spending the rest of my life begging for Disability payments.

I have no desire to spend my sunset years in poverty.

I’ve become so adept at managing my time that I know I am capable of handling a single class. I may have less time to blog. I may have less time to work on my book. I may have less time to hang out with friends and chat but I am confident that I can carve out the time for a single class.

As for the reasons I failed in the past no longer apply. I no longer have to choose between my family and myself. I’ve enough income that I can afford to take a class or two a semester if I pare down my investments a bit. I’m even due for another review over the next month so my income may even go up a bit.

As for the length of time it would take to complete the degree program I have decided not to worry about that. Instead, I choose to focus on the step that’s right in front of me: a single class. I’ll worry about the next steps when I get there, content in the fact that eventually I will reach my objective.

What reasons do you use to knock the demon of doubt away in your life? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Education self-improvement Success

Winners are Losers Who Gave it One Last Try

I’ve failed many times over the years. I failed to be cautious one night and ended up pregnant with my first child.

I failed in my marriage.

I failed in my first business attempts.

I even failed in my first attempts to start a writing business.

But when I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and tried again, a future attempt inevitably led to success.

One of my myriad failures is concerning my education. I’ve failed several attempts at college. Every time I was forced to choose between my family and my education, my family won.

While I’ve consistently worked to educate myself using the materials I’ve had available, the dream of having an official college education never faded. While I’d not shared it on this website, I’d fully intended to make another attempt at college once I’d regained my financial freedom. I’d built in backup income streams to attain that goal. My plan was to eventually go into real estate as well as build up my writing business so that my income would not only continue to grow but I could pursue my dream of attaining a college education without money being a major concern.

The amazing thing about dreams and goals is that when you hold them close and work on them consistently, opportunities present themselves seemingly like magic.

The other night I encountered one of those opportunities. I stumbled upon the University of the People, an accredited online college that offers a number of degrees tuition-free. Students simply have to pay a $100 testing fee for the final exam in each course.

I ran the numbers in my head. Each semester is ten weeks long with five semesters in a year. Part-time students can take a single course each semester. By reserving $10 a week from my paycheck I could actually afford to go to college on my current income. If I reserved some money from next year’s income tax refund I may even be able to double up and take two classes starting next spring.

The concept was mind-blowing. I could afford to go to college right now! It would reduce the amount I have to invest each month, possibly change things so that I wouldn’t be able to actively invest on a monthly basis but that degree would open doors to higher paying jobs that are closed to me currently. I wouldn’t be able to invest as much in the short-term but in the long-term, the higher earning potential would more than make up the difference.

It would allow me to work smarter instead of harder as I trod the inevitable path towards my golden years.

I went to bed that night with a mind filled with possibilities. I tossed and turned as I analyzed the changes I would have to make to my current budget and schedule. As attractive as it seemed I didn’t want to leap in on an impulse. I’ve had my fill of impulsive failures.

Logic won out. While the thought of undertaking a multi-year journey towards a college degree is daunting I knew I could handle just one class. If I focused on just one class at a time instead of dwelling on the big picture I could attain my goal of a college education without driving myself insane.

That next morning I screwed up my courage and paid the application fee. While there is always a chance that I could be rejected at least I will know that I made the attempt.

I will know that I am still trying.

How do you deal with failure?

All of us have had failures in our lives. How we handle those failures defines us. Do we throw up our hands in surrender or do we step back, evaluate what we did wrong, and try again until we succeed?

When we’re presented with the opportunity to try again after a failure, do we allow it to pass by due to fear or do we seize that chance? Do we climb back on the horse after we’ve fallen off or do we resolve to never go riding again?

I am climbing back on the horse.

What are you going to do?

Categories
Education Finances Investments self-improvement Success

2019 Goal Update

I received a call on my day off from work yesterday, asking if I would come work for a couple of hours. I wasn’t thrilled at first but then I realized that those hours worked would take me a tiny bit closer to my goal.

I worked that short shift with a smile on my face.

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on my goals for this year. To recap, my goals were:

  • Have a will drawn up.
  • Get dentures
  • Get new eyeglasses
  • Get my driving permit/license
  • Determine job/career path for my next steps
  • Continue investing
  • Continue writing
  • Continue reading and learning
  • Change the stories I tell myself
  • Establish an official Emergency Fund account
  • Establish the habit of going to bed around 10pm and waking up around 6am

I placed one of my goals, acquiring dentures, on hold. I would like to avoid having my jawbone scraped (dentists occasionally have to level the bone so that dentures will fit properly), so I’ve decided to let Nature take its course for another year before I consider getting them. I’ve still got tiny little shards of bone working out of my gums; while normal, I’ve decided to wait as a result.

I’ve done some research concerning wills. I may be able to download a basic will on the Internet, make alterations as needed, and create one without the need to hire an attorney. A friend of mine is a Notary Public so I could make it official easily enough. That would save a small fortune should I decide to go that route.

I’ve made my optometrist appointment and gotten my insurance sorted. The place didn’t realize that they accepted my vision insurance at first, despite the fact that my insurance had them listed as a provider. I’ve reserved my copay from my income tax refund so I am on track to not only acquire glasses but to take the next step in my game plan–reacquiring my drivers license. While I don’t intend to purchase another vehicle at the moment I may have to at some point in the future. I want to be prepared for that eventuality.

Since I’ve recently received a promotion at work, I’ve decided to remain where I’m at for the moment. I want to see if I can eventually attain a full-time position there instead of finding another job. Since a full-time position there is only 35 hours a week, that would still allow plenty of time to pursue my other projects, which is a large concern should I find another job.

I’m still investing, studying, and writing. I’ve read 18 books so far this year; as long as I continue my progress throughout the remainder of the year I will consider this goal as attained.

Amazingly, the majority of my progress started once I began to change the stories I told myself. I allow myself to think about how my life will be once I attain my goals each night as I fall asleep; every morning before I climb out of bed I go through a small litany of affirmations as I restate my goal. When I begin to feel frustrated and overwhelmed, I take a moment to look at myself in the mirror to tell myself that I’m okay and that I can handle anything Life throws at me.

When I can’t look into a mirror I focus on the rage that has built up inside of me from decades of people who have called me worthless and crazy. I replay the day when Henry Walters, my old A.P. US History teacher, told me that I could do anything I set my mind to once I made the decision. I replay the times when my Dad encouraged me with those same words, then I pull out the coin from my very first investment and tell myself firmly that I will do whatever it takes to become wealthy just to prove the haters wrong.

The energy burst I receive from that helps me to power through.

While I’ve yet to completely acquire the habit of going to bed at 10 pm. and waking up at 6 am., I’ve managed to shift my bedtime to 11 pm. so that I wake up around 7 am. I’ve gotten to the point where I will begin to doze off if I try to ignore my bedtime so I’ve made a bit of progress in that area.

Yesterday I finally decided to bite the bullet concerning the Emergency Fund goal. I’ve been keeping the money in my checking account; I want to shift those funds into a savings account so that I can draw a bit of interest on the money as well as keep it completely separate from my primary account. I’ve had my debit card cloned in the past so I really needed to establish a financial buffer there. I started the process to open a savings account at my local bank yesterday to accomplish that goal.

Speaking of financial buffers, I’ve decided to take my Auntie’s advice since you agreed that it was a wise decision. I plan to acquire a credit card this year to not only build my credit but to use while making my daily purchases. I’ll keep you posted as I move forward on that plan.

To my surprise, I’ve made more progress on my annual goals so far this year than I have in any other year that I can recall. I’m not sure what the difference is but I’m definitely not going to complain!

How are you doing with your goals for this year? Nosey old biddies would like to know, so please share your stories in the comments below.

Hmm…that rhymed. I kinda like that :).

Have a nice day!

Categories
Education Finances Frugality Investments self-improvement Success

The Life of a Social Outcast

This past year has taught me that it is not socially acceptable to save money. It is not socially acceptable to want to educate yourself. And it is definitely not socially acceptable to spend your time pursuing your dreams.

With the exception of my auntie and a couple of friends I’ve been forced to go underground, to hide what I’m doing and who I truly am. The criticism has become too overwhelming. It’s gotten to the point where I’m forced to tell everyone that I am constantly broke just so they’ll leave me alone.

It’s no wonder so few people actually work towards their dreams. They are surrounded by a world that’s fighting to keep them down.

I don’t dare discuss my financial goals with my friends. I don’t dare discuss how I manage to save money every month to deposit towards my dreams. I stopped daring to discuss the books I read, since they look at me as if I’ve sprouted a second head when I mention books like Price Theory, Financial Management, or Sam Walton’s biography.

Most people around me read only fiction, if they read anything at all aside from Facebook posts. I’ve been called crazy to my face more than once for being happy that I scored a business book by checking the giveaways at the library.

Why is it crazy to want to educate myself and improve my life?

“You need to get your nose out of those books and start living!”

“You need to get away. Some friends and I are taking a trip to Florida. Why don’t you come with us? It’s only $700 to split the hotel room and gas. You can afford to cut loose!”

“Come out to the bar tonight after work. I’ll pick you up!”

“Ugh! You’re going to burn out your brain reading that stuff! Why do you even bother? You need to take your money and buy a car. Hey, wanna get your nails done? It’s only $35.”

“You work too much! All work and no play is making you boring! All you need to do is find a good man to take care of you; if you’d date for a change you wouldn’t have to work so hard! Seriously, you need to get a makeover so you can attract a man! And take that damned ring off your finger. You’re available!”

I find myself missing my former co-worker, Miss K, on a daily basis. She is a high-school student who noticed my inner battle.

“You’re going to be a secret millionaire.” She gazed at me with depthless eyes one evening as we shared a break together. “I can see it. They don’t understand but I do, and I admire you. And every day I see you sharing less because they just don’t get it. One of these days you’re going to make it, but don’t tell them that. You hide what you’re doing. It will make it easier.”

God I miss that child.

Perhaps in time I’ll make a friend who is as determined to succeed as I am, who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals but until then I’ll just go it alone. I’ve got to do this, not just for me, but to prove that even the poorest of the poor can achieve financial freedom if they truly want it.

Until then I’m just going to keep my fat mouth shut.

Do you have to hide too? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Education

The Reason I Read

Did you know that the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are the most risk-averse?

I didn’t until I started reading this book.

I always believed that successful entrepreneurs were the ones who leaped in, all hell-for-leather, burning their bridges behind them.

Come to find out, I’m completely wrong. They like to hedge their bets in all aspects of their lives.

Just like I do.

I’ve stuck with the low-wage jobs I have for a reason. I like the security of knowing that, if anything happened to my current position, it would be really easy to walk down the street and replace that income.

When I had my computer repair business I continued working in low-wage public jobs for security. I wanted to know that I always had a certain amount of income to live on even if my computer jobs dried up. The computer repair business served as a backup plan for my public job in the same manner and also gave me the confidence to stand up for myself with abusive managers.

I keep a safety net, a financial cushion that has saved my behind more than once over the years. Even now I’m hedging my bets in another manner. Instead of just counting on my book royalties to provide for my needs in the future I’m investing the income to provide yet another layer of security.

I’ve wondered many times over the years if I was being too cautious; too paranoid for my own good. Now, thanks to a random book I scooped up at the local library, I’ve discovered that maybe I’m not being paranoid.

Maybe I’m just being smart.

This is why I read. I read, not only to learn more about the world around me, but to learn more about myself in the process.

What are you reading today?

Categories
Education

Millionaire Women Next Door

Every night before I go to sleep I snuggle into my bed and read on a book for inspiration and research. Some evenings I may only manage to read a small section but on other nights I can manage a couple of chapters. My progress seems incredibly slow but that’s okay.

At least I’m making progress.

You see, I have one serious disadvantage, and I know it. I find it hard to even conceive of owning $60,000 (the ballpark amount I would like to invest), much less understand a lot of the terms that they use in finance. I’ve no idea how in the world I’m going to pull this off or anything else. By reading as much as I can, I will be able to immerse myself in the terms of money. I’ll learn about people who have managed to make their fortunes starting with very little for inspiration, and eventually I’ll use the knowledge to figure out a practical way to achieve my goal.

Millionaire Women Next Door, I decided, was a good place to start. I already had the book and I loved the first book in the series when I read it several years ago.

It was a good decision. This book was filled with stories of women from broken and abusive relationships who had managed to rise above their challenges and build a net worth of well over a million dollars. I discovered that these women weren’t penny pinchers, either; wealthy women end up being significantly more generous to family, friends, and strangers than men are. They also managed to live beneath their means by dressing simply, living in homes far simpler than we expect the wealthy to live in, and primarily presenting themselves as middle class to the world at large.

That tells me that I’m already making progress. I live beneath my means, I’m actively saving money, and I’m not discussing my goal with anyone aside from my beloved Auntie, who has become my cheering section. Since I would love to become successful enough in this project quickly enough that she’s still alive to spoil a bit, just hearing her voice on the phone inspires me to keep working.

The most inspirational part of this book concerned Brian. He wrote a letter to the author on loose-leaf paper. His story was so motivational that the author decided to include it in a book that focuses on females to demonstrate that anyone can truly become wealthy.

Brian was considered a “dummy” in school. Being dyslexic (doubtless before we coined a term for the disability), he was a failure in school. He started washing cars for a local business, graduated to running his own car-detailing business by focusing on the high-end cars that he loved.

He made quite a bit of money doing that and had the toys to show from it but he wasn’t happy. That was when he decided to take the advice of a frugal friend, who encouraged him to sell all of the toys and invest in a four-plex “so he could live for free.”

Despite being uneducated and having a learning disability, this man has real estate holdings worth over $5 million and has a personal net worth of $1.6 million dollars. Wow.

So what can this guy teach me? He showed me that if he can become successful despite his challenges, I can too. He reminded me of the stories my father used to tell me about the days when he owned apartment buildings. My father spent the majority of my childhood filled with regret because he sold his buildings after he hurt his leg when I was six. He told me numerous times throughout my childhood that he had never been s well off as he had been when he had owned those buildings. He had been able to live rent-free in one of the units; despite the fact that it had cost a lot of money in maintenance and repairs, he confessed that he had made a small fortune when he had them.

I’ve read many books over the years that encouraged people to invest in real estate. People will always need a place to stay; in this economy many cannot afford to save up the money needed for a down payment, especially with the high-consumption lifestyle that is prevalent. When you toss in the fact that many people prefer to move multiple times instead of staying in a single place, it points to the fact that real estate rentals can be a profitable business.

I’ll have to think about that.

Categories
Education Productivity

Bedtime Routine

Time is the one thing I never seem to have enough of. Between my public job, caring for my home, and writing I never seem to have enough time to pursue my self-education goals.

While I read on my days off and on my breaks at work my progress was annoyingly slow. It took weeks to finish a single book and I watched my reading list grow longer with frustration.

One evening I collapsed into bed, exhausted from my shift at work. It was one of those nights where you desperately need sleep but your mind refuses to allow you the luxury. I snagged my current book off the shelf in hopes of settling my mind. As I snuggled down to read a memory from my childhood surfaced.

While I was in the second grade I ended up with a copy of The Wizard of Oz thanks to the local RIF program. I adored that book. Every night I would snuggle in bed and read several chapters before I fell asleep. I probably re-read that book a dozen times before I moved on to another.

Filled with warm fuzzies from the memory I read a couple of chapters in my current book before Morpheus began tapping on my shoulder. I ended up dozing easily and woke up refreshed the next morning.

Since then I have altered my bedtime routine. Instead of checking my email and trying to write a bit more before bed I now turn on some relaxing music and snuggle up with my current book. My reading progress has skyrocketed as a result.

Not only have I managed to increase the amount of reading I do my sleep quality has improved with the change in routine. Instead of tossing and turning restlessly, I now fall asleep easily and wake up refreshed.

Do you have a bedtime routine? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Education

The College Path

Last year a friend of mine decided to attend college. He wants to increase his education so that he can get a better paying job. I’ve encouraged him in this endeavor by assisting him with technical difficulties when his computer messed up and by acting as a sounding board when he doubts his ability to continue.

He stopped in at my job the other day filled with news about his latest semester. I listened, happily enraptured at the sheer excitement he displayed. His eyes sparkled, his voice resonated; his whole being reflected a new power and confidence as he shared his journey with me that day.

“You should go to college too,” he finally admonished me. “You’re not dumb yet you’re wasting your life for minimum wage. You can do so much better than that. Just think of the job you could get with a degree!”

I gave him a secret smile. “I might not be in college but I am increasing my education,” I shared. “However, my goal doesn’t require a degree at the moment. If that ever changes, I’ll definitely give it some serious consideration.”

What my friend doesn’t realize is that my goal is a bit different than his. While he wants a better paying job, I simply want financial freedom. I’ve worked out a way to achieve that and started taking definitive steps in that direction. He’d probably be surprised if he discovered that my personal course of study includes college textbooks such as these:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have no issues against going to college; I feel that it is a very laudable goal to have. I’ve even written here that I’d like to graduate college at some point in my lifetime but the fact is that I prefer to achieve my freedom more.

I can do that without an official college education.

I am very thankful of the fact that my friend thinks enough of me to actively encourage me to better myself. While I wish that he understood that I’m already in the process of doing just that (by taking a different path), his concern warmed my heart as I finished my shift that night.

Do you have any friends who care for you enough to encourage you to better yourself? Please share your stories in the comments below.