Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Starting From Scratch!

With 2013 well underway, I thought it was time to really get moving when it comes to this blog and the entire Money Smart Student programme. To get things started - I'm going to start at the beginning. Why am I doing a student money blog? What makes me think people will want to listen to what I have to say? Where do I see things going down the road? Questions I'm sure every one of you have had...right?!
The idea for this programme came to me almost four years ago now. I was actually doing research on personal finance for my own benefit. You see - I used to be an abolute disaster when it came to handling my money. So much so that it eventually led to bankruptcy and the destruction of my, and my wife's, credit bureau. I'm happy to say that all the bankruptcy stuff is now off the bureaus and we have done a great job, together with a very caring Credit Union Manager, in rebuilding our credit scores. So I was looking for some good advice to move forward with our money handling when I found out some very interesting information. Some of the experts were blaming the housing bubble burst in the United States on an uneducated population. Not uneducated in general - but specifically - financially. Some said that if the 30 and 40 year olds had actually known how to take care of their money, stayed away from high ratio mortgages, and done more to keep their spending in check, a lot of the problems faced by millions of people could have been largely avoided.
So this led me to the question - If it was too late to stop the 'Me' generation from crashing and burning, what is going on now to keep today's students from falling into the same traps? The answer, unfortunately, is 'not much'. The good news is many entities recognize that personal financial education is more important now than ever before. As an example - financial education has just recently been added to the curriculum in all elementary and secondary schools in the province of Ontario, Canada. Many universities make a half-day personal finance awareness session a mandatory part of their orientation week. The bad news is that there is still a huge gap in the need and desire of students to learn how to handle their money - and the ability of parents and educators to present the information in useful and understood ways. I quoted a survey in the first
chapter of my book which shows most parents don't feel qualfiied to give their own children financial advice.

That's where the idea for Money Smart Students came from. A desire to try and help fill the void in PF information students need versus what they are receiving. I entered this knowing that I didn't know all the answers. I try along the way to pass on things that I have learned, resources that I've found, and anything else I hope will help even a small handful of students be better prepared for life on their own.
Last year I learned a great deal about this whole blogging business. Attending the Canadian Personal Finance Conference allowed me to connect with some of the best in the PF blogging world. I am actually working on switching this entire website over to a Wordpress based blog - but the learning curve is steep so give me a little time to get that done. I work a full-time nights job in the gaming industry (so I sleep the better part of each day away), and I have three teenaged boys and a wife who require my attention, but I make the commitment right now to you, my readers, that I will be posting more often and more regularly in 2013. I have some ideas on where to focus, and how to mix things up a little. I will be working hard at growing our small Facebook comunity into a bigger one and will be utilizing Twitter and LinkedIn much better to try and expand the reach of the Money Smart Student programme.
My hope is that you will come away from reading each post with at least one little piece of useful information to help you be Money Smart - Student or not. Until next time - Cheers!

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