Christine H. – Oxford Academy

Success is like an iceberg. At the surface, you see a prodigious lump of shimmering ice. It is the portion where the wealth, the beauty, the fame lies. People look up to others, aspiring to obtain these fantastic goals one day; but what they do not realize is that beneath the ocean line is the darker, much more unpleasing half of the iceberg. What people do not realize is that in order to create that stunning ice, it takes hard work, persistence, dedication, good habits, as well as failures, disappointments, and sacrifices. Each one of these are factors inherent in any goal you are trying to reach. When I first heard about this metaphor at the NuVision Federal Credit Union’s financial workshop, it really struck me. I too have been one of these individuals who gazed at other successful individuals in awe, dreaming to one day become as great as they are but not really understanding the difficulties they had gone through. For instance, at the financial workshop, we were introduced to a girl who was born in poverty, neglected by her parents, molested by countless family members, became pregnant but lost her child, and experienced two deaths, all while she was still young child. This girl, to our surprise, turned out to be Oprah Winfrey whose current worth is 3.2 billion dollars. All the horrific and scarring experiences she had at such a young age did not hold her back from achieving the fame and fortune she has today. Unlike Oprah, I was born into a world of opportunity, comfort, and care. I am surrounded by supportive and kind individuals who are there for me whenever I need the support and that is why I have no reason to back away from the goals that I have. My imminent goal is to get into UC Berkeley, a college I have aspired to get accepted into since I learned of it. As a senior who has already completed the college application process, I have worked my hardest to get to this point. I have been able to keep a strong academic record, dedicated my time to life-changing extracurriculars, and am on the path of discovering who I am and what I am passionate about. My application is a reflection of who I have become up to this point and I know that I have done my best in everything that I have tried to do. Now, my next goal is to obtain financial security as I am getting ready to attend college.

Education is a powerful asset, but the cost to obtain it may be too overwhelming for those who cannot afford the full price. Therefore, some students end up obtaining loans, indebting themselves once they complete their years of college and obtain a job. As a student about to enter college, I was always aware that it was expensive, but I was not completely aware of the possible future implications it could have on my post-college life financially. Through the financial seminar, I learned just how negatively debt could impact my life. Many plan to work their entire lives without retirement because of the immense amount of debt they owe to college, rent/mortgage, and numerous other reasons. Taxes play a huge impact once we start earning money. Our money is taxed whether we earn it, save it, spend it, and even when we die. In addition, I learned how inflation increases slowly year by year, making the value of our dollar worth less over time. All of these factors are emphasized during the seminar to stress how important it is for us to not just spend wisely, but save wisely if we want to live comfortably and retire. Although we may not see it as an immediate danger now, we will regret it much later in our future if we do not plan ahead and prepare for our financial futures.

With this information from NuVision Federal Credit Union’s financial seminar I am now a step ahead of those who do not have this understanding. I am aware of what is to come in the future in terms of my finances and that I should do to prepare for the unexpected. Through the seminar, I have truly grasped the concept of taxation and saving for the future. Being able to have full mastery about money is something that takes time to learn, but by having this introduction, I know that I can apply this knowledge whenever I start earning money in the future. The Think. Tank. Challenge has given me an opportunity to explore these life lessons and ask questions from those who have experienced these events themselves. Thus, in order to truly become financially independent, I must have awareness and control over my money, not the other way around.