Tag Archives: job

BBM Interviews Mary Johnson: A College Student’s Money Perspective

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Mary Johnson is the daughter of Lisa and Darren Johnson, a Godly couple my wife and I befriended while attending Calvary CHapel of Idaho Falls, ID. Both parents are hard-working, dedicated to God and very friendly to those around them. It is no surprise that their work ethic and perspective on money has been passed down to their daughter who exhibits discipline, kindness and a great head on her shoulders. I am very glad to have interviewed this young lady. Keep reading and you’ll see why.

BBM: Is the Bible one of your Financial Education sources? Why or why not?

Mary: Yes. If I use the Bible to guide other aspects of my life like avoiding sin or loving others, I can apply it to my finances. Dave Ramsey helped me see how much the Bible actually talks about money.

BBM: Do you believe that small business contributes positively to the economy? If yes, how so?

Mary: I’m not too educated on this topic, but yes I do. I think it allows average people to have a say regarding governments laws on business and have- even though it may be small- a piece of the market “pie”.

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BBM: How do you manage your finances? (Examples: Financial adviser, spreadsheets, envelope system, checkbook register, a combination of tools, or something else)

Mary: I currently use a form of the envelope system. At the beginning of the month, I estimate how much I’ll make and list all of my expenses, including “fun money”. The most important things are at the top: tithe, gas, and other bills. Every dollar gets accounted for, before I even spend a dollar. I then get out some categories in cash, like tithe and my fun” money. Some of the other expenses are only on my card, like my phone payment and gas. If I have any left over at the end of the month, it either goes towards savings or towards next months expenses. I’ve been told that it takes time to really perfect this system, but so far I’ve enjoyed it. It takes away a lot of my spending guilt when I know what I have in my wallet is what I can spend:)

BBM: At what age did you begin to form a “Financial Freedom mindset”?

Mary: I began this mindset literally 7 weeks ago, so age 18.

BBM: Why do you believe financial wisdom is important?

Mary: Debt has the power to steal away so much peace. It can ruin marriages, keep people stuck doing something they didn’t want to do in life, and above all, it can keep one from pursuing the Lords calling. If i know I have the power to avoid all that, I’m going to take advantage of it. Wouldn’t you?

BBM: How do you feel about credit cards as a young lady getting ready to enter college?

Mary: I know I could go my entire life without ever needing one. I know that sounds crazy, but if I plan on never needing loans for anything, I don’t need to “build my credit”. They can be OK if you have good self discipline and are maybe at a later stage in life than I’m currently positioned, but for college students, I recommend they stay far away from them.

BBM: Is “giving back” part of your future financial strategy? If yes, how so? If no, do you think it should be added to your plan?

Mary: Yes. Tithing has always been something I have done since I got my first paycheck. Besides tithing, I believe it is important to be open financially to give if an opportunity comes along. My dream is to be able to give back by going on a mission (or multiple) and though you’re going to serve others, you have to pay your way out there.

BBM: Have you read the book “Do Hard Things”? If yes, did you enjoy it? If no, would you read it if it was bought for you?

Mary: Yes! I love it.

BBM: Do you think society expects too little of adolescents & teens?

Mary: Definitely. Still being in the teens myself, I feel the drag of society pulling on me saying you don’t need to be responsible, you’re young. You can’t really do much anyway”. As a result, our young people feel that they can’t accomplish anything until later, so they usually don’t even try. What would our world be like if young people took a stand and started really doing the hard stuff while they were young?.

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That is a perfect question to pose at the ending of this interview. It is a question that both parents and their adolescent/teen children should ask themselves. Let’s stop acting as if our young ones cannot achieve extraordinary things. In fact, let’s start requiring it of them!!

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Rethinking Higher Education, Part Two: Internship vs University

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In part one of this series I spoke of the high price tag of higher education and proposed the idea that traditional college degrees were not neccessary for financial success. With that belief in mind I will spend the next few blogs explaining the proven alternatives to traditional colleges and universities.

The first alternative is an old idea, the internship.

Many years ago if a young man wanted to learn to work with metal he would approach the local blacksmith and ask to learn from the more experienced man. If the instructor agreed the young man would work for free in exchange for real life, hands on experience and education. The young student would learn how to run the blacksmith business including what to charge customers, how to accept payment, how to deal with inevitable customer conflict, working the forge, and personal responsibility, among other things.

An obvious advantage of internships is there is zero cost to the student and the student’s family. Picture a small village in colonial America with familes of meager means. Keeping food on the table is already a challenge. Asking these families to find money for the educatiin of their children would be like expecting to slap a rock with a stick and get water from it. It’s just not going to happen. But these families were not without hope. If their young son was determined, hard-working and future minded, he’d receive a valuable, FREE internship, aka apprenticeship, which would eventually help him become an entrepruener!

Nobody spends a dime, no debt is created, a skill is learned and the Blacksmith/teacher has help in his shop for a certain amount of time. That’s a win, win, win situation.

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“But Taz, aren’t internships a thing of the past?” Great question.

I searched online for “Internships in Houston, TX” and found there are a lot of both paid and unpaid internships out there of varying types. One company is in search of a “Marketing Intern to work 10-15 hours a week” offering “reimbursment for gas used at a per mile basis, free lunch during any events, experience meeting professionals at networking events…” along with several other perks. Another company offered full-time employment with great benefits after only three months as an unpaid intern. These internships offer something traditional colleges lack- practical, usable experience in the field.

Internships are alive and well and they can help you gain valuable knowledge without taking on the burden of debt. I love the concept of internships because they offer an alternative to spending a large amount of money in exchange for an education. This concept gives hope to those who are less fortunate in the area of finances. Recently I learned of a doctor who is still paying off his student loans THIRTY YEARS after earning his degree.

When I look at both the American and global economy I see there is a need to question the status quo. The American dream is harder to acheive, upper middle class citizens have lost their houses due to the dishonest practices of the banking industry, the middle class is shrinking, etc. etc.

Higher education is no different. We have to question the status quo. What do we want for our futures, financial freedom or a life of servitude to creditors like the doctor I mentioned? Obviously we want financial freedom. Then, it’s time for us to question tradition, look for alternatives like internships, place them on a scale and make an honest evaluation of what is best for our financial futures.

So, what’s your opinion on including an internship in your Higher Education plan?

Teen Business Owners- Part One: While Growing Up

When I was younger I remember teachers asking me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a legitimate question. They were trying to get me to think ahead, get into the practice of thinking about my #Financial Future. This is an important aspect of growing into a well-rounded, contributing adult.

What bothered me is they never phrased the question in a way that impressed upon me that I didn’t have to “grow up” in order to be something. They could have asked, “What do you want to be right now?”, and used my answer to show me how I can create a career for myself right away.
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Many of us are familiar with Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. Obviously we see this verse as telling us we need to train our child in the Way of the Bible, and that is 100% accurate. Reading the five verses before it shows that this passage is mainly concerned with being sure the child is trained in the ways of strong #spiritual character.

But, why didn’t my teachers and other adults in my life think to themselves to use lessons in business ownership as a way to mold me in both future career concerns as well as spiritual matters? If they had asked me, “What business would you start right now if you could?” I would have told them “a dance squad” or “running errands for people in the neighborhood”. This would have been their opportunity to explain to me:
1. How I’d go about finding other teens to join my business
2. How to attain clients
3. The importance of being honest in my business dealings
4. How to manage an income, etc.

Let’s say a young lady of ten years old wants to start a lemonade stand. Her parents can sit with her to decide a work schedule, price, location of the stand and also what to do with the money earned.
The average American ten year old is well-practiced at asking, “Mom can you buy me that toy?” In this parent’s mind, children of this age should also know intimately how long it takes to earn the money for said toy. If she owned a lemonade stand she’d look back at her many hours sitting on the sideaalk waiting for customers, the energy it took to make pitcher after pitcher of lemonade after mom and dad’s friends bought it all. She’d remember the thankful mailman who bought two cups, the draining effect of the weather on her energy and of course the thrill of counting her money at the end of the day. And, of course, she would appreciate her earnings more because she sacrificed her Saturday cartoons in order to work her business. Of course, let’s not forget, this young lady would learn how much of her profits should be put back into the business in order to cover the expenses for the next two weeks, next month, etc.

Our children should be educated in these things when they’re young so that “when they are old they will not depart from” them. Imagine how much better off the American #economy would be today if our citizens were better trained in #entrepreneurship (and all it entails) during their elementary, junior high and high school years.

If a fifth grader started a business and continued his entrepreneurship through his high school graduation he would have seven years of business experience which his peers lack. He would already have a resume whereas his college-bound peers would only be starting their real-life education at the local burger joint.

Imagine where you would be right now if you’d had seven years of business ownership experience right out the gate after your high school graduation! That is a BIG step up ahead of the competition.

Do you not want that for your children?

Adults, I think it is time to stop asking our precious young ones what they want to be WHEN they grow up.

Let’s ask them, “What do you want to be WHILE growing up?”

What’s Your “#Business Calling”?

I was browsing a Google+ community called “Christians in Business” earlier today. I came across a new post where one member, Carey Green, ask a question directly to another member. Here is Carey’s question and the resulting open, honest reply.

 Q: What’s the mission the LORD has given you as it pertains to business?

 A: I love the question and it’s one that, as Christians in Business, we should all be asking ourselves.  First, all of us have the same mission. We should all be spending as much time spreading God’s word and encouraging others, as we spend promoting our profiles and our businesses.

Am I doing this in my own life?  The honest answer is, No.”  Like many Christians In Business, I am a good person, I don’t steal or commit crimes and I genuinely want everyone to be successful.  Where I struggle is how to use my business and my talents to increase God’s Kingdom.  It is something that I pray about often. I sometimes ask myself, “Is my life, being led by God, or by my own ego?”  I do know that I want to help other Christians in Business to succeed.  My guess is that God also wants more from me.  I am praying and hoping that 2014 will bring more opportunities for me to open the eyes of others who need it. I greatly appreciate being asked this question today… thank you Carey Green 

 Wow! There’s today’s heaping dose of brutal honesty.

 Both the question and its answer are important, especially in today’s world. Christian business owners have a responsibility to spread the Word, period. Too often we consider our business to be separate from the Great Commission, it’s not. Here’s why I say this without apology.

 First, the Great Commission itself says so in Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Did you notice there’s no clause allowing business owners to opt out? We’ve been given a command, not an option, by the Creator wrapped in human flesh- MAKE DISCIPLES, period.

Having a business doesn’t allow you to pass on this command. In fact your business should be seen as a tool for spreading His Word, not a hindrance to doing so.

Think about this: Do you think God would put you in business if that business prevents you from spreading His Word?

How can you spread the Word while going about the busy day of a business owner? Here’s an easy suggestion- play Christian music in your place of business. Your customers will notice, and may ask questions. When they ask you have the opportunity to answer, share your testimony or share something amazing God’s done in your life.

(insert referee with both hands raised straight up here)

Some may threaten to “do business elsewhere if you keep playing that Jesus music”. Of course this is a legitimate concern for any Christian business owner. However, we are supposed to be trusting in Him, not our potential customers and the dollars they bring with them. A creative way to handle this threat is to reply with something like, “Tell ya what. My Jesus music isn’t going to stop, but, I’ll give you 5% off any time you choose to do business with me. And you can feel free to question me about my faith any time you want. Deal?”

If they accept, you will have accomplished two things. First, you’ve kept a customer which is good for business. Second, and more important, you’ve left the door open for discussions about your relationship with Christ. Hello!! What could be better?!

I’m not saying the only mission of business owners is to tell the message of Christ. We all need to make money, pay bills and take care of our families. These are also Christian responsibilities. But, we stray when we fail to remain focused on His mission for us and, instead, think of our own selfish, money-motivated, status-motivated vision.

In the honest answer to the original question, our business owner admitted he struggles with “how to use my business and my talents to increase God’s Kingdom”. What really strikes me as important is that he also said, “It is something I pray about often”.

 

(may we all develope the same habit)

James 5:16

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

1 Thessalonians 5:17- Never stop praying.

These are two of my favorite verses. They remind me that as a Godly business owner my prayers are powerful and will cause Godly, positive things to happen.

Q: Confused about how to use your business?

A: You, business owner, need go remain focused on your relationship with Christ. This will result in a righteous life which yields prayers that cause powerful things to happen in your life and through your business. 

If I were to answer Carey’s question, I’d have to say that my Business Calling is to:

1. Help God’s People Use God’s Money at God’s Direction

&

2. Help business owners Grow and Protect their businesses.

While…

3. Spreading the Word of God.

Many thanks to Carey Green for posting this question. Feel free to check out his podcasts at http://www.podcastfasttrack.com