John G. – Schurr High School

It is now 2017, I am almost finished with my junior year in high school. I am going to take the SAT in a few days and colleges have been contacting me. It feels like everything is speeding up. People keep asking me where I want to go to college and then asking,

“How are you going to pay for college?” It is all very stressful. Recently, however, I took time to attend Nu Vision Federal Credit Union’s Financial Workshop at my school, Schurr High School. The Workshop was very informative. I learned strategies for saving money and also found out about financial terms like “credit score” and “interest rates”. It helped me start thinking about how I can pay for college and manage my money in the years to come.

“People don’t take care of money until they barely have any left” was one of the observations that was shared at Nu Vision’s Financial Workshop. That hit me strongly in the gut. I know what they mean. Now that I need to pay for college, money is important to me. Growing up, my parents always paid for everything. But, my Mom and Dad told me that I would have to pay for my own college. “I took out student loans and I paid them all back!” they tell me. Even though they say that, I see on the TV news that people graduating college must repay big loans which ruins their future. I don’t want to owe a lot of money. I would rather pay for as much college as I can. To do that, I am going to apply some of the tips that I learned at the NuVision Workshop.

One of the tips I learned at the Workshop was the idea of cutting back. That made sense to me. For instance, for Christmas, my Mom asked me if I wanted a new video game. But, I told her to just give me the money. I put it in my savings account with, ironically, Nu Vision Federal Credit Union. My Mom was impressed and asked me, “Are you giving up videogames?” I told her emphatically, “No I like videogames. I am just going to sell some of my old games that I don’t play anymore and use the money to buy new ones.”

Another tip I learned at the Workshop was the importance of being responsible with money. Unfortunately, I will need to take out some student loans. And, I must pay them back. I know this because the presenter at the workshop discussed the issue of “Credit Score”. A credit score is a measure of how trustworthy a person is for the purpose of receiving a loan.

People who are not trustworthy have a lower credit score. Because they have a lower credit score, they must pay higher interest rates (because they are a bad credit risk) or the bank will not give them a credit card. I plan to pay all my loans back. I know people who must pay cash everywhere because they say they can’t get a credit card. I ask them, “Aren’t you afraid of getting robbed with so much cash in your pocket?!” They always answer, “Yeah, I am afraid but no bank will give me a credit card!”

This past Christmas, my mom noticed that a local business named “The Mail Room” (a postage shop that has private post office boxes) was looking for workers. She asked the nice lady (the owner) if I could work despite being 16 years old. The lady looked me over. She said I looked strong and could help her with the mail and the boxes. So, I worked part-time over the Christmas break and put the money into my Nu Vision Federal Credit Union Savings Account. I plan to keep working at The Mail Room part-time to save for college. My Dad laughed when he heard I got the job. He giggled sharing that every CEO claims that they started in the mail room and worked their way to the top. My Dad joked, “Son, one day, when you become a big shot, you can honestly say you started in The Mail Room!”

Besides being responsible with money, the final thing I learned from the Workshop was the power of savings over time. The presenter showed that saving regularly over time could end up becoming hundreds of thousands of dollars, growing by regular deposits and interest paid. I hope so. I want to own my own home someday, like my parents. I have seen their bills and how expensive owning a house is. I know that graduating high school, going to college, and becoming a responsible adult is good thing. But, wow, it all seems very expensive. I am grateful to Nu Vision for the Workshop and the Think.Tank.Challenge which has helped me feel more focused on preparing for my financial future rather than just worrying about it.