Kalis C. – City Honors College Preparatory

THINK. TANK. CHALLENGE

Who thinks about credit at age 15? Sure I think about how many credits I need to graduate but a credit score? I didn’t even know that I needed one or what to do with it. The operative word here is think. The internet defines the word ‘think’ as directing or using one’s mind actively to form connected ideas. I never really connected the idea that I could create wealth until I attended the Think. Tank. Challenge. This event changed my life.

I thought I was going to hear some boring speech that added no value to my daily life but   I was wrong. There were four amazing presenters who taught me how to prioritize my high   school goals and make sound financial decisions. Captain Miller from the Los Angeles Police Department educated me on the concept that there are no superior people, only superior environments. This was mind blowing. Surely Oprah, Drake, Donald Trump, Beyoncé and Einstein are more superior than me. I came to realize that they dedicated their lives to their passion. Instead of playing video games and relaxing, they worked hard. I decided that now is the time to apply myself to what I want to do in the future.

The second speaker was our school ambassador, Lester Baron from NuVision Federal Credit Union. Mr. Baron explained credit health and how to build wealth. He taught me to start now and procrastinate later. I learned that your credit score reflects the amount of risk lenders may take when loaning money by offering me a credit card. To earn an A+, you must strive for a score between 700-850. I made the connection that creating wealth will help make my environment superior right now and throughout the future.  I recognized that many senior citizens are struggling financially since they have retired. I can start preparing   for this time right now. Then I’ll be able to afford the privilege of procrastination once I’m old and wealthy.

The last presenters were former NFL players who are now entrepreneurs. Terrell Thomas advised me to read 4 extracurricular books a year and stressed that, ‘it is not cool to be cool’. This made me value my education and make it a goal to graduate High School with my Associates Degree. Lawrence Jackson said, “Money is a tool not to be wasted unnecessarily”, this changed my view of spending. I reflected on how I have wasted money on getting my nails done, buying Starbucks, expensive clothes and accessories. None of these provided shelter or assisted me in creating my own wealth. I decided that I could save money by bringing snacks and iced coffee from home. One idea both of these speakers had in common was how they wished they had saved and invested their money better when they were playing for the NFL. This reminded me that Mr. Baron was right when he said the greatest obstacle to building wealth is not saving at all. The time to start saving for my future is now.

Some of the techniques that I learned at this workshop to improve my credit health is to become independent by saving more, spending less and always living within my means. To become wealthy I plan on giving away the first 10% of my earnings, saving the next 10% or more and using what is leftover to purchase things I need. I know that now is the best time to start investing in my future. I want to do more research on pension plans, social security benefits and personal savings accounts. When I’m 18 years old I can invest in a ROTH IRA and other tax exempt accounts. I will also be utilizing debit cards instead of credit cards so I can stay out of debt. The most powerful and inspirational quote that I learned from the workshop is, “Vision without execution is delusion”. Look around you, one out of seven people you see will become a billionaire. My name is Kalis Collman and I plan to be one of them.