How To Be An Adult & What They Don’t Tell You About Growing Up

How To Be An Adult And Growing Up
How To Be An Adult And Growing Up

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I turned 30 earlier this year and with each passing day am only getting closer to 31. I hate to say this but, in a way, I’ve entered middle age. MIDDLE AGE! Yes, 30s is the beginning of middle age. There was a time in my life where being 30 seemed incredibly old (when I was 16), now 16 seems incredibly young. At 16, I didn’t know how to be an adult, let alone anything about growing up.

But officially I’m supposed to be an adult. I do a lot of adult things now like take care of my children, do my own laundry, pay my bills, have a job that pays well with insurance and cook in bulk for the week. This is what I always aimed for, this sort of busy and put together life that I could call success.

Only, sometimes I don’t feel like it’s really success. I didn’t escape the rat race, actually, I fell right into it and can’t get out for the life of me. I don’t have enough time for the things that really matter to me. And on top of it all, I feel like a slave to my employer.

I feel like they missed a lot in school in terms of teaching young people how to be functioning members of society and how we’re supposed to be growing up into adults. Of course trigonometry and algebra could not be missed but teaching you about differences in healthcare plans and how to open a bank account? Totally unimportant. (Sarcasm).

I look at my 6 year old daughter and think, I’ve got to do better, honestly. I hope she’s not as unprepared for adulthood as I was because the learning curve is steep. And at 30, I still don’t feel like I’ve truly caught up.

So here’s what they don’t tell you about being an adult and growing up:

1) There’s no true freedom

Freedom they said. Growing up and being an adult is about having complete freedom. No more parents giving you curfews or giving you a pitiful allowance. As an adult you get to call the shots and make decisions about your life. When I was an adolescent I really thought that this was how life worked. If only I was an adult, things would be so much better.

Actually, it doesn’t work like that. Because of a thing called “Money.” Living with your parents and being “controlled” by them is actually more of a safety net. Children don’t have to worry themselves with the day to day cost of living. Things like food, clothes, shelter and transportation are 100% covered, in most cases, by parents. So even though as a teenager you’re limited in what you can do, major responsibilities have yet to fall on your plate.

Adults on the other hand have major constraints on their freedom in terms of having to make an income that subsidizes their daily lives. They have to go to sleep early to wake up at 6am to get to their job. It’s a money imposed curfew. They can’t buy ridiculous $1500 Gucci shoes because they realize that their going to have to work X hours/days to pay it off.

As an adult I wish I knew that my adolescent years would be the most relaxing and fun times of my life. Even though I had some restrictions, I had youth, time and energy on my side.

2) People only care about themselves

I was raised learning that it was important to care about each other, to share and, in general, to have good virtues. It was such a huge life lesson to see how time and time again people only acted in their own best interest. In some instances it came across as terribly selfish, in others, as an act of self preservation.

It was definitely a hard lesson for me because, in most cases, people were super nice to my face. But when push came to shove, whenever either a coworker or friend saw an opportunity that benefited themselves over me, they took it. If it was only an acquaintance, it was SURE to happen.

Meanwhile, I was raised to put others before myself, be selfless, be giving, and think about others’ needs. It took me a long time to learn that these values are important but I needed to use them sparingly, with people who deserved it from me. Everyone else needs to earn it.

3) Bills, Bills, Bills

I kind of already touched on the reality that adulthood is centered around paying your bills. But honestly growing up I never realized how expensive life in general is. You really need to make $100K a year minimum where I live just to make ends meet. When I was 16 I would have been happy to earn $20k a year, but things are different when you have to pay your own housing, food, transit, clothes and everything else bills.

I used to be like, “Why can’t my parent’s buy me these dumb candies I want or shoes or whatever?”

Adult me wants to smack little me and say, “Bitch! Our parents didn’t have money for that just like I don’t have money for that shit with my kids!”

When you’re unexposed to the realities of the world you kind of really have a sense of naïveté about things and how stuff works.

Now at 30, bills take pretty much all your money. And when I was 16, $200 felt like a windfall, now $200 feels like $5 out of my pocket because life is just too expensive.

I used to think that money was easier to attain or that my parents were just too stingy, but they were actually very smart with money and a lot of my good spending habits are learned from them!

4) Relationships are really hard

Finding the right relationship that could last a lifetime is probably the HARDEST thing to manage as an adult. I started dating “late” compared to other people. I had my first boyfriend at 18. As an adult, building long term relationships are super difficult. When I was younger, I didn’t understand why people broke up suddenly or why LOVE couldn’t win. Couples who were voted the cutest in class would break up out of nowhere. Of course in high school and college, this would be the talk of the school and everyone would gossip and speculate about what happened. “He cheated on her.” “She didn’t like that he was liking other girls’ pictures.” It was kind of like some sort of teen soap opera.

Now I’ve realized that you can just break up with someone because they don’t like the same food as you or aren’t as clean as you. Cheating is just one of the many reasons why relationships don’t work out. There could be a cultural divide. He could be misogynistic or she can be a misandrist. It could be one fight that you never bounce back from. Literally so many reasons why relationships aren’t meant to last.

When I was young I just couldn’t understand this. I sort of had this preconceived notion that there were “soulmates” or one person in this world that could “complete me.” At the end of the day, relationships aren’t meant to complete you, most importantly they should add value to your life and compliment who you are as a person. Toxic relationships do just the opposite. But toxic relationships aside, just finding a healthy relationship and getting through the tough spots is hard as hell! I guess that’s just part of growing up, realizing your ideals are just that-ideals.

So now when I hear that some cute and favorite couple I know of broke up, I just shake my head and think to myself, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” Because adult relationships are never easy.

5) You’re never going to feel like you have it all together

It’s never going to happen. I always thought that it would but I never woke up and felt like adulthood hit me. Yes, I’m more responsible now because I have to support a family. Yes, I pay my bills because otherwise I would be out on the street. Yes, I make conservative choices and stick to a routine. But am I this way because I choose to be or because life has forced it on me?

Sometimes I get people in their early 20s who look up to me. I can tell they look at me and see me as someone who has it put together. And I look back at them like, “not really…” Just because someone has a kid, a husband and a job does not mean they are put together. I still have so much on my bucket list.

Like not working a job that makes me hate myself, having a surplus of money to buy a house, having a semblance of a work/life balance, buying new furniture, getting a second car, not relying on my parents still for some financial support and other things like that.

I am NOT put together. Every day I feel like I’m one catastrophic event away from falling apart instead of growing up.

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So yeah, if I had my pick I would just live my childhood/adolesence years over and over again because this sh*t is HARD. I wish I would have known that all I have to look forward to growing up is paying bills, not having enough vacation time, the ability to drink alcohol and working long hours.

If you were born after 2001, all I have to say to you is enjoy your young, beautiful, youthful and carefree life now. Adulthood is just around the corner waiting for you and it’s not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.

Check out my other posts if you like “How To Be An Adult & What They Don’t Tell You About Growing Up!”
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How To Resell Clothes: Ebay, Poshmark and Mercari

How To Resell Clothes and Get Rid Of Clothes
How To Resell Clothes and Get Rid Of Clothes

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I’ve been going through a phase of cleaning out my closet to get rid of extra clothes. OBSESSIVELY. I literally wear maybe 10% of my clothes. And I think most of us are like that. We buy something maybe we wear it once, or there’s some feature that we just didn’t like about it and then we never wear it again. We hope we might but we never wear it again. I have so many things that I do this with it’s not even funny. Clothes, shoes, jewelry, random knickknacks, you name it. I’m also the type of personality that enjoys going to fleamarkets. I enjoyed sifting through racks for hours and then trying to get the best price. So of course I really enjoy the whole reselling used clothes/items thing that’s going on right now and wanted to learn how to resell clothes on eBay, Poshmark and Mercari.

And it seems like there’s more people buying used clothes. The public is more aware of how devastating the fast fashion industry has been on our environment as well as the wastefulness of constantly buying clothes. So in a way, buying used clothes, as long as they’re in good condition, is fine.

So here is my review on the three platforms (ebay, Mercari, Poshmark) and how to resell clothes on them. So far I’ve sold 3 items in 2 weeks!

eBay

eBay, oh eBay how I love you. Literally the OG of all reselling companies. I started dabbling with online selling in 2016, just selling a few things that were in my closet. Now here I am again, trying to learn how to resell the clothes out of my closet and maybe more if it works out.

The positive of selling on eBay is that it is a MASSIVE platform to sell to people. Since it’s older than both Mercari and Poshmark, it has more pull in terms of being the most familiar. The only issue I have with it is the auction feature. Of course eBay sold itself as being an online auction house first for basic things like electronics, games, clothes etc. And people are very used to getting REALLY good deals from this. In other words, the users are really cheap. Which is fine if you have the right product and can price it low enough.

For me, I’m selling clothes and some jewelry that I’ve already worn so I don’t need such a high markup. I’m pricing most of my clothes at $10-$40 depending on how worn they are or if it’s new with tags.

I didn’t use Ebay’s auction feature but did use it’s “buy now” feature. Here I can set the price, determine shipping costs and describe the item. They have this new option to “promote” where for an additional 10% fee you can get the listing promoted. They also take 10% fee when it sells. After 50 zero insertion fee listings, the insertion fee is $.35.
For the most part, this seems reasonable. I don’t opt to promote it because traffic on eBay is wonky. Sometimes an item will be priced well and sit, or sometimes priced high and move. If someone wants your product, they’ll buy it or at least send you an offer.

The one item I sold on eBay, someone submitted an offer. And since I wasn’t losing money, I took it. I just wanted to get rid of the clothes.

Shipping is probably their best feature. After you’re done selling, you just ship it off using their prepaid shipping label. Their vendor is USPS, it comes with tracking and I find their rates VERY competitive. So for the most part you don’t have to worry about shipping. I don’t include shipping in my listings but I never charge higher than $4.99. Pretty much the best place to start if you want to learn how to resell clothes.

Mercari

This is a very similar website to eBay. I mean, other than not having an auction feature, they’re almost identical. It’s basically the “Buy Now” feature only.

I did find that the traffic there is a little bit better for clothes whereas, EBay it was limited. Views kind of trickle in on eBay.

One main difference is in promoting your listing- just lower the price. The new listings show up on the top of the search but discounted ones get kind of a refresh button and show up on the top too with a down arrow indicating prices are dropped. This type of promoting definitely encourages people to kind of wait and see if prices lower. HOWEVER, there is a “like” feature similar to eBay’s “watching” feature that allows buyers to know if there are other interested buyers. This can create a sense of urgency that could help move a listing along and get rid of clothes that you’re selling.

I sold one item on Mercari and would rate the the shipping as fair, not too expensive but not as good as eBay. For some reason, I feel compelled to offer free shipping on products. That probably plays into why I get a little more views on Mercari than I do on eBay. Sales-wise they’re pretty equal. Fee-wise similar to eBay with 10% commission and no listing fees.

Payment processing is a bit different. eBay indicates the payment has been made immediately, and if there are any issues buyers can dispute after. Mercari only shows payment once the buyer has received the item. And then they have 3 days after delivery to confirm the product is as described and it was delivered. If they don’t, the funds get automatically deposited to the seller’s account.

Honestly not sure how I feel about this. Because I’m only selling small items and clothes, this doesn’t feel too risky. If I was selling electronics, I think it would cause issues to delay payment like that.

Overall a good platform that compliments eBay.

Poshmark

I have yet to get a sale here, but I’m giving it an honest chance because I really want to know how to resell clothes on this website.

Overall, it’s definitely a more social platform. Poshers (aka sellers) have to share each other’s listings as part of the platform’s structure. There’s also a follower and following section of your profile that is above your listings. I’ve been on Poshmark for less than 2 weeks and I have over 4K followers. It’s customary to follow back here. There are tons of sellers that have over 100K followers and following.

Because of this social aspect, it’s more time consuming.

But there’s definitely a hustle to this platform.
Like both eBay and Mercari, you can cover shipping, offer discounts, etc., but on Poshmark you can suggest an item if someone has something of yours in their bundle (shopping cart). This is how you can sweeten the deal. You can offer an addition item be taken with a 5% discount and also offer to cover part or all of the shipping. It’s a sweet deal for them and sweet for you.

However, Poshmark has to be the more expensive platform of the 3 with a 20% commission fee and a buyer shipping cost of $6.79. That $6.79 shipping cost the buyer has to pay will in turn make them more price conscious and the 20% cut that the seller has to pay makes the products more expensive.

I do believe that the clientele on Poshmark is willing to spend and, in a way, they’re more stylish. Unlike eBay and Mercari where you can sell anything, Poshmark is only clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, and perfumes. It’s rare to see anything outside of that there. Since the clientele is more stylish, they’re going to appreciate good marketing and will likely pay more for it. At least you can get rid of clothes and make a pretty penny from it.

I don’t know much about their shipping because I haven’t sold anything yet.

I will definitely keep Poshmark in my pocket as a contending selling platform.

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Overall I think you can make a killing reselling and get rid of clothes in the process. The most important thing is to work all 3 of these platforms. The likelihood that an item will sell on 2 or all platforms at the same time is rare (as long as you price correctly), in which case you can cancel a sale on one of them, but using all 3 makes it easier to get your items to a buyer who will love it.

Hope you enjoyed this guide on how to get rid of clothes by reselling. Happy selling!

If you like “How To Resell Clothes: Ebay, Poshmark and Mercari” check out my other posts!

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How To Build Your Self Esteem & Self Confidence

build self confidence and self esteem
build self confidence and self esteem

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Self esteem. Most people don’t know how to build their self esteem and self confidence. And it’s tough, self esteem is kind of an abstract concept. Most people feel like they know what it is but they really don’t. It’s one of those ideals people constantly chase like- purpose, meaning, life, and goodness. Self esteem is probably the most valuable thing you can have and yet so many people don’t posses it.

So what is self esteem? And how do you build your self esteem?

Self esteem, by my definition, is a sense of confidence and belief in oneself that you are a person of value; a person worthy of respect and dignity. That you are a capable and independent person no matter what.

Let’s break down the concept further. What is esteem? What does it mean to hold someone in high esteem? Well, you’ll probably really respect that person, you won’t doubt them in moments when they give you advice and you might even want to be a bit like them. Self esteem is exactly that, but towards yourself.

A lot of people throw around that phrase but don’t really have it in themselves. Often times it’s confused with ego. But self esteem is different than ego. Ego is a version of ourselves that we imagine. Our sense of self. You can have an ego and no self esteem. You can also have self esteem and no ego. You can have both. But they are separate. Like I said, ego is the version of ourselves we imagine and self esteem is the complete respect and belief in oneself.

So what do you need to do in order to build a high self esteem? It’s not as easy as you think:

1) Avoid toxic people
This seems like a given but somehow toxic people tend to slither into our lives. They love to leech off the good energy of people with high self esteem and confidence. Usually in the form of a romantic interest. When you have high self esteem you tend to repel toxic partners (because you know better than to engage them) but when it’s low, the toxics will come in droves. It makes sense to avoid someone who devalues you, doesn’t respect you, pokes at your insecurities and overall is incompatible. Yet so many men and women end up with partners that thrive on keeping their lovers down and out.

By ending relationships that hurt how you see yourself, you are taking the next step to confidence and happiness. Because it’s impossible to be happy when someone you love is hurting you. It just doesn’t work if you want to build your self confidence.

2) Avoid situations that are emotionally harmful

This sort of ties in to topic # 1, if you’re avoiding toxic people you’re essentially avoiding situations that are harmful. But that’s not enough, there are tons of different situations you’ll need to avoid in order to maintain your sense of who you are and your value.

Somehow we’re also drawn to situations that seem either too good to be true or just give us too much hope. Disappointment is a huge reason why people lose their self-esteem. It could be something as easy as wanting a guy/girl to like you and finding out he wants your friend or standing next to your supermodel sister and feeling like the most monstrous person in the world when you’re actually really cute or dating a known player but still hoping you can change him. Or studying with the smartest kid in class, only to be left feeling dumb because you take too long to do the work. These sort of small not so serious situations will peck at your self-esteem and keep you from feeling as confident as you should be.

There’s also the issue with drama. I wish people were logical but we aren’t. We’re drawn to drama because it gives us a thrill or some sort of validation. It’s so important to avoid all drama and disappointment as much as possible and not put yourself in these emotionally charged situations because at the end of it all, the conflict will cause negativity towards yourself.

Think about the last big argument you got into…it wasn’t long until you started doubting yourself and wondering why you’re going through such a hard time. You started to question who you are and your value. The truth is, you can’t always avoid drama but, at the very least, you don’t have to seek it out.

3) Remember your strength

Sometimes when I’m feeling like life is impossible and too hard, I look back at what I’ve accomplished. I think of all the really hard shit I’ve gone through like my battle with achalasia or my unplanned pregnancy or the mold that infested our house. You see, I went through all that and it was stressful but I got through it.

Chances are there are challenges you’ve had to go through too. Remembering those obstacles in your life and drawing on that strength you had to get through them is a huge tool.

Looking at your past moments of perseverance and applying that to your future is one way to build your self esteem. Why shouldn’t you believe in yourself now when you’ve proven yourself capable time and time again? This is an easy way to build your confidence. It’s not really a fake it until you make it sort of self-esteem but more about giving yourself the credit you deserve.

4) Be your own cheerleader
It’s not always going to work out that someone will be rooting you on. In reality, there might be people in your life who are actively trying to tear you down.

Life is rarely perfect in that way and in these times you’ll need to know how to be your own cheerleader and believe in yourself when no one else does.

There was a girl in my high school that was always so negative. She had no knowledge on how to build self confidence. Every conversation I had with her was dreary and self-deprecating. She always complained about how nobody liked her, she was ugly, the teacher didn’t help her, her parents suck, etc. I tried to cheer her up and get her to think about the positives in her life but it never worked. After a while it was too draining and I had to distance myself. It just seemed like she enjoyed her own misery.

The point is to not expect others to lift you up but to do it on your own, even if you have to fake your own happiness for a little while. Self esteem isn’t something that can be built overnight but is something that’s built over time as you start to see yourself as worthy.

That friend, she had terrible self esteem and even though I was a friend who always was positive, it never helped. She needed to see all the positives in herself, for herself.

5) Accept who you are
Don’t be an apple wishing it was a pear, and don’t be a pear wishing it was an apple.

We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves but some of those things are unchangeable.

When I was younger, I used to wish I had lighter skin. Can you really change the color of your skin? Not unless you’re Michael Jackson.

My skin is the color of light milk chocolate and it’s a very nice complexion, but I lived in a neighborhood that was white and Italian so I wanted a fair complexion instead. Over time I learned to really love my skin, it hardly wrinkles and never gets sunburn. Imagine if I dwelled over my darker skin color, how unhappy I would have been?

For things you can’t change, you need to learn to live with it and love it. Your quirks, your imperfections, all of it. Accepting these things about yourself and even loving them will give you the mental room to feel positive about who you are and what you’re all about.

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I think the main point here is that most people aren’t born with a ton of self esteem. I would describe it more like a muscle you need to flex to strengthen.

What benefits are there to build self confidence? Tons, actually! You can finally do all those things you wanted to do in your life but were uncertain you could accomplish. You can ask that cute guy/girl out and not feel like their approval means everything and you can start living on your own terms and no longer feel chained to your insecurities. A person with high self esteem has the ultimate freedom.

So take it one step at a time, little by little your self esteem with find you.

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Should You Go To College? Is A Good College Degree Enough?

Should you go to college? good college degree
Should you go to college? good college degree

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Ten years ago, no one would have asked this question of “should you go to college?,” the idea of not getting a college education seemed ludicrous. But recently, many disadvantages of going to college have come to light and it has everyone questioning, “is it really necessary? And a good college degree worth the money?”

I graduated high school in 2007, when prosperity was flowing and the economy booming. As young high school graduates we were all excited to start our college careers. My last year of high school was devoted to college applications, college tours and college nights where we would be courted by local universities. It all seemed so exciting. Here I was, about to embark on this new adventure. I imagined that my college would literally hand me a job after and that I’d be pretty much set for life after that. Honestly, I don’t know why I made that assumption, maybe it was all the statistics the colleges threw at me, but I really did believe that.

And I think a majority of us believed it, 90% of my class went on to get a higher education and the rest either joined the military or picked up a trade.

I didn’t have much debt after undergrad, it was law school that put me WAYY under. It was the one year I took but couldn’t finish. But we all make mistakes. Whether you go to college or not is a personal and financial decision that only YOU can consider and answer.

Here are my thoughts on why you should go to college:

Your parents are footing a majority of the bill. Or you have a scholarship equal to 50% or more.

College is freaking expensive. A lot of private universities cost $30K annually or more, not including housing, food and books. Certain schools will give really good scholarships if you’re in the top 20% of your class. If you were blessed enough to get a partial (50% or better) or full scholarship, I’d say that the benefits of the college degree beats the cost. If your parents are able to cover at least 50% of the costs then I’d say go for it as well.

Most white collar jobs want a college graduate and even if you get a degree in basketweaving, most basic positions require a degree. And if you’re able to get a degree cheap from either your parent’s support or from a scholarship, I’d say the risk is minimized enough to guarantee reward.

You got into a really good college program

At my university there were certain programs that were really competitive. It was the pharmacy and physician’s assistant programs but at some universities it might be nursing, finance or mathematics.

If you get into a reputable program in a high paying field it might be worth taking on the loans as long as you have a plan to pay it back. Don’t go taking out huge loans for a degree in the arts or humanitarian sciences. That’s just a joke.

You plan to make sacrifices to pay for your schooling

It’s not for everyone but even a high cost school can be manageable if you make some lifestyle changes.

I read somewhere that there was this guy that was able to come out of his Ivy League university education with only 10K in debt. You know what he did? He made a home out of his van and lived there, then he showered at the school gym. He also worked weekends to make ends meet.

Now most likely you don’t have to go so far, but little changes like going to a community college and then transferring out to a better school or living with your parents from 18-22 years of age can really save you a lot of money.

Here are reasons you should not go to college

You Just Want To Party

Some people from my high school went to party schools. They studied humanities or liberal arts but what they really majored in was how to party. I don’t know about you but $30K annually is a LOT of money to just party. I actually partied a bit during my college years but I also took my education seriously. There were some friends of mine who took their party hard college career very seriously.

A lot of people believe that the sorority/fraternity party experience is an essential part of college. Puking on the lawn, wild sexy nights with hot students, and drugs and alcohol are a huge part of that culture. I remember being brainwashed about the importance of partying in college. Movies like Van Wilder, American Pie and Road Trip were some of my favorite movies that supported that belief, but some of us took the college partying lifestyle to heart. The truth is, $30K is WAYYYYY too much to spend to just get wasted. And if you think you can drink like a rockstar AND get good grades, you’re just kidding yourself.

You don’t want to go or don’t know what you want to do with your life

I always thought it was crazy and kind of sick that our society expects 18 year olds to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I remember being in my junior and senior year of high school and everyone asking me, “What are you going to major in?” It’s like how the hell am I supposed to know? How am I supposed to decide on a major when I have literally NO real life experience? At times it felt like I was taking a stab in the dark. One month I’d be sold on psychology, next journalism, then legal studies.

My advice to young adults graduating high school today is if you don’t know what you want to do and have no clue, take a year off. Don’t go to college. Try your hand at different industries. Figure it out.

You don’t have to go to college right away. You can take a year to decipher your interests. That would be better than taking another year at college because you can’t decide on a major and finding yourself wasting money on prerequisites that you didn’t need for a major that you thought you wanted.

I had an old roommate, she graduated in teaching and then decided to transfer to another private school in the city ($$$) and dorm in the city ($$$$) for another degree in liberal arts (????). Well guess what! Now she has two low paying degrees and tons and tons of loans tied to her. She’s a slave to her degrees now.

So think about what you want to do, don’t just float around taking loans hoping against the odds you can pay them off easily with lackluster degrees.

You aren’t good at school

The truth is that there are a lot of people who just aren’t good at school. Like, it’s just not for them for whatever reason, whether it’s not having the motivation to study, not knowing what you’re supposed to do or not wanting to get into debt.

That’s totally fine. I don’t think our society values people who choose not to get a college degree enough. Actually there a ton of things you can do without a college degree.

-Join the military: here you can learn different trades or build a military career that is equivalent or better than a college degree

-learn a trade: plumbing, cosmetology, cooking, electrician, bookkeeping, hvac technician, mechanic etc. A lot of these are really well paying and if you’re able to get a jump on a trade early and without debt, chances are you’ll be just as well off as someone who went to college.

You’re a hustler

Become an entrepreneur. If you think of how much in loans you need to take out for college as well as the high interest rate and then you put that money towards a business endeavor and put as many hours into it as you would college, I guarantee you’ll have a successful
business at the end of 4 years.

Of course this isn’t for everyone but if you have a motivated and competitive personality, college isn’t the only option for you. Most people consider a business as a gamble, since it can fail, but isn’t college a gamble too? Especially since you’re not guaranteed a great job at the end… think about that.
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So there you have it, all the reasons you should or shouldn’t go to college. Hopefully you can take my advice to heart. I wish I had someone in my life who could kind of shake me and help me make these kind of decisions about my education, career and finances, because going to college on a loan is a big deal.

Unfortunately my guidance counselor didn’t do shit for me at the time. They were more motivated to get as many kids into college, since that determined the school’s success rate, than finding the right path for students. And my parents were just as brainwashed as me into believing that college was worth it no matter what the cost.

So hopefully you can take this advice and use it to better yourself, figure out your path and make the best financial decision about your career, happiness and life.

If you like “Should You Go To College? Is A Good College Degree Enough,” check out my other posts

How To Live With Student Loans & Pay Them Off Faster

How To Be Successful & Be Happy

I Can’t Afford To Retire: Essential Tips On Filling The Gap

The Rent vs Buy Argument

With my whole mold dilemma going on it has me revisiting the idea of buying.

I’ve been in the real estate business for about seven years now doing mainly rentals and I’ve always thought that buying and renting are personal decisions. For the most part they are, but with everything happening in my life right now, I’m leaning towards buying.

I’d say it’s also heavily dependent on your financial situation. For some, renting is the only option.

Here Are The Benefits Of Renting.

1)It’s Flexible.

I like the idea of having a lease that’s short term. Either 6 months, 1 year or 2 years, it’s nice to know that you’re not fully committed to a property. I can leave at the end of my lease if I’m unhappy or if it becomes too expensive. You can usually leave mid-lease if you’re able to find a takeover tenant that qualifies. Overall, I believe that the flexibility is great for people who travel for their job, relocate or need something that offers financial flexibility. (Example: if you work on commission and earnings change year to year)

2)Initial Costs Are Low.

Most of the time you can find an apartment without a broker by contacting the property management directly. Websites like Apartments.com, Zillow and Trulia make this possible.

Even if you have to pay a brokers fee, it’s usually no more than 1 months rent. Up front fees include security deposit which could be as low as $500 to 2+ months of rent.

Compare that to your closing costs which are 2%-5% of a homes value plus a 20% down payment! Not everyone has that kind of money available.

3) Allows You To Stay Liquid.

And that brings me to my next point, if you’re you’re able to put together a down payment and closing costs, that means you have the financial opportunity to pursue other investments.

Generally it’s said that a home isn’t a good investment. The only value you really get is a roof over your head at a somewhat stable cost. It gains an average of 4-6% value each year depending on your location and that’s with inflation plus the updates you’ll need to put into it. Compare that to the stock market, the Dow Jones historically has gained 8-9% each year. So stock would be a better return but is more volatile than buying a home.

Pitfalls To Renting

1) Neighbors

Generally, you’re not in control of who your neighbors are and they are a lot closer to you when you’re renting. Renters usually are in apartment buildings where neighbors are sharing walls and tight living quarters. If you buy, you can choose the neighborhood and even a property that is more isolated with less risk of a nuisance neighbor.

2) Absentee Landlord.

The owner of a rental is obligated to make the apartment habitable and make reasonable repairs to the apartment. Somehow that doesn’t motivate some management companies to act correctly and do basic work like fixing leaky pipes or sealing drafty windows. I would say most landlords, even those with massive wealth, would rather wait for the attorney letter demanding repairs than make major repairs of their own free will. Repairs tend to cut into their profit and they hate that.

The Benefits To Buying

1) Tax Incentives

The tax incentives for buying a home and getting a mortgage are pretty nice. It’s almost like a rebate on part of your purchase, that’s how good of an incentive it is. You can write off your closing costs, mortgage interest, and any major repairs on your house. My dad once told me his housing tax incentive was equivalent to a $6000 tax credit.

It’s also a great way to shield your income from tax obligations if you’re in a higher tax bracket.

2) Control Over The Property

As I learned with my whole mold situation, I have no control over my environment as a renter. Mold is literally growing underneath my floorboards and I had no idea and no control. When issues arise, the landlord can choose how they want to fix problems and sometimes they go for the quick fix.

By owning a home, you have complete control over the property. And can choose the best and most efficient option to repair. You can do your own repairs, if you’re skilled enough, and you can make changes to the finishes as you wish.

3) Building Equity

Like I mentioned before, buying a home isn’t the best option for an investment when you’re looking for a high return but you’re still building equity and personal wealth by paying off the principle of your mortgage.

There is some flexibility if you want to increase your liquidity for investments or capital ventures but they involve more risk. Once you’ve paid a significant enough percentage of your principal balance, you can apply to refinance and get a personal loan, apply for a line of credit against your home or for a second mortgage. This is a bit more risk, since defaulting could result in foreclosure, but this allows banks to lend money to you at a better and lower interest rate.

Pitfalls To Buying.

1) Fluctuating Costs

The nice thing about renting is that you always know what your rent is going to be. It’s not a surprise and any repairs that need to be done, the landlord is supposed to be able to fix. Housing costs for a renter should remain stable.

Compare that to a home, which depending on the condition you bought it in, may have some major renovation costs down the road.

My parents have owned their house since 1991 and I’ve watched them pour money into it like it was a bottomless pit. Over the 30 years they’ve owned their home they’ve done a bathroom renovation, built a bathroom out, windows replacements, insulation installments, kitchen demolition and renovation, roof work, landscaping each summer, boiler replacement, basement refinishing, installed backyard and front yard pavers, tree removal, central air installation and bought new laundry appliances. This is an exhaustive list.

After all that work, I don’t feel like my parents came out with much of a profit. There were definitely months where they had to go into debt or take loans to make these payments. They bought their home in 1991 for $190K and it’s probably worth $450-500K at this point. But with 30 years of inflation and renovation costs, it’s not a particularly great deal.

2) Less Flexibility

Because the initial costs to buy and sell a home are so high, including closing costs and broker fees, buying a home is impractical if you plan to move within 5 years.

A home is more of a long term investment just to break even with the costs.

If you’re a person that’s constantly relocating or unsure of where you’ll be in 5 years, renting is a better option.

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Overall, for me the choice seems to be leaning towards buying. The uncertainty of renting is starting to wear on me.

Buying is one the biggest financial decisions of your life so take your time and weigh all the options.

Here’s a great buy versus rent calculator. You can find out which is a financially better option. I’ve always used it to consider whether my apartment was a good deal.

Happy real estate shopping! 🙂