Sunday, October 30, 2011

Working Hard While They Study

By Julian Abraham Chua, Diploma in Business Management Graduate

Working part-time jobs while studying is common for students in tertiary schools across Singapore. In NYP, there is no exception. It is easy to find students who work part-time these days.
In any case, working part-time jobs while studying can be challenging but it provides invaluable job experiences and a great source of income. We interviewed three NYP students who hold part-time jobs to find out why they do it:

Name: Syazwanie Sulaiman
Age: 19
Course: Diploma in Space & Interior Design, School Of Design

How did you land your current job? And when did you start working?

My sister and cousin recommended the job to me. It has been more than a year since I first start working.

Tell us more about your job.

I’m working at IKEA Tampines under the food and beverage section. It might sound funny, but yes, I love to work around food.

Currently I work part-time on weekends. Although my main job is to serve food to customers, my job scope also includes tasks like cooking rice, frying, baking, making sauces and cutting fruits.

For someone who was never interested in cooking, it was a quite an eye-opener for me and I learnt many things. I also love interacting with people and working at IKEA has given me the opportunities to do just that. I get the chance to meet customers from other countries as well.

For me, it’s easy to commute to work as I live in Tampines. In addition, I get to enjoy perks such as staff discounts at the IKEA cafeteria when I eat there with my families and friends. There are also monthly company dinners for staff.

Why did you choose to take up a part-time job?
I wanted to relive the financial burden of my father, who is the breadwinner in the family. I have three other younger siblings who require financial support.  The money I earn will also help me to pay my school fees and design materials for school projects.

Share with us any memorable experiences while working or anything that is fun about your work.

Working is fun to a certain extent. I made good friends while working there and we organize our own outings with some of the supervisors. We had Hari Raya outings and we even went to Universal Studios Singapore together.

Has studying in NYP helped you do a better job at work? How so?

I guess in a way, my school had also taught me to think of more ways to deal with varying challenges; learning to approach challenges in a different ways actually helps widen my understanding of things.

Are there any challenges you face juggling both school and work?

I feel that I’m always fighting against time. I wish that there are more than seven days a week as there is just too much work to do with so little time.   But I’m trying my best to cope with the pressure. Juggling both is time-consuming and I had to make sacrifices like spending less time with family and friends.

Name: Lee Mun Ning, Magdeline
Age: 17
Course: Diploma in Banking & Financial Services, School of Business Management

Tell us more about your job.

I’m currently working at Fish & Co, Parkway Parade. I’m a waitress, so my job is to do tasks like taking orders and clearing the tables.  .My working hours are flexible. Staff meals are provided as well, and staff get 10% discount if they dine in.

This is my first job in the food and beverage industry, as my previous jobs were mainly administrative in nature.  I soon discovered that I love this job very much!

How did you land your current job? And when did you start working?

I first joined Fish & Co in the month of January 2011. My initial plan was to work while waiting for the polytechnic term to begin. After term started, I continued working after school and during the weekends.

Share with us any memorable experiences while working or anything that is fun about your work.

I have had my share of mistakes, like sending wrong orders in or breaking glasses.  However, the good times I had outnumbered these tough ones.  I made wonderful friends there. We laughed and enjoyed times together. The boss even organizes staff gatherings at chalets on a yearly basis!

Besides your current part-time job, did you or will you ever consider the option of doing other jobs?

If nothing goes wrong, I guess I’ll stay in my current job as I feel that I may never find another part-time job I love so much – I enjoyed the friendships and the fun times.

Being a student is stressful at times. How do you manage to juggle both work and studies?

Indeed, being a student is stressful as there are much assignments and homework to be done at times. However, I made it a point to only help out at the restaurant when I’m coping well with my studies. Hence, there isn’t any much problem juggling both school and work.

Has studying in NYP helped you do a better job at work? How so?

I learnt how to provide good customer service in school, which is helpful in my line of work. Having group assignments and projects in school also enable me to learn how to interact with others and build teamwork.  I bring such skills to my workplace as well .

Name: Tan Kok Wen Eric
Age: 20
Course: Diploma in Space & Interior Design, School Of Design
Tell us more about your job

I am a part-time guitar instructor who gives private lessons at students’ homes. Each lesson is around one and a half hours. I strive to develop the skills and knowledge of my students, according to their pace of learning.  I also encouraged them to be creative with music, improvise or even compose their own songs.

Why did you choose to take up a part-time job?

I actually took up this part-time job for three reasons. Firstly, I wanted to finance my education here and my personal expenses. Secondly, I wanted to build up my music portfolio and lastly, I am passionate about spreading the love of music to others.

How did you land your current job? And when did you start working?

I usually advertise my services online. I started teaching a couple of months ago.

Share with us any memorable experiences while working or anything that is fun about your work.

I would sometimes stay back after conducting lessons to chat with my students. I had one memorable lesson where I was invited to stay for dinner with my student and his family. They made a delicious home-cooked meal and we chatted till late evening!

Being a student is stressful at times, how do you manage to juggle both work and studies?

I believe commitment is important. Thus, I would sacrifice my leisure time to give lessons and do my school assignments.

Has studying in NYP helped you do a better job at work? How so?

Definitely. Being in a design course moulded my attitude, character and thinking. This, in turn, helps me to become a better and more effective guitar teacher.

Monday's Entrepreneur: Ifeanyi Clothing Presents - DMV's Rip The Runway

Every Monday at PF4P, we like to start the week off on a positive note, so we bring you stories of people like us who have turned a passion, hobby, talent, or skill into something that provides them with either full-time or part-time income.


Ifeanyi Clothing Presents DMV's Rip The Runway

Ifeanyi Clothing will be holding a fashion show/talent showcase the second week of April, 2012. Fashion Designers, Models, Makeup Artists, Hair Stylists are encouraged to apply.

Also, Rappers, Singers, Artists, Dancers, and Spoken Word Artists  needed.

WANTED: Fashion Designers, Models, Makeup Artists, Hair Stylists, Rappers, Singers, Artists, and Spoken Word Artists!!!

Contact us at for details.


Ifeanyi: meaning GOD CAN DO ANYTHING in Ibgo.

Ifeanyi is a clothing line that I can honestly say I love and wear as much as I can, because not only is the founder (Robert Ross) an amazing guy doing a lot for our community but the line is HOT. Ifeanyi is a clothing line that is attempting to break the mild of people following the trends and is offering a unique brand that is more than just a clothing line; it is a movement. Ifeanyi supports the notion that anything is possible with effort and understanding of the world around you. 

In the near future look for the Ifeanyi Kid's, Petite, Junior's, and Plus size lines. Fall 2012 Ifeanyi will branch out to it's Kid's line, so the whole family can express their unique style. 

Ifeanyi Clothing is an affordable clothing line for an unsure economy. 

Each season’s line demonstrates Ifeanyi’s continual goals to strive for originality beyond expectations.

“Let Ifeanyi Reflect Your Subconscious Choice to Stand Apart from Others”

Ifeanyi is available in Men's and Women's in sizes S to XL. 







Founder Robert Ross

I got mine...Get your's....


To get your OWN Ifeanyi Gear:

Facebook: Ifeanyi Clothiing
Twitter: @IfeanyiDMV

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Delivering POWERFUL Presentations

By Ho Khin Wai, 1st Year, Diploma in Banking & Financial Services

The new semester has just begun and we are back to flipping those pages again! Soon enough, students will be loaded with tutorials and assignments, not forgetting the projects we have to complete. We may do up very detailed and comprehensive reports, but when it comes to the presentation part, many of us don’t pay enough attention to it. Fairly often, my schoolmates would do up their “quick-and-easy” PowerPoint slides only few days before their presentation, and are satisfied with it.
While it is true presentations only carry little weightage out of the whole project, that isn’t the case in the working world. In fact, pitches and presentations are the key to clinching major business deals or just simply to share an experience with others. Moreover, having good, powerful presentations engages your audience, which means a possibility of a higher grade.
With that in mind, I offer you ten tips on how to deliver stunning and intriguing presentations…

#10 No Bullet Points

This might seem shocking, but bullet points kill your presentations. According to Mr Farhad Manjoo, a technology columnist at, bullet points turn your presentations into a series of boring lists. Worse, because you don't have much room on each slide, the lists will contain clipped sentences and abbreviations that will confuse your audience. Then, if you include a lot of bullets, you're bound to start reading them out to the audience, which is the worst sin in Powerpoint presentations.
#9 At least 30-point SIZE

Former Apple Macintosh chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki believes that words on a slide should have at least a 30-point font. This “forces you to know your material” and only include the core details in the slide, while achieving better readability for your audience.
#8 Cut down on effects!
Too many effects and animations will distract your audience. This will cause them to lose focus of what you’re saying (essentially, the message). However, a presentation without effects will also leave the impression that the presentation is boring and static. Hence, the ideal PowerPoint presentation should have minimal effects, and they should be used meaningfully.
#7 Colour management

Have you ever come across presentations which have text that you just can’t make out because of the bad choice in colour? I’m talking about something like this:
So, choose your colours wisely!
#6 Less is More
Albert Einstein once said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”. Having a whole chunk of text right off your report isn’t going to get you a good score. Same goes for wholesale copying of text right off websites (that is illegal, by the way). Ideally, you should have minimal text on your slides, even for a topic that entails a great amount of information.
#5 Make statistical data meaningful
Numbers do not mean much, unless they are placed in context with the topic of the presentation. Presenters must be able to “connect the dots” with the audience. One example would be in a keynote by the late Mr Steve Jobs, where he announced:
“We have sold four million iPhones to date. Divide four million by 200 days, that is twenty-thousand iPhones every day on average”.
#4 Plan
Planning is probably the most important step to create a successful presentation. There are essentially two things to plan – (a) Content of your slides, (b) Your speech. Focus your presentation on something your audience doesn’t know. Leave out what they already know. If your presentation is about taking sides in an argument, or why one option is better than the other, make sure your slides concur from the first to the last.
#3 Know your content well
This needs little explanation. If you know your content well, you will be able to confidently deliver a clear message to your listeners.
#2 Avoid Monotony
A monotonous tone will bore your listeners and causes them to lose focus on the presentation. Vary your PACE, VOLUME and PITCH, and be sincere and enthusiastic about what you say. Much of the emotions of the speaker are contained within the speaker’s tonality. Varying tonality will add emphasis and interest to the presentation.
#1 Rehearse, and rehearse again
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it alone, or in a group. Rehearse your pitch repeatedly until you can reel it off without using notes. While it isn’t a sin to read off a script or flashcard, it gives listeners confidence that you know what you’re talking about.

Be Careful! It's a Trap!

Pay Day Loans suck! They are a trap designed to hold you hostage for as long as possible. I would even say Pay Day Loans and those who run Pay Day Loan places are evil.


They prey on those who need financial assistance and education the most. Offering money with high interest rates attached to it. They offer no financial advice and serve no real purpose, besides preying on the misfortune of others.

Pay Day Loans become a cycle. Once a loan is taken out, the interest makes it very hard to get out from under the loan. Next thing you know you are giving the loan place your whole pay check to pay for the loan, or loans, you have taken out. Then you have to take out more loans just to survive, until the next pay day when you use that check to pay off the loan you took out the pay day before. It's a trap!

All you are doing is handing over YOUR hard earned money!

I know times get tough and we have to do what we have to do to make it to another day, but what good do Pay Day Loans do? They don't teach people about financial management. They don't offer a way out of debt. They do continue the cycle of poverty.

Look around and see where the Pay Day Loan places are. Who is their target? More often than not, you will find Pay Day Loans places in areas where the community is already in financial trouble. You find them in minority neighborhoods. You find them in cities close to rural areas. Why? Because those are the people who need financial education the most due to their low economic standing.

The New York Times had an article on Pay Day Loans awhile back and a few parts really stood out to me:

"While such lending is effectively banned in 11 states, including New York, through usury or other laws, it is flourishing in 39 others. The practice is unusually rampant and unregulated in New Mexico, where it has become a contentious political issue. The Center for Responsible Lending, a private consumer group based in Durham, N.C., calculates that nationally payday loans totaled at least $28 billion in 2005, doubling in five years.

The loans are quick and easy. Customers are usually required to leave a predated personal check that the lender can cash on the next payday, two or four weeks later. They must show a pay stub or proof of regular income, like Social Security, but there is no credit check, which leads to some defaults but, more often, continued extension of the loan, with repeated fees.

In many states, including New Mexico, lenders also make no effort to see if customers have borrowed elsewhere, which is how Mr. Milford could take out so many loans at once. If they repay on time, borrowers pay fees ranging from $15 per $100 borrowed in some states to, in New Mexico, often $20 or more per $100, which translates into an annualized interest rate, for a two-week loan, of 520 percent or more."

I can't place all the blame on Pay Day Loans. I can't place all the blame on the people who use them. I can't place all the blame on schools. I can't place all the blame on society for not properly educating about money. I can't fully blame society for the cycles of poverty; making Pay Day Loans appealing.

A piece of the blame should be shared. People have to do what they must to survive and Pay Day Loan place take advantage of this. The people who use Pay Day Loans need to develop an exit strategy, no matter how bad their current financial situation happens to be. Have a plan for getting out from under the loans and building a strong financial foundation. Find organizations or individuals that educate AND help you build this foundation. Take control of YOUR money!

As the old saying goes, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

If you find yourself in Pay Day Loan hell or are considering using Pay Day Loans, let us help instead!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wanna Retire Early? Do this...

Yahoo! Finance had an article recently about 6 Secrets of Early Retirees. In this article stastics show the difference between people who are able to retire early (or at all) vs those who wait to save for retirement.


The best time to start thinking about retirement is now, while we are still young. Remember compound interest is our best friend in this high stakes game of retirement russian roulett. The longer and more ways our money can grow the sooner we can retire and hopefully live as we choose.

I talk a lot about savings; savings for short term, medium, and long range goals. Of course this would be a long term goal, to day. The typical retirement age is 65, I don't know about you but I don't want to be sitting at someone else's desk, doing someone else's work at 55, 60, or 65.

When I first got into personal finance, I spent a lot of time thinking about retirement. At first, "experts" were saying a million would get you by in retirement. I don't even know how many millions "they" say now. But all I know is to be able to retire, I have a long way to go - not just in terms of years, but money. I know I am not using my resources as I should be, but the first steps in saving for retirement is to pay off/down debt. Once you have this "extra" money from the debts, you can funnel it into retirement accounts.

If your company offers a 401(k) match try to at least meet that, even if you are paying down debt. It's like free money. Then once you are able you can open a Roth IRA to personally fund your retirement. The key is to be able to put away as much as possible, as early as possible. Remember, compund interest...

Retirement Jar Pictures, Images and Photos

The Yahoo! article found that people who are able to successfully retire early (or at all) have these charaistics:

1. Save for retirement outside of just their workplace plan: 69% of early retirees do this vs. 60% of those who plan to retire after 65 and 49% of those who say they'll never retire.

2. Defer a high percentage of their salary into a retirement plan: Early retirees defer a median of 10% vs. 6% for those who plan to retire after 65 or don't plan to retire.

3. Start saving at a younger age: The median age early retirees begin saving is 25 vs. 30 for those who will retire after 65 and 31 for those who never plan to retire.

4. Have a thought-out retirement savings strategy: 71% of early retirees have either a written plan (16%) or a non-written plan (55%), while just over half of those who plan to retire after 65 do and just one-third of those who will never retire do.

5. Be very involved in managing and monitoring their retirement accounts: 71% of early retirees say they are very involved vs. 58% of those who will retire after 65 and just 45% of those who say they will never retire.

6. Have saved the same amount or more since the recession began: 71% of early retirees are doing this compared to 61% of those who will retire after 65 and just over half of those who never plan to retire.


What are you doing now for retirement, later?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

20 Money Lessons for 20 Somethings

We all wish we could have gotten GOOD money advice before we got into the habit of BAD money moves. Well, over at Personal Dividends, they gave 20 Money Lessons for 20 Somethings...


- Overdrafting is expensive: When you spend more money than you have in the bank, it’s going to cost more than just putting that money back. Overdraft fees can add up and get very costly. Don’t throw money away; keep up with your balance and keep your spending within it.

- A budget is necessary: Budgets sound boring but we do so much better when we’re disciplined. Set up a budget and stick with it so you have enough money for your needs and maybe even your wants.

- Credit cards aren’t evil if you know how to use them properly: While some may tell you not to get a credit card, or why you don’t need one, that doesn’t mean credit cards are the root of all evil. It’s all about using credit cards properly: buy something with the card and pay it off in full every due date.

- Your credit will follow you: Just when you thought you got away with not paying that bill a few years ago, it will come back to haunt you. Late payments stay on your credit for 7 years, and by that time, you’ll probably be ready for a new job, a new home, or new credit, and late payments may prevent that from happening.

- An emergency fund will come in handy: You may have heard that shit happens because it does. You’re not immune from emergencies. Have an emergency fund for when you have your moment of need.

- You can start a successful business: You don’t need a lot of money to start a successful business. If you have the motivation and an idea, you can get it done. Don’t procrastinate; start your business today.

- Don’t get stuck in the rat race: You may have heard that a desk job is for you and moving up the corporate ladder is the way of life, but that’s not the case. If you’re not feeling it, it may not be for you. Explore other options!

- Insurance is another emergency fund: I once heard in a Chris Rock movie that insurance is “in case shit happens”. Sounds like an emergency fund, doesn’t it? You should be insured for your health, your car, and your home at the very least. Better safe than sorry.

- Invest in what you want to invest in: If you want to invest, don’t let someone else make decisions for you unless that’s what you want. If you have an idea of what you want to invest in, go for it. You’re young enough to be more adventurous in your investments.

- Children aren’t cheap but they don’t have to break the bank: So many people rant about how expensive kids are, calculating the costs for 18 years to be almost a quarter million dollars. If you are frugal and spend your money in a smart way, they won’t break the bank and you won’t be broke raising a child.

- Don’t get too comfortable with loans: Loans aren’t free money and you have to realize that with every loan comes an interest rate. Don’t get comfortable taking out numerous loans because you’ll have to pay them back and some.

- Retirement is closer than you think: You may be in your 20s and think you have years to think about retirement, but it’s closer than you think it is. If you start saving now, you’ll pat yourself on the back later. Even if it’s $20/month. Put it in an interest bearing account and watch your money grow for 30 years.

- Save for a goal instead of just splurging: When you have some extra pocket money, it may be burning your pocket to be spent. Instead, have a savings goal and once you meet it, then cash in and spend your money.

- The IRS is watching: If the IRS sends celebrities to jail for tax evasion, they will do the same to you. Do your taxes every year.

- You aren’t getting social security: That’s a monster within itself. Your grandparents may be getting it but don’t hold your breath. Look into 401(K)s and IRA accounts.

- Don’t forget your will: Unfortunately, we’re not immortal and we don’t know when we’re going to go. Think about who and what you want included in your will.

- Your finances will combine when you get married: Even if your spouse and yourself decide to keep your finances separate, you’ll still be tied if you share things like a home, a car, a business, or children.

- Divorces are expensive: Don’t get married just to get married. Divorces are expensive. Try to choose your partner wisely before jumping the broom.

- Renting is not throwing your money away: You may have heard that renting is throwing money away but that’s not the case. You’ll have a place to live, hopefully you remembered to get renter’s insurance, and you’re still paying for the same things you’d pay for in a bought house.

- You need a lot less than you think: We live in a culture where over consumption is expected. Not saying you need to be a minimalist, but it’s wise to think about living with the bare necessities.

Those are some great tips and give great prespective to your financial life and will make your overall life even more simple. Take these lessons and learn from them....

Go forth and use what you now know!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

PF4TP: We're Here to Help


Personal Finance 4 The People (PF4TP) aims to reach out to those individuals who lack financial education including budgeting, saving, prioritizing, and debt reduction and management all while instilling the importance of being Financially Independent. Financial Independence occurs when an individual has control over their finances and has at least a basic understand of their cash flow allowing them more control over their daily lives. We realize this journey is a whole personal make-over and we provide support for those moments during the journey when all seems impossible and one step forward leads to two steps back. With a societal focus, PF4TP focuses on those types of behaviors that are often cyclical and universal to those who are minorities in the general society who are underemployed, unemployed, or disenfranchised by a system that is failing to meet its own expectations. We teach that controlling one’s Financial Independence allows for a sense of empowerment that alleviates stress, as they will have an Emergency Fund, debt management skills, an understanding of priorities, and even possess the knowledge to pass this information to their children so future generations will not be trapped in the negative cyclical patterns. Alleviating this stress from their lives will, in turn, alleviate stresses from their communities as the residents will provide newly increased tax revenue into their communities; resulting in a positive cyclical effect on the community as a whole.

With a background in Sociology, PF4TP sees the “big picture” of how these underserved groups are being disenfranchised by their lack of financial knowledge and the lack of financial education provided to them. Cycles of negative financial habits have been passed from generation to generation leaving these groups underserved and disenfranchised more and more each generation. PF4TP firmly believes with education and guidance those who want to be Financially Independent should be able to set financial and life goals and reach them.

What sets PF4TP apart from other financial type businesses is our focus on personal finance from a societal view point. Believing this understanding of the importance Financial Independence leads to individual and communities these groups represent – often times overlapping – becoming more productive and self-sustaining.

Aside from working with individuals, we intend to teach basic financial classes where the education will be accompanied by optional guidance just as one would receive if they were working with PF4TP on an individual basis. Ideally, we aim to work with community organizations, churches, and schools to teach financial education as an additional aspect of the services provided.

Becoming Financially Independent is not just an individual accomplishment, it is a community accomplishment!

Plan YOUR work! Work YOUR Plan!
Twitter: @peoplesfinance
Phone: 202-431-8008

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to Limit Student-Loan Debt


Student loans SUCK!I think I will be paying mine off for the rest of my life. I may have to give Sallie Mae my first born child, but at least I would be out of debt. But there are things you can do to help keep your loan amounts down or help you pay off what you have already.

Upromise is a good tool for earning money towards your Sallie Mae loans. You can link your debt and credit cards, store discount cards, and even get family and friends to do the same. When you buy things from places affiliated with UPromise you can either get a discount or a percentage towards your loan. The amounts are small...but small amounts count jsut as much as large amounts. UPromise also has coupons that either give you a discount simply by using your cards or you get a percentage of the price. UPromise also has partnered with a bunch of stores where if you buy online through the UPromise website, you get discounts or percentages.


I also do surveys on E-Rewards and have that linked to my UPromise. Once I build up enough money, I buy whatever amount I qualify for and send it to my UPromise. My plan is to earn so much money as possible through the surveys and every six months cash the money in and send it to UPromise. Then at the end of the year use what I have earned to put towards my loans. It's a small amount but, it's basically FREE MONEY towards my loans.

There are a lot of things you can do to help pay off your loans, as I find them I will share....


I came across this article from Kiplinger about How to Limit Student-Loan Debt that I found pretty interesting.

Here are the tips Kiplinger listed...

Choose a school that fits into the family budget. Families seem to be learning that picking a school is an economic decision as well as an academic one. In a survey by, 45% of students ranked “quality of major” as their top reason for choosing a school. But “scholarship or financial assistance” (43%) and “total costs” (41%) came in a close second and third -- even higher than “academic reputation” (38%).

Among students who leave school with no debt, 85% graduated from public colleges, according to a report by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and Selecting an affordable school doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality. To find public and private schools that deliver both, see our Best College Values special report.

Bypass the four-year route. Starting at a community college and transferring to a four-year school can save a lot. You can also slice a year off your expenses if your child takes Advanced Placement courses in high school or qualifies for college credits through the College Level Examination Program.

In Kantrowitz’s study, half the students who graduated with no debt graduated from a community college (one-third graduated from a public four-year college). Other hallmarks of students who graduate debt-free: They tend to spend less on textbooks -- $1,000 or less per year (see How to Cut College Textbook Costs in Half -- or More) -- and are more likely to live at home with their parents.

Use money you don’t have to pay back. It’s never too late to save, especially if you live in a state that gives you an income tax break for contributions to state-sponsored 529 plans (find the best 529 plan for you). Visit to look for scholarship and grant money from schools and other sources where your student’s grade point average or other achievements would make him a standout (for inspiration, read about a student who put himself through school with zero debt).

If you must borrow, borrow smart. Start with government-sponsored loans, which offer flexible repayment options -- such as lower payments and deferral -- and fixed interest rates. These include Perkins loans, for eligible students, and Stafford loans, which may be subsidized if your student qualifies. Also look into PLUS loans for parents or a home-equity line of credit. (For more information on student loans, go to With that combination you shouldn’t need private loans, which carry a variable interest rate and generally require a co-signer (see Be Wary of Private Student Loans).

Apparently, many students don’t realize that federal loans are the most attractive. “A majority of undergraduates who take out risky private loans could have borrowed more in safer federal loans instead,” reports the Project on Student Debt.

One of our young staff members here at Kiplinger told me that the financial-aid office at his college steered him to private loans before he had exhausted his federal borrowing. He spotted the mistake, but not every student is so savvy. The Project on Student Debt found that “counseling and information at critical decision points can really help borrowers make smarter choices.”

It’s also smart to pay all or part of any loan interest as it accrues so that it isn’t added to the balance that has to be repaid. And remember that even the best student loan can be a dual-edged sword, encouraging a student to borrow more than he should.

Know what you’re getting into. Use the Student Loan Advisor calculator at It provides an estimate, based on starting salaries of various professions, of the maximum in student loans your child should take out and how much it will cost to pay it back.

One rule of thumb is that students should try to limit their total borrowing to no more than their expected starting salary when they graduate. FinAid warns that “if you borrow more than twice your expected starting salary, you will be at high risk of default.”

Choose a marketable major. Moody’s is right on the money in suggesting that students pick fields of study that are in demand. That doesn’t mean your child has to major in engineering or computer science. But if she’s majoring in economics, it couldn’t hurt to take accounting. If she’s studying history or government, she could learn a foreign language. And if she insists on studying something as precarious as journalism, she should minor or concentrate in another subject -- such as business, health or computer skills.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Please Support Monday's Entrepreneur: Saheed Fawehinmi: Artist, Poet, Dopeness

I want to re-introduce you all to a good friend of mine, Saheed Fawehinmi. Saheed has upload his project to in hopes of reaching his financial goal to pay for his dreams.

PLEASE support my brotha from anotha motha in his quest to put on possibly the dopest Urban Art Exhibit I have ever heard about. This man is very talented and he needs people to pledge money towards his project so he can make this happen. For details about the Exhibit, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE click the link and take a look at what he is about. This isn't just about him and his project, it's about helping each other do something positive. Please support him, even if it's just a $1! #TeamGetIt #H.E.O.O.

Can you say no to this face?



Every Monday at PF4P, we like to start the week off on a positive note, so we bring you stories of people like us who have turned a passion, hobby, talent, or skill into something that provides them with either full-time or part-time income.

Today, we bring you Saheed Fawehinmi, an Artist, Poet, Dancer, and Web Designer. Saheed is a very passionate man, and it shows in his work. Saheed is part of the PF4TP family so we might be a little biased, but we only work with the best! He does everything from logos to fliers to websites to dope pieces of art; a renaissance man with a big heart that comes through when you have one conversation with him.

Click here to visit Saheed Faweinmi, the Graphic Designer,Web designer, and Illustrator.

Click here to visit Truartist, the Artist, Poet, and Dancer.

And just because I think it’s dope as, ummm...he's dope…check this out:

If you need Mr. Fawehinmi’s services click here to find him...and tell him PF4TP sent you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ponder This....You Will Quit Before I Quit, You will Give Up Before I Give Up

ET the Hip Hop Preacher is an amazingly motivational man! He does weekly Videos on his YouTube Channel every Monday.
Visit ET at his official website Also connect with Eric on his official Facebook fanpage at Follow Eric on Twitter!/Ericthomasbtc

In this video, ET talks about not giving up and seeing things through. Fighting to the end, even if the end is overtime or extra innings. DO NOT QUIT!

Success might not come when you want or expect it, but don't give up and it will come!

Make the Rest of Your Life, the Best of Your Life!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guest Post: How to Live According to Your Needs?

Sanni Kruger, of Holistic Money Manager, is a finance coach helping people to become competent and confident money managers who live within their means without stressful money concerns. She assists her clients in reducing their debts whilst building up savings, as well as clarifying their desired long term vision and learning how to expand their resources to reach it. Her self-help book “Making Friends with Money – How to start feeling wealthy without waiting till you’re rich” is available from Sanni is also a motivational speaker with over 30 years experience of speaking to groups of any size on a variety of subjects.

In my last blog I quoted Imran Khan saying that he lives according to his needs, which he believes to be the secret of contentment. But how do you actually identify what your real needs are?

Oddly enough seeing what we actually spend our money on can give us the most important clues. Here are a couple of examples from my finance coaching work:

The first is a young student, who I’ll call Karen. We worked together during the summer before she went to university. Karen was in the habit of buying cans of soft drinks here and there when she was out and about. Like all my clients she was encouraged to start keeping a record of all the money coming in and going out. Instead of adding the amounts she paid for the soft drinks to her “grocery” category she created a separate one, because she was curious to find out how much she actually spent that way.

After 4 weeks we sat down together and added up the small amounts, varying between 40 and 60 pence. She called out the amounts and I added them up. When we were finished I said something like: “£46.80”. She burst out spontaneously: “WHAT?!?! – I’m not paying that!” In that instant Karen realized that she didn’t need those drinks to quench her thirst. Instead she started refilling a small plastic bottle with tap water and carried that around with her.

The other example involves a young couple, which I’ll call Jim and Natalie. At the time they had a 2-year-old and a new baby. Because of some health issues Natalie needed Jim’s support and they would do the weekly shop together as a family. Once they had loaded up their trolley after going through the checkout, they would stop in the café for a cup of tea and a scone before heading home.

Just as Karen did, Jim and Natalie recorded the money they spent in the café separately from their grocery shopping, and we added it up at the end of a month. This time it amounted to something just under £30. On hearing that, they both said: “Our sanity is worth it! We’ll find that money.” They had identified that they needed that time to recharge their batteries before bundling the kids back into the car, load the shopping, go home, unload the kids and shopping, and then stow everything away.

In the process they also discovered that our real needs are much more than a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our back. That there are emotional and spiritual ones, too. And that almost all of them involve money at some point. That’s why I always encourage my clients not to change their spending habits when they start keeping a record of their money. That it is a fact finding mission, and that nobody, but themselves, will make any judgments on their spending habits.

You can find detailed instructions about creating and keeping records in my self-help book “Making Friends with Money – How to start feeling wealthy without waiting till you’re rich”, which is available from

Thanks Sanni!

Errors on Your Credit Report?

One of the most important steps in starting your journey towards Financial Independence is to check your credit report. There are many places out there that claim to be free, but there is always a catch. The best and safest way to get a copy of your credit reports is to visit You can get a copy of your reports from the 3 agencies.


Once you have your reports, look them over for mistakes. Mistakes can be as damaging as negative marks on your credit. There are so many ways that incorrect information could be on your credit report such as identity theft, incorrect names and addresses, and debts incurred by others can sometimes show up on your reports. If you never check your report, you will never notice these mistakes and suffer the consequences.

After you view your reports and notice a mistake, there are steps you can take to dispute the information…


-- Put your dispute in writing and send it via snail mail to all the credit bureaus reporting the error (make sure to send COPIES; not originals of anything you send). Keep the original letters for your personal records and issue copies to the bureaus.

Here is a sample dispute letter from the Federal Trade Commission:

Sample Dispute Letter

Your Name
Your Address, City, State, Zip Code
Complaint Department
Name of Company
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. I have circled the items I dispute on the attached copy of the report I received.
This item (identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be removed (or request another specific change) to correct the information.

Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records and court documents) supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.


Your name
Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing.)

-- The credit bureaus won't necessarily inform your creditor that you're disputing something it reported, like a claim that you didn't pay your bill. Send a return-receipt-requested letter to the company that reported the error to the credit bureaus.

-- You're entitled to the results of the investigation in writing and a free copy of your report if changes have been made, and it won't count toward your total of free annual reports. Know your rights: you can ask the credit bureau to send correction notices to anyone who received your report in the last six months, and the corrected copy can be sent to an employer who received a copy of your report over the past two years.

-- Make sure to request and keep a copy of a letter from the collection agencies incase record of your debt payments have been satisfied. Sometimes debts get sold and resold and without this proof, you will have problems proving you satisfied the debt.

It’s a good idea to either check all 3 bureaus once a year, or to spread them out and view one every 4 months.


When is the last time you checked your credit report?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Not just Financial, It's Personal Too: 6 Tip to Become More Productive

Most of us really don't know how to be our most productive selves. We think we do, but really we start a lot of stuff and never finish or don't use the time we do have correctly. I am very guilty of this!

I work and work and work and feel like nothing ever gets accomplished. I don't use my time effectively. I thought I had time management on lock because growing up I played sports, was in the band, and was in honors classes. Ha! Boy have I been proven wrong lately!

Here are some tips to help US ALL be more productive...

1. Embrace simplicity

Simplicity drives true productivity. Think about the small, relatively inconsequential tasks that compete for your attention every day. What can be eliminated, automated, delegated or relegated to the back-burner? Productive individuals ruthlessly root out those tasks that compete for their time and sap their resources.

2. Manage distractions

The forces of our hyper-connected, 24/7 world offers us amazing opportunities to engage—and even more opportunities to become distracted. The truly productive understand the threat of distraction in all its forms and create clear boundaries between the task-at-hand and the host of diversions that vie for their attention. Whether the distractions are work or play, establishing a “sacred space” for what you’re doing is key in becoming more productive.


3. Bend activities around inspiration

No strategy can match the motivation that comes from being inspired. Productive individuals understand this and leave their schedules flexible enough to identify and respond to inspiration. Though inspiration doesn’t always come and we often have to force ourselves to complete some tasks, knowing how to leverage those motivated moments can transform our work experience, cut the time investment and improve the quality of what’s produced.

4. Seize small blocks of time

What would get done if you waited until you had enough time? Productive people understand that small blocks of time used wisely can whittle away at projects large and small. Whether it’s 15 minutes before work or an hour during a commute, being ready (read: organized) to seize the moment can make all the difference.

5. Make lists and set goal paths

Highly productive individuals understand that every goal, no matter how small is driven by smaller supporting goals. Dissecting this dependency and flow is essential to creating sound goal paths.


If you want to change careers, that goal may be driven by several smaller goals like going back to school, improving your networking skills, updating your resume or getting a new certification. And each of these smaller goals is supported by even more granular sub-goals. Creating daily “to-do” lists is perhaps the most common way we identify each of these mini goals and understand how they fit into the bigger picture. Productive people tend to be ardent list-makers and are motivated by accomplishing the small daily tasks that, over time, drive larger achievement.

6. Multitask…sometimes

Multitasking gets a lot of good press in modern corporate culture. The willingness and ability to juggle five or 10 tasks simultaneously is almost assumed, and most employees are trained to be circus performers early on. But what subtleties of concentration, recall and quality are lost as we indiscriminately multitask?

The truly productive realize that multitasking can be useful at times and utterly ineffective at others. Choose your occasion carefully. For those jobs that don’t require creative problem solving, interpersonal communication, attention to detail, or quick response times, multitasking works great (but what exactly are those jobs?). The rest of the time, embrace the long-forgotten “mono-tasking”—it’ll boost the quality of your work, reduce your stress, help your communication skills and ultimately, make you more productive.

In the end, productivity is one part old-fashioned discipline and one part smart strategy. Organizing our lives so that we optimize our chances of being productive is half the battle. Once we see results and start to build traction, the strategies become habit and we open ourselves up to a life that’s powered by smarter time management, more focused work, and greater personal and professional achievement.

Now, go be productive!