A Debt Free Life

Graduating college debt free was just the beginning…


For me, it was the beginning to a life of financial freedom. But, you can’t just stop there, you have to continue on that debt free life path…


Today, I’m interviewing Kali Hawlk of the Common Sense Millennial financial blog to provide you with some insight on continuing on the path of living a healthy financial life after college.


What are 3 of your top financial tips that you would give to high school and college students?
1. Kick the obsession with material possessions. How much or what kind of stuff has no bearing on what kind of person you are. You are so much more – and so much better – than the things you own. So don’t worry about stuff. Value experiences and relationships instead.
2. Understand how compound interest works and know that you are in the absolute best spot ever for making the most of your investments: you’re young, which means you have all the time in the world to put some money away and let it grow over the years. You shouldn’t be scared of the stock marketinvest now and don’t lose that huge advantage that time is giving you.
3. If you want to make more money, hustle and make it. There has never been a better time to take a skill or passion and turn it into your own business. Your work can be 100% virtual. All you need is a website and a little knowledge of social media in order to make connections with potential clients. Thanks to the new digital economy, anyone can make their own career. Anyone can be an entrepreneur.


At what age do you recommend people to start thinking about money? Why?
It’s really never too early to think about money. To be honest, I wish I had gotten more serious about personal finance even sooner than I did. When you start understanding how much things truly cost (and how much you actually need – which is always less than what the mainstream will lead you to believe), and how investing and compound interest works, it’s like a lightbulb going off. You start seeing how you can really make your money work for you, instead of thinking you’ll have to work for money until you’re old and gray. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be in the long run (again, all thanks to compound interest).


Did your parents do anything special to help you get financially savvy? What can parents do to help their children become financially aware?
The biggest thing my parents did for me – and I would advise anyone with children to do the same – was to teach me the value of a dollar. I understood very early on that money had to come from somewhere. And in our family, that money came from all the hard work and time my mom and dad put into their jobs. I understood that my dad, a firefighter, worked side hustles on his days off not because he liked it but because he was earning more money for our family.They also said “no” a whole lot, and that’s not a bad thing. I don’t have a need for instant gratification today because I was rarely handed what I wanted when I asked for it (or when I pleaded for it, either!). I got a very small allowance in exchange for chores done, and I would get a few bucks for bringing home good grades, but I rarely got money “just because.” Even for things like birthdays, I was hardly ever handed cash if I hadn’t done something to earn it.


What is Common Sense Millennial? Who Should be reading this blog?
CSM is a blog for twenty-somethings that focuses mostly on personal finance and careers and business. It’s for anyone who wants a fresh, honest, straightforward perspective on money and life in your twenties and thirties. Much of what I talk about centers on two themes: making more money and saving more money.


What motivated you to start Common Sense Millennial?
I really wanted to share my thoughts on personal finance because I was always amazed at how many Millennials didn’t seem to really understand how money worked in the real world. So many people don’t seem to understand that money is a tool that can be leveraged to your advantage, and I was motivated to start my blog in order to show more people that side of finance.


In the comments below, I would love to hear from you. What are 2 things that you are going to do to help prepare yourself or your child for a healthy financial life?


Thank you, as always for reading, commenting, and subscribing!


Happy Scholarship Winning!
shanice miller scholarship specialist
More about Kali Hawlk: Kali Hawlk is a freelance writer and content manager who is currently working on building her business and becoming a full-time solopreneur. She’s passionate about personal finance, careers and business, and all things Gen Y – and she writes about it all on her blog, Common Sense Millennial. An avid runner and horseback rider, she enjoys getting outside as often as possible when she’s not immersed in blogging and helping other small businesses build and manage their online presence.

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