This essay was submitted by a student, Micah Cavender, who hopes to win the Golden Financial Services scholarship. Micah proposes a solution to credit card debt and a way for Americans to get credit card debt relief with ease.
Here we go!
Credit card debt has become an epidemic in America. We live in a society of “give it to me now, I’ll pay for it later.” Social media, television, and print advertisement make up a large part of our waking day. We are constantly being told through these outlets that we “need” whatever thing they are selling to be professionally successful and live a happy, healthy, fulfilling personal life. There is rarely even a pause of consideration as to whether we can actually afford the things that are being purchased.
As a society, we have been brainwashed to believe that we cannot go through life without a credit card. At the same time, there is no education of responsible use is given, just the “pie in the sky” fantasy of what a credit card can do. Credit cards are issued, at times, to those that don’t even have sufficient income. I know because I have been sent many credit card applications as a high school student living at home and with little to no income. And as soon as I started applying for colleges, more of the applications came rolling in.
I have grown up in a home where credit card debt is not the norm. Yes, my parents have credit cards and yes, on occasion, they have not been used wisely. But, in general, my family does not use credit cards to get whatever we want, whenever we want it. From an early age, I’ve been taught the importance and satisfaction of saving for what I want or need rather than the instant gratification of getting it now on credit.
As a high school student, I have noticed that my generation is having more conversations about living debt free, not even owning a credit card. This debt-free mentality is extending to the discussion of graduating college debt-free. But even with the awareness of my generation, as I approach my final semester in school, a high school transcript currently requires only a one-half credit in personal finance for graduation. Furthermore, my mom who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance tells me she didn’t have any college classes that were remotely related to being personally, fiscally responsible. As she describes it, her classes were abstract and capstones of other people’s successful companies rather than teaching students how to become financially responsible with their own money.
Proposed credit card debt solutions
Even though there is more and more personal finance education than when my parents were my age, it is still severely lacking. One of the best ways to solve this epidemic is through continued and widespread education using a grassroots approach. This education should include not only what a credit card is, but how to responsibly use it and most importantly, the real effects of credit card debt. It needs to be consistent, constant and occur at every stage of our lives.
The best place to start would be in the home. It is healthy for parents to share their financial picture with their children. They don’t necessarily need to know every detail, but to include them in financial discussions is a fantastic way to learn, both what to do, and more importantly, what not to do with credit card debt.
Second, there needs to be more education in the school system, early and often. As mentioned above, only having a required one-half credit of personal finance is clearly not enough for a graduating student to have a full understanding of credit cards. Personal finance can and should begin in elementary school. It can begin as soon as a child can add and subtract. There are many ways to incorporate personal finance on any child’s level. Personal finance should be an annually required course in all schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. Just as reading, writing, and arithmetic are required each year, personal finance education should also be required each year. Repetition is how something is solidified in a person’s life. Students who have personal finance in school each year will more likely become individuals who make wiser decisions regarding their money and become more fiscally responsible translating to less credit card debt.
And last but certainly not least, the community should offer credit card education classes. Credit card companies, investment companies and financial groups such as Golden Financial Services should offer classes to educate the local community on responsible credit card use. When individuals within a community are not in credit card debt up to their eyeballs, they can contribute more to their local community economics and, by great extension, contribute to charitable causes right in their own backyard.
Education is the key to almost every problem in the world and credit card debt is, by far, no exception. We live in a free capitalistic society where we can purchase whatever we want, just about whenever we want. To use a famous quote for which many take responsibility for its origin, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” This quote couldn’t be more relevant to credit card debt. As we become financially liquid as a society through early and often grassroots education, we will have more disposable income, not only for our families but for the greater good in our philanthropic causes.
About Micah Cavender
This letter is an introduction of myself, Micah Cavender, and my desire to participate in the Golden Financial Service Annual Scholarship Program. I am a homeschooled senior and have been accepted to Texas State University for the 2017 Fall term.
My education goals include finishing what I started in high school. I want to obtain, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree because, as my personal family’s history has shown, higher education will give me the ability to walk through more opportunity doors than without it. My mom has a B.S. Finance degree. She attended college at night while working full time. She credits her degree with being the vehicle that catapulted her career in the natural gas commodity world, even though she was doing the same exact job before she received her diploma. For her, it opened many more doors that had previously been closed to her.
My father, on the other hand, did not attend higher education. He is extremely intelligent and very talented. He was a runner-up for a full ride art scholarship. Being raised in a single parent home, he didn’t know what options were available to him. Over the years, I have watched my father encounter obstacles in furthering his career, not because he doesn’t have the skills, but because he does not have a degree. There have been several opportunities for which my father was qualified that could not be realized because he could not check that “yes, I have a degree” box on the application.
Both of my parents have stressed the importance of higher education all my life. At 16, I was fortunate to attend dual enrollment. As I approach my final semester of high school, I have acquired 45 credits, all transferring to TSU. I have enjoyed everything about going to college. As a homeschooled student, it was my first time going to a campus. I’ve met some very interesting people and have enjoyed every one of my professors, some of which I keep in contact with today. While attending, I found a new interest, theater, and became a member of the campus’ traveling Competitive Theater Group.
I love all things about computers – hardware and software. It is a giant puzzle to me that requires intense strategic and critical thinking skills. My current academic goals are to pursue a B.S. degree in Computer Science this Fall at Texas State University. In the Computer Science industry, my research has shown me that it is not only important to have education degrees but to also have certificates in the various computer languages for which I will pursue.
My career goals begin while I’m still in college. Short term, I want to pursue an intern opportunity at a company in the computer science field. I realize this is a very competitive field and I am ready for the challenge. My long-term career goals include working for the government or private sector in Cyber Security after graduation. I intend to achieve these goals by networking with other students and professors at college.
One of my life goals is to explore the world. I would love to explore other cultures with their unique personalities and traditions. One way I plan to achieve this goal is to take advantage of the college’s study abroad program. Taking courses towards my degree while learning about other cultures and their traditions through travel is an excellent way of “killing two birds with one stone” as they say. In addition to my core studies, I have taken foreign languages to further this goal.
Outside of the college classroom, with my new-found interest in theater, a more recent goal includes being a part of the college theater group in all its capacities, both on and off stage. Currently, with what started out as volunteer work for the last six months at a local children’s theater, I now have a part-time job there working in many departments from marketing to technical. After college, outside of work, I can see myself giving back to my community through my theater talents by being a part of my local community theater in all its capacities, both on and off stage.
I’m solely responsible for my educational funding due to a tragic accident in my family leaving my father with a shattered shoulder and leg. The medical bills depleted the family finances. To that end, I am currently saving my earnings from my part-time jobs to pay for my goals. The biggest contributor has been the landscaping business I have owned for three years which I started because I couldn’t find a business that would hire me at 15 years old. Should I be the winner of this scholarship, it will be used to further my education goals at TSU.
I am a hard worker, both in academics and community service. I enjoy and welcome challenges. I am looking forward to what lies ahead for me in life. My future goals stem from me attending college to pursue a degree so that I can check the “yes I have a degree” box and have a greater number of opportunity doors open. It’s true there IS power in knowledge and what I intend to do is gain knowledge in as many areas as I can so that I can reach my education, career and life goals and use my talents for me and my community. Your investment in my education will not be wasted. I intend to be one of the people from your quote. My education and career plans are to excel to my fullest potential and learn the skills necessary to be a contributing member of society and help improve our country’s economic health.
I would like to thank you and the Golden Financial Service Annual Scholarship Committee for supporting college-bound students with an opportunity for financial assistance through your scholarship program. Attached you will find my essay providing a unique solution for the problem stated in the scholarship requirements.
Golden Financial Services is an IAPDA Accredited & BBB “A+” Rated Debt Consolidation Company, giving students the chance to come up with a way for Americans to achieve credit card relief.