Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

New year is bringing some new worries.

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  • #870030 Reply
    avatarHunter
    Member

    Happy new year, new decade, how y’all doing?

    So I passed every class this past semester, yay, and if I keep that up I’ll be saying goodbye to high school on May 22. But, I can’t help but be just a tiny bit worried about what’s to come afterwards.

    You see, my plan for right now is to move to Kauai, to attend community college for 2 years and obtain an associate in business science degree. I’ll be working at summer pals again this coming summer to add another g to my savings, and cause I really liked the job last year. But by at least July 25, I plan to jump on the plane.

    What I’m worried about is if I’m gonna make it financially. Minimum wage is $10.10/hour, which is criminally low if you want to do anything or get anywhere in life, and that is ALL I’ll be able to get into my wallet for a while, and not even full-time because I’ll be in fucking college.

    I legit feel like the only thing I can do to bring myself somewhere respectable financially is to do shady and low stuff like sell pot. I don’t wanna go to jail, or end up screwing someone up, but what else is there? Invest my savings into the stock market and risk losing it, no thanks! At least not until I have cash I’m not scared to lose that is.

    You see, up until I was 8 years old , my family was rolling. My dad had a drywall construction business called “Z-Rock”, my mom worked as an assistant in a dentist’s office during the day, and as a waitress at a fancy Italian restaurant in our neighborhood at night. We were pulling in around 70K a year, being able to afford the most expensive cable/DirecTV package, going on frequent outings and trips, and bought nice/expensive stuff.

    Unfortunately moving into Molokai kinda messed that up. We did fine for about 2 or 3 years until my dad quit flying back over to Kauai to work drywall and started getting into drugs, later causing my parents to split.

    Ever since then, I’ve wanted to bring that kinda prosperity into my own family someday. But from what I see and hear from people, you’re either rich and live somewhere nice like Kailua, Mililani, Hawaii Kai, or Princeville, or your poor and live in the hood like Waianae, Waimanalo, or Kohala.

    It’s like, what if my degree can’t help me find a good job? People have said to me that you can’t get a good job with an associate. I don’t wanna be stuck in the hood.

    Please tell me I’m worried for nothing, that if I keep at it I’m gonna prosper, I need that to be true. Also, sorry if this is too long for ya.

    #870032 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    No, you’re not worried for nothing. You have good reason to be concerned about your future.

    I think you’re saying you’re going to have several hundred dollars saved by next summer, and that’s going to have to cover a plane ticket, rent deposit, and registration fees and books. And that you plan to work while you’re in school to pay for both your classes and your living expenses? Is that right?

    Just… no way. That’s not going to be feasible. You would either need to be living rent-free at home or with a relative, or take out student loans, or both.

    If you lived at home, took out modest loans to cover the cost of classes, worked a job for extra money to supplement, AND majored in something like computer science or medical where you’d be able to get a good job pretty quick, this would all be fine.

    Another option could be the military.

    Or trade school.

    Or sell drugs and go to jail and get your 3 hots and a cot and study up on legal stuff while you’re inside.

    #870034 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    As for the stock market, as soon as you start working, you absolutely should invest some percentage of every paycheck in a 401k or Roth IRA. I know that (I don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to say “poor”) people have the impression that investing is like gambling and you can lose everything. But if you start investing young and have your accounts set for the right level of risk, that’s how you end up with a secure retirement. You don’t pull your money out when the market is bad, because that’s when your funds can pick up valuable securities at low cost so that when the market improves you’ll do really well. I started investing in a Roth and a 401k in my 20s and have a lot of money now in my retirement portfolio. Sure it took a dip in 2008 but it came back.

    #870037 Reply
    avatarHunter
    Member

    Cool. I’m actually practicing with a stock market simulator in my business directed studies class. My teacher thinks I’ll be boss at this so she’s had me on it since like September.

    Also, I am filling out applications for scholarships right now to pay for school, both in school and in an after school college prep program I go to once a month.

    Yeah, I have the entire year cut out for me, don’t I?

    #870038 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    A scholarship would be great if you could get it. Another thing that would be good is if you could transfer to a 4-year school after your associate’s.

    You should definitely qualify for financial aid too… single mom, low income. Right? And some loans for the rest. You can do this, but it’s NOT realistic to think you’re going to rent a house or something while you’re in college. Either live at home or in a multiple-roommate situation.

    #870043 Reply
    avatarHelen
    Guest

    You need to live at home while you go to school. No way you can afford rent while going to school full time. After 2 years at community college you should finish up a bachelor’s degree at a 4 year college. My son graduated high school last may. He started at a community college last fall. He only did one semester. We don’t have the money for him to continue. But we make too much to qualify for more aid. He’s probably joining the military. I don’t like it but its probably his best option. I used to believe that anyone who wanted to go to college could. Just get a loan. Sadly it’s not that simple. And we’re middle class! We’re definitely not poor. Work all that you can. More money gives you more options

    #870044 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    Also, Hunter, keep in mind that that lifestyle you had when you were younger probably wasn’t really prosperity. If your parents were maybe saving for your college with a 529 plan, had an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, good health insurance, relatively debt-free, and were able to save for retirement, that would be great. Simply making a decent income and buying expensive things isn’t affluence. It could be a very tenuous situation.

    #870058 Reply
    avatarHunter
    Member

    Good to know. My mom always says we were like… rolling back then, and that we were blue collar. What does that mean, exactly?

    I applied for FAFSA back in the Fall for next year, and it said I’d get $6500, out of the 15 Gs that KCC cost.

    KCC does partner with apartment complexes in Lihue. Either that, or this new low income housing project they’re building in Koloa.

    Also, this has nothing to do with anything, but I’m also exercising more. Running down the road, hiking up the mountain, swimming at the pool, doing pull ups on the jungle gym at the park, and doing push-ups/sit-ups at home. So I can lose this pot belly and start building some guns finally.

    #870060 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    Blue collar traditionally meant trades where you’d wear a work uniform. Literally, blue collar. While professional office types would wear a white dress shirt – hence white collar. Blue collar trades would not require a college degree. Trade school or apprenticeship, like plumber, electrician, construction.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-collar_worker

    You may have been relatively “rolling,” as far as income, but it’s not affluence if you’re not saving anything. Your parents could have made $250k and not been affluent, if they were living beyond their means and not saving and taking on lots of debt.

    #870062 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    As a dental assistant, your mom was “pink collar.”

    #870063 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    And $6500 is almost half of what the school would cost, which is awesome. Scholarships and a loan would cover the rest. That would be a VERY modest loan.

    #870064 Reply
    avatarHunter
    Member

    Thanks for your help Late. I know I can come of annoying coming here all the time.

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