SECU 2017 Scholarships (March 31st Deadline)

Hey guys/ladies! I just wanted to share a really great opportunity for those who are in school. Last year, I was fortunate to be selected as one of the twelve scholarship recipients of SECU. If you examine the feature picture, I looked much older than my competition haha. I was also the only black guy, which is a testament to our culture’s lack of initiative with taking advantage of FREE blessings. I would love to see more black people in this picture; there is enough free money to go around to everyone.

This blessing was heaven sent as I was paying for grad school out of pocket and needed a break of some sort. The deadline for this is fast approaching (3/31/2017) so act swiftly. It’s as simple as shooting your shot! I never thought I would be able to get a scholarship for graduate school but not only did I get one, I got two!

The scholarship is for both graduate and undergraduate students although they don’t specify graduate students being included. I have included my original essay to this post just to show you how I won. I am no writer, but for that money, I can write a pretty good book lol.  The essay wasn’t that long either! I wouldn’t steer you wrong. (You can also upload a unique video for your entry). Share this with anyone you know that can benefit from a scholarship.

To apply or learn more on how to qualify, visit SECU

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Here is my prize winning essay:

There is a popular aphorism that goes “If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.” It’s safe to say that most young adults have never executed a healthy financial plan for a family, or simply taken responsible control of personal finances, so we must transcend beyond our social and protective academic environments and do the unthinkable. Right? This is true, but one can easily be mislead without proper guidance when exploring all the investment tools the finance world has to offer. A lot changes for a new college graduate, and the first year or two after graduation could have lasting implications on the future. Life after school brings recurring bills like rent, car payments, student loans, and credit card bills to name a few. Proper financial education is imperative to diligently overcome these new issues. Two financial topics that I feel will ease the learning curve while on the financial road to success are Credit Scores, and 401k plans. Thorough understanding of these two topics can provide substantial savings and earnings in the future.

Currently recent graduates and young adults do not have the capital to purchase investments with cash only. Coming out of school, we are usually counting down the six months of freedom until student loan payments kick in, trying to upgrade an old reliable car that took us through undergraduate years, or maybe looking into a credit card to finance that post-grad trip we have been dreaming of. We are going to be introduced to the lending world, and without an understanding of credit scores, we’ll miss out on the best rates. Young adults need to be aware of the more important factors affecting credit: Credit utilization, payment history, number of accounts and credit inquiries, collections, and age of accounts. Imagine a brand new car you dreamt about getting once you graduate with a sticker price of $25,000. You trade in “ole reliable,” get back $2,000 and muster up $1,000 cash to also put down on the car. Your credit has seen better days, as you have maxed out your only credit card and only pay the minimum monthly payment; you get an interest rate of 8%. Using “secumd.org’s” easy to use auto loan calculator, you will pay $2,227 in interest over 48 months. Now compare that with the other recent graduate who pays off his/her credit card bill in full every month and has another credit card with only 20% utilization. They qualify for a 1.99% rate over 48 months with the same car trade in, cash down, and car price. Interest over the life of the loan is only $543 and a cost savings of $1,684 interest! In this brief and simple example, one can see the benefits of knowing your credit score and practicing healthy credit habits. SECU also provides a copy of your credit score anytime you apply for a product that requires them to pull your credit, and there are numerous free tools that don’t require sensitive information to monitor your credit score.

The next financial topic of vital importance to recent graduates are 401k’s. This topic is a branch from IRA family (Individual Retirement Accounts). The non-tax difference between a traditional IRA and a 401k is that the employer sponsors the latter. Recent graduates who receive job offers out of college should enroll in their company’s 401k immediately. Nowadays it is very common for all employers to offer this to full time employees. Enrolling will allow you to start saving for retirement and compounding interest at a very early age. The contribution amount may vary based on personal discretion, and is deducted from income before taxes, meaning the employee will barely notice the effect. A key feature that makes this topic so important is the employer-matching feature; many employers will match contributions up to a certain percentage. A recent graduate out of school earns $1,000 bi-weekly and contributes 5%, which is then matched by the employer. Every paycheck, $50 plus the employer-matched portion of $50 is added to the employees 401k account. Over the years, this can add up and give major investment returns. Young adults need to understand the different investment options their employers offer, vesting periods, as well as the contribution percentages that they are comfortable saving.

With these two financial topics being studied, the future will look less uncertain and financial literacy will smooth the ride on the financial road to success.

 

 

 

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