Archive for the ‘Other young PF sites’ Category

Quick! Name three things that are handy to always keep around! Just name the first three things you can think of.

You probably came up with a bunch of things. As I tried it, keeping in mind that I wanted to limit it to three, I came up with my Leatherman© tool, some sort of a conveyance for water (like a cup, bowl, or pot), and a writing instrument.

Then I started to pick that idea apart.


What good does a pen do if I’m in the

middle of the ocean?


How about a pot if I’m in a crashing



I realized that the three things that I thought were important, quite often, weren’t. Most of you could probably review the first 30 things on your list, instead of the first 3 and come to the same conclusion.

Pretty simple once you think of it, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong, but the truth is nothing is always useful all the time.


If it’s true for

 “stuff”, what

 about for financial advice?


Well, put simply, yes.

One problem that many people have when trying to either set things right or get out of financial problems is that their circumstances might be different that those the author had in mind when he or she came up with the advice in the first place. Because they are so desperate for success or even just progress, they follow the advice regardless of how relevant it is for their situation. They do it unquestioningly, and when they inevitably get setback or fail, they begin to blame the messenger instead of the fact that they were following great advice, just at a different time.

Is there any way to make the professionals’ advice useful all the time?

Well, if you have the kind of access that allows you to be in personal contact with somebody, you can ask the question you need answered and the advice given should be useful. Of course, if you had direct access to a personal finance professional and you were still able to manage getting yourself into trouble, perhaps advice isn’t what you need.

You could also hope that the person you get your advice from is prolific enough to have covered several topics from several different directions that you can find their thoughts on almost any subject. This might be one of the best ways to make sure you are following the best advice at the best time. This works, as long as you are willing to do the research to find the best answers to your questions.

A third way would be to find several sources by multiple people to answer your questions. Imagine how cool it would be to have a group of advisors instead of just one. Of course, having a chorus of voices sometimes makes it more difficult to hear the one you need when you need a quick answer.

Regardless of how you do it, you need to do your best to make sure that you aren’t left carrying a pen the next time you find yourself adrift in the middle of the ocean.

Speaking of having a chorus backing you up…, enjoy!

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Note from Wil:
This is a post from Jeff Atkins. Jeff writes about credit for sites that help those with no credit get credit.

I like to include the writings and opinions of as many people as I can, regardless of whether or not I agree with someone’s opinion. If you want to contribute to Finance For Youth: The Blog, send me an email:


There are some great speakers out there who try to tell their audiences how they should change their lives to be successful. While some of these classes or three-step programs might work for some, I can’t help but think all these speakers want to do is make money. They write their books and develop a fan base so they will buy every book, audio recording, and pamphlet the author sells. These people are right in trying to learn how to be successful, but you don’t need a book to help you figure it out. Some of the most successful people in the world got to where they are without help from a speaker or an author. They did it with hard work, creativity, and by being themselves.

For example, Bruce Jenner travels around the country giving motivational speeches about how he became an Olympic athlete and how you can be successful too. He gets his audience so fired up that they want to take the same path to success that Jenner did, so they try to change who they are to get to where they want to be. The truth is Jenner isn’t that successful. He’s on a reality TV show where he gets degraded by his entire family. There are many who no longer take him seriously, and his level of success was a lot greater years ago when he was actually an athlete. Now, most people only know him as the Kardashians‘ step father, and the many who don’t know of him at all only see him as a creepy old guy with earrings.

While some lifestyle changes may be necessary in order for you to be successful, you should never feel like you have to change your thoughts or behaviors in order to see success in your business or in your life. Roll models are a wonderful tool to help you get motivated, but you shouldn’t try to change your personality to match theirs.

Trying to change who you are is hard work. I know this from experience. In my first job search, I tried to change my personality to match whatever the employer was looking for. When I did get a job, they were expecting an entirely different person, so I had to keep up the act. It was exhausting. I even tried to change the way I laughed to sound more manly. I dreaded going into work every day, and in the end, I had to quit because of all of the stress I was under.

When you go into a job interview, or if you are just looking to meet new people, make sure they are meeting the real you, not some version of yourself you will grow to hate. Your work will be stronger, and people will expect nothing less than what you are capable of doing. When you make the decision not to change, you will be able to have more fun in your life. Trying to stay professional all the time will make you look strict and unfriendly, but constantly being the funny guy won’t get you very far either. When you enjoy you work you will be able to enjoy your life and the success that will come.

If you make mistakes along the way, own up to them and accept that you are not perfect. Some of the most engaging people can laugh at their mistakes and help others learn from them. When you are confident with your personality, you will be surrounded by the people who truly think you are great. With their support, there is no way you won’t see the success you are trying to reach.

Jeff Atkins is an author who writes about personal growth, finance, and business strategy. His company strives to educate the general public about their personal finance options and ways to build their credit.

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Note from Wil: This is a post from Matthew Kuehlhorn, “America‘s Mentor for Teens”. Matthew has made several awesome contributions to the discussion here at F4Y, and I would like to share some of his work to help get your mind working.

I like to include the writings and opinions of as many people as I can. If you want to
contribute to
Finance For Youth: The Blog, send me an email:

  • “Money does not grow on trees.”
  • “Money is the root of evil.”
  • “Cold, hard cash.”
  • “Money is hard to come by.”

Are any of these sayings you hear or tell yourself? What do they really mean to you?

Understanding our beliefs about money affects the ways we spend money and the ways we earn money. We can choose to believe anything—so why would we make it difficult?

Think of it this way:. If I thought that money were the root of all evil, and then all of a sudden I had a windfall of money land in my lap, what would I think about myself? Might I be evil? And if I were evil, would I then keep the money around or would I get rid of it to ensure that I were not evil?

I would probably get rid of it.

Beliefs can cause us to form poor spending habits. For me, I have been an emotional spender, and I used to tell myself that it did not really matter because I would always make more money. While this is true–I do always make more money–I really do not want to have to make more. So my thoughts and habits must change.

I now tell myself everything matters. And it does! The tiniest actions make huge waves in our lives. Having adopted this belief I now do not spend money spontaneously, and this allows me to save more. When I earn money, I am very thankful and appreciative for it. No longer is the money simply passing by. It is very important, and because I have a respect for it, it comes back!

Here is a practice for you. Fill in the blanks:

Money is _________________

Money is _________________

Money is _________________

Wealth is _________________

Rich people are ___________________

Rich people are ___________________

Are your answers negative or positive? Will your beliefs support earning and managing money well, or do they push money and success away from you?

I guarantee if you think rich people are greedy, you will not allow yourself to become rich. It is a law. And you can change your beliefs to gain the success you want.

How will you think differently about money and finances?


Matthew Kuehlhorn is America’s Mentor for Teens. He teaches the “Rules of the Road: Business, Finance, Life” to teenagers who want to gain the “keys” to their life.

He has created the Relationship Building System for Teens which is delivered in a 144-page illustrated novel titled, Bully, and he invites you to take advantage of incredible pricing and additional offers at his site


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Note From Wil: This is a guest post from Kelly Austin, a writer with  Much of what Miss Austin writes today should sound familiar to many readers. Much of her advice today can also be found in various articles right here on F4Y:TB. I include her take for those newer readers who might not have read some of those older posts.

I like to include the writings and opinions of as many people as I can.  If you want to contribute to Finance For Youth: The Blog, send me an email:

Personal finance is one subject that does not get enough attention in the education system, so it is up to parents to raise financially literate children. Here are five actions that you can do to help teach your teenager about personal finance.

Get a job: Encourage your teen to find a part-time job so that he learns the value of work and develops a good work habit. Giving allowances is okay, but adults have to work for their money; no one just gives money to them. Help your teen look for a paper route, babysitting job or a job at the local fast food joint. Working ten to fifteen hours a week while in high school will help them learn to prioritize their time and earn money for their spending and savings needs.
(Note from Wil:  I talk about this very topic HERE!)

Open a Checking Account: Your teen probably has a savings account but it’s good to get him a checking account so he can deposit and use his hard-earned cash. You can get your name put on the account so that you can oversee his transactions. Let him get a debit card and teach him to balance his account regularly. Even if he messes up and gets an overdraft charge, it’s better to do it now than to rack up thousands in credit card charges and fees as an adult.
(Note from Wil:  I talk about this very topic HERE!)

Make A Budget: Once your teen has a job, show him how to make a balanced budget. The expenses must equal (or at least less than) the income otherwise he’ll go into debt. Allocate extra money to savings goals. If your teen doesn’t have a job, you might consider giving him a lump sum of money equal to what you usually give him annually (or quarterly) for his clothing and entertainment expenses. Then it’s up to him to spend it appropriately. Do not bail him out if he wastes it. The best thing you can do is to give him some household chores so he can earn some money.
(Note from Wil:  I talk about this very topic HERE!)

Read A Good Personal Finance Book: There are a few great books that teach personal finance and are enjoyable for teens. Consider giving your teen a copy of Dave Ramsey‘s Total Money Makeover or Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi is also great for teens as it was written when he was just out of college and has a writing style that appeals to a younger audience.
(Note from Wil:  I personally don’t agree that all of these books or authors are great, but that’s my opinion.  For a F4Y friendly book, You can always go with THIS ONE!)

Set Short and Long Term Financial Goals: Your teen will likely have a long list of needs and wants. Help him to prioritize them and set short and long-term savings goals. Short term goals might be saving for a concert, buying a car or new computer. Long term goals will likely be college, an apartment or car upgrade.
(Note from Wil:  This is the name of the game!  I talk about this everywhere online and in Finance For Youth: The Book!)

This guest article was contributed by Kelly Austin from Visit her site for information about salary and benefit information for many popular careers.

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Ever thought that you would want to write for Finance for youth: The blog? Maybe you are a writer who wants to reach a few more readers. Maybe you are a money person who has something to add to the discussion. Maybe you are a young person who wants to share your point of view or the point of view of youth in general. Hell, maybe you are some crank who wants to prove to the world how stupid I am and how much smarter you are than me!

Who knows what your motivation is, but you are feeling the urge to jump on your computer or grab a notebook and a pen and start writing. Writing can be a lot of work, but it can also be very rewarding, especially if you get the chance to write about something as universally important as personal finance. So if you think you’ve got a great article in you that you are dying to get out there, I have only two words for you.

Do it!


Send me your best article about youth issues, finance, education, or fun! If it’s good enough, I’ll put it up, along with a link to your site as my post of the week. You’ll get full credit; I’ll get to read some awesome new writers’ works. Everybody wins!

Of course, to keep this all honest, there are a few things I need to make clear:

  1. Since I don’t charge for people to read the blog, I don’t pay people to write for it. If I use your piece, you are getting exactly what I get out of it. You get exposure for your work and the means to reach and potentially influence my audience. As I said, I’m more than willing to put up a link to your other work on another site.
  2. I am a lot of things. I am a writer, a teacher, and a financial advice provider. Notice that I didn’t list “editor” as one of the things that I am. I’m not in the business of editing your submissions. If I have time to spare and an interest in seeing your particular submission on F4Y:TB, I might engage in a dialog with you where I present suggestions that I think will make your article better, but chances are better that I won’t. Generally, I will either use it as it is presented to me, or I will reject it. Either way, I won’t leave you hanging. You’ll know ASAP whether or not I’ll be using your article.
  3. I’m not the language police, but I don’t like gratuitous profanity or vulgarity. Nothing pisses me off more than having to sift through a bunch of s–T to get to a decent f—ing article. Got it? If absolutely integral to the article, I can see looking the other way, but I’ll make that decision when it comes up.
  4. I’m only one guy with a blog. I’m more than happy to share whatever resources I have to get your article seen by as many people as possible, but you have to do your part as well. I expect that contributors will do some sort of advertising on their own. Post announcements on your other sites, tell your friends, stand outside the Starbucks with a sandwich board; whatever it takes to let people know to read your article.
  5. Do yourself a favor and read F4Y:TB before you get all type-happy. You’ll start to get a feel for what I stand for and what Finance For Youth is all about. I’m not going to post an article that goes against what I stand for or what my brand represents. In other words, if you are advocating something that goes against my Qualities of Success, chances are good that you get a quick TNT e-mail.
  6. I will only entertain original work. Don’t try to pass of “recycled” posts from other writers or link farms.

So those are my rules. But what does it take to get your article read and posted? Well, there are no hard, fast rules here, but the basic things I’m looking for are accuracy, personality, and relevance. That being said, there are some suggestions that will help you get your work read, whether here or elsewhere. These are some things I like to see:

  1. While brevity is the essence of good communication, don’t sacrifice quality or completeness for a shorter post.  Give the reader the whole idea.
  2. My best posts, and the best posts I have read always tell the reader a little about the writer.  Let’s face it, there isn’t much new about personal finance.  The only thing that separates a factually accurate post that is dreadfully dull and one that is good is personality. I want to be able to see yours.
  3. Give your post a hook.  You want to tell me about your journey from bankruptcy to financial independence?  Great!  Make it sound like an epic like The Iliad! Want to give the readers rules for being financially smarter than the average young person, write a limerick that is easy to learn and remember.
  4. Pictures might not hurt.  Especially if they are funny and add/or to the story.
  5. I’m big on humor!  I’m just saying.
  6. Be as entertaining as possible. Give me a reason to want to read what you write.
  7. Hot chicks always get their stuff read faster!  Of course I am kidding, and do not use physical beauty or gender as criteria for submissions.  See number 5 above!

If, after reading this, you still think you’ve got something to say that my readers want to hear, send me your article, any pictures you want included, a paragraph or two about yourself, and if possible, a picture of yourself to include with the article to I will read any submissions received in the order I receive them and will communicate with the author to let them know whether or not I will use their article ASAP!

While I was writing this, I stumbled upon a great song by one of my favorite bands, cake.  I saw this awesome video, done by youtube user camillathethrilla that really fits in with the whole writing thing;  unfortunately, Sony and Youtube are full of dickness and the video won’t play from this site.

So, instead I present Greenday singing about one of the best known books ever!  Enjoy!



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A while back, I went to a doctor for a minor medical issue. The doctor gave me some medicine and instructions that I needed to stay away from salt, sugar, cheese, bread, pasta, rice, soda, in short, anything with flavor or anything that is appetizing.  I was admonished to increase my intake of vegetables, especially of the green, leafy type, such as that found covering the “lawn” area.  I wondered if this were general advice or advice specific to what I came in for. Unfortunately, my wife was in the room, rendering the point moot. Since she is in charge of shopping and meal preparation, I knew my goose was cooked, if uneaten.

My wife and I have had several “heated” discussions about the subject, with the end result being me losing and eating another bowl of spinach.  But being the skeptic I am (not to mention my desire for a bowl of chili-cheese-fries) I did a little research.  What did my research reveal?  The short answer is nothing that was going to get those fries any closer to my belly. 

I found that this doctor’s advice was pretty standard advice for the whole medical group he works for.  This is their company line.  I also found that it fit right in with a speech made by Michelle Obama about eating tasteless food around the same time as my doctor.  So far suspicious, but not enough for the fries, but I’m getting closer.  I did some research on the recommended treatment, and while the course of medicine was listed, there was no indication of dietary change needed.  Still not enough.  Because I know the doctor isn’t going to give me deliberately bad advice, getting those fries didn’t look to likely.  Then my wife asked the worst question possible: 

“Well, is doing what he said going to hurt you?”


Okay, I lost the practicality battle.  But in doing so, I was reminded of part of why I started Finance For Youth in the first place. 

Very recently, American Express has opened a website called “Get Currency”.  This is the latest in youth-centric financial “education” sites put up by a major finance player.  Bank of America offers “education” as does Wells Fargo and several other major players.  There has been a lot of activity on Twitter recently surrounding American Express Get Currency. 

I’m not making any judgements as to how good or bad Get Currency is.  I haven’t done any of the research on it.  I know a lot of bloggers are jumping on the bandwagon.  Many of these bloggers are bloggers that I enjoy reading and interacting with.  My concern is in the concept of getting education in making sound financial decisions from a company that profits when I make poor financial decisions.

One reason I started Finance For Youth, and why I decided to write FINANCE FOR YOUTH: THE BOOK is because I couldn’t stand by and see banks and other financial institutions pass advertising off as “education”.  It isn’t right.  I also think the threshold has to be higher than “is it going to do any harm?” 

Let’s look at it this way:  Would you take diet advice from a fat person?  How about from McDonald’s?  Would you take driving tips from Maaco?  Yet day after day, we take financial education from those who profit from us staying uneducated.  Now, am I saying that these sites are inherently bad?  Nope.  There’s an old saw that says, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”  So there will probably be some great advice in there.  But I’m still weary of taking financial advice from a company that makes profit from you not knowing smart financial choices.

I know my doctor will have a problem with this, but I’m taking anything I read from Amex’ Get Currency with a huge grain of salt.

You should also consider being skeptical when given advice.  Here are a few things to look at.

  • What’s in it for them?
    • Good advice is good advice, but if someone stands to profit significantly more if you follow them than if you don’t, be cautious.
  • What’s in it for you?
    • Some of these groups appeal to something you want or feel you need to give you “advice”.  Be sure that the advice will stand up and be right even if you don’t succumb to your wants.
  • Who is giving the advice?
    • On the other side of this, as I said before some bloggers that I have a lot of respect for are jumping on the bandwagon on Get Currency.  Maybe that’s a point in favor of it for you.  People you respect generally have earned that respect. 

At the end of the day, any advice, any website, any Personal Finance guy or gal might have something worthwhile to say.  Don’t jump in with both feet.  Be cautious, especially when anybody tells you “jump in with both feet!”.  When you start disagreeing with the advice, stop listening to the advisor.  Get more than one point of view.

Of course, with all this talk of salt, how could I not show one of the best composers out there doing one of the most fun songs from a movie?

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No preamble, just a simple question. Attached to, is a blog that I haven’t used effectively.  I’m considering migrating everything from this site over to that one.  Some have told me that doing so would be hurtful because people wouldn’t update their bookmarks or whatever.  On the other hand, it might make more sense to consolidate the brand.  So what do you think?


Please feel free to expand on your opinion in the comments.