Self Taught Creative, Calah Jones Opens Up About Her New Life As An Entrepreneur

This interview was conducted and edited by Xenia Lydia

Today, you woke up to the sun and decided that today will be the day that you will attempt to do that morning routine you’ve been ignoring. Today you’re turning a new leaf and you’re attempting to be more consistent and go to the gym. For the remaining part of the day, you’re on your laptop which consists of emails, shipping orders, customer service, editing, graphic design, and emailing updates for a community you built. If your day looks like this, your day looks a lot like Calah Jones. In fact, it’s exactly like Calah Jones.

Calah Jones is an entrepreneur who decided creating things was what she wanted to wake up and do. She has created a community for women with room to be vulnerable and honest. With the help of her partner, boyfriend, and creative director, Tre Coleman, they have created clothing designs and products for women. Female Consumer Goods 16th Haven’s products and designs are for the everyday women. The community? Oh yeah, that’s called the Girls Club, “Empowering, educating, and elevating females.” explained Calah. “My main goal for 16th Haven is to create a safe space for guidance to mentor.”

For many creators, getting started on a dream is the hardest part. The amount of ‘what if’ questions are limitless, and Calah wasn’t the exception. For Calah, the questions of doubt were specific like are people going to come to it? What are people going to think? Do I have anything to provide to these girls? The challenges got more specific when it came down to accessibility.  “I didn’t go to college, so I constantly have to do research. Everything is self-taught,” said Calah. “I research videos from speakers and other entrepreneurs.”

These doubts may or may not be a familiar feeling. It’s so easy to give up and play it safe, but what if you didn’t? What if you just started with no hesitation? Calah thought back to before this world she created was nothing more than just an idea and said “It started with an idea. I have this idea that’s great and this needs to happen and the only way it could happen is if I put action into it. I didn’t hesitate at all doing it. I just went for it. I didn’t second guess myself. I knew deep down that this is something I need to get done. To help me manifest the idea, creating a website was a great way to do it.”

Just start. Such a simple thing to do and yet can evoke so much fear. It seems easy enough and sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s getting out of your own head. So, what if there was someone who didn’t know how to start, what should they do? Calah had an answer that could be the one thing a person needs to hear, “My only answer for that is to start and figure out your first step. Don’t second guess it, a lot of the time we second guess ourselves when we could just start. Sometimes a business is a mindset thing too, so, just think positively and optimistic.”

No one is ever ready at the start of turning their dreams into reality. It’s scary, exciting, and the epitome of an adrenaline rush. The one thing I’ve learned from Calah Jones is that the only question you should be listening to is “what if all this work pays off?”  It’s all about getting in position for it. Calah shared her biggest key, “Everything I’ve ever wanted has come to me because I’ve spoken it into existence and I put myself in that position. My biggest key is getting in position.” So, what are you waiting for?

Stunt Sachee Gives Glossē The Scoop on His New Clothing Line, Before Common Era

Paul: How you doin’ today?

Sachee: Great, great. Today is a beautiful day outside you feel me? Good energy.

Paul: I’m glad it’s beautiful over there man. Because out here, it’s cloudy, it’s dark it’s just not good.

Sachee: Where you at?

Paul: Virginia.

Sachee:Oh word? That’s what’s up. I actually haven’t been but my parents have been and I know it’s a whole different vibe over there.

Paul: It really is but it’s cool. So to jump right into this, what’s the story behind the name of your brand? I think I understand it but can you explain it for the people?

Sachee: Alright bet. My brand’s name is “Before Common Era”. B.C.E for short. It’s about time frames like B.C., A.D. etc. The name came to me as a way to describe time and going through different eras of time. I reached the conclusion that time is an illusion, time isn’t truly “real” and the only true moment we have is the present moment. The main reason behind the brand is present moment awareness. The message is yesterday’s tomorrow – yesterday’s tomorrow is today. Yesterday when you said tomorrow – that is today. The present moment is the most important moment that you have in your life and you should take advantage of it and actually become in the now. You have to take control of your future so that you can become one with your past. And that’s basically what the whole brand’s name means to me.

Paul:…That is fire bro, I feel like any question I ask after that one won’t even get an answer better than that.

Sachee: [laughs]

Paul: That is dope tho bro, I really like that.

Sachee: I appreciate that!

Paul: What’s your take on the fashion world today? Like what you see on the TL and shows and whatnot? Do you feel it’s headed in the right direction or did you start your brand to steer it in a different direction?

Sachee: My take on it right now is that I actually enjoy the fashion world. My main influence is the early 2000s. Like when people had durags and baggy clothes, that’s what I truly like as fashion. The new area that’s it going now though, I like it. I’m apart of it as well as far as like skinny jeans, fitted looks etc. I actually was born in the 90s so I didn’t get to be as involved in 90s culture as in fashion but I would see pictures. I was born in ‘94 so when the fashion was being brought up I wasn’t truly conscious of it. But I grew up as a middle schooler in the early 2000s so that’s why I’m so attracted to that era of fashion as far as things like Girbaud denim. That’s what truly inspires me in my brand but it’s also inspired by the new age of fashion as well. The way it’s growing and the way I see it, I see streetwear fashion being the main fashion avenue forever to be honest with you. It was in the back scene behind high end couture fashion but now it’s really taken over and you see Gucci and Louis Vuitton incorporating streetwear fashion into their brand now. They see it has such a high value with people that actually want their merchandise. That’s why I can see it being around for a long time and I like it – it’s my niche and I want to be apart of it.

Paul: Cool cool. So sticking with the same theme of streetwear, how do you feel about shoes like Balenciaga’s and Raf Simons, the “orthopedic shoe” look reaching the masses? Because they’ve always looked like that but now they’ve become popularized.

Sachee: Yeah like the Rafs specifically, those are my favorite pair of shoes. I have a pair in my closet that I’m always wearing. They do give the “orthopedic” or “diabetic” look, like the chunky sneakers but I really like it. I think it’s different – but not too different because those types of shoes have been around forever. But, now that it’s being popularized, I feel like anything could be popularized if it’s done correctly. Something might be corny or lame one day but the right person makes it popular than it’s popularized you feel me? I feel like Raf did the look first then a lot of other brands started copying, even Reebok has some chunky sneakers. Yeezy does too but I actually like that trend and plan on getting some Balenciagas soon as well – I can’t knock it.

Paul: Gotcha. Who do you look up to most in the fashion world? Or, do you not have any role models because you’re individualized?

Sachee:I don’t have any role models, I wouldn’t call nobody a “role model”. But, somebody that inspires me is Virgil (Abloh). His parents are from where my parents are from which is Ghana. He was raised in London as I was raised in London so seeing him actually make this shit happen on a grand scale inspires me because we basically have the same upbringing. His clothing is mad cool, I fuck with the aesthetic of it and how it’s minimalistic and it reaches the masses. It reaches a lot of people like you could see a white person rockin’ his clotting, an Asian person rockin’ his clothing a black person rockin’ his clothing. That’s what I want my rband to be – not just an Atlanta thing or New York thing or California thing. I want it to expand outside of America. I was born in London myself so with this brand being on my back I feel like it’s international as I am – so I have to make it worldwide. So when my first collection drops, I plan on doing a pop up shop in Atlanta, pop up shop in New York, go on to California and after that I plan on taking it overseas just to give it that worldwide feeling. Virgil’s one of my main influences and I don’t have any role models and I feel like the streetwear era is a role model to me. With him being the main forerunner of it right now that’s my inspiration.

Paul: I feel that. You mentioned durags earlier, I was actually going to ask how you feel about those coming back into the forefront again. You mentioned how they were around in the early 2000s and I actually remember that myself. But, in the past few months since like A$AP Ferg and them been wearing them it’s like they’re popular again.

Sachee: Yeah, I mean I got a durag on right now and if you look at my Instagram right now and it’s like 60 pictures of me with a durag on. The crazy thing is I actually like it. Like I said I’m very influenced by 2000s culture and before they even “came back” I already liked the Girbaud jeans and the baggy shirt look so when they actually came back to the forefront it’s not like I wanted to hop on the wave, I just wanted to incorporate that into my fashion because that’s something I was truly inspired by. In the early 2000s Fabolous was one of my favorite artists, he was rockin the durag with the two hats with one on the side and the jerseys and the ladies had the jersey dresses and shit like that. So that’s what really inspired me and when the durags came back that was a sign to me that anything can be brought back. I say if you back 3 or 4 years ago if you saw a nigga in a durag you’d be like “the fuck this nigga got goin on?” or “He a lame”. Not to say people think like that but it just wasn’t “accepted”. Now you go to the mall or go to the club and you’ll see a nigga with a durag on, it probably might be me you know what I’m sayin? [laughs] It’s all because it’s been brought back and that’s what I love about fashion. Anything can be brought back at any time. Nothing is outdated – just like good music. You listen to a old school Tupac song or Curtis Mayfield it’s still good to this day because nothing is outdated just like fashion. People might say it is but fashion is just recycled things it’s all just recycled things bro.

Paul: Then how do you feel about people who dojump on the wave? Like they might see something and be like “Oh that’s whack” but then two months later they got like five of whatever it is because they just jumped on it because it blew up. Basically like a hypebeast, how do you feel about them? Or, just hypebeast culture overall?

Sachee: [laughs] I feel like a lot of those people truly don’t have a mind of their own when it comes to fashion. They don’t realize you can wear whatever you want. I can go to the thrift store and spend like $50 on random shirts and still make it look good. I’ll make it look good because Iam fashion. I’m a fashionable person. It’s not the clothes that make you fashionable, it’s the person. Youhave to piece outfits together correctly. The people who don’t truly know what direction they’re going in the ones who just go with the sauce don’t create the sauce. People like me and other innovators create the trends that people actually follow. I’m not trying to create a trend, my brand is not a trendy brand, I’m just creating my own vision. Some people just follow the trend and look for validation from others. I feel like that’s not a good trait in life because you’re seeking validation to look cool and feel good. Fashion is a small thing but that’s really how people think in their brains. They feel like if it’s not populated by the masses they don’t want to do it because they feel like they’ll be an outcast or something like that. But, the people creating the trends arethe outcasts because they are seeing it from a different perspective. They’re thinking outside of the box – then they’re making the outcast thing look cool. So now the people that follow trends want to hop on the wave. But, it’s a mindset at the end of the day and I’m glad I’m not a part of it. But, hypebeasts make the market go crazy you know? Without hypebeasts OFF – WHITE or Supreme wouldn’t be as big as it is now. So I can’t knock it or say like “Kill all hypebeasts” or something like that because those are the people who make profit and stock go up. It’s more popularized and that makes the demand go up. So hypebeasts are actually good for the entrepreneurs of the game so I can’t knock them because eventually I want the hypebeasts to be wearing my clothes and I want them to love BCE as much as they love OFF- WHITE. So I mean I love them ya know?

Paul: Right right. What advice would you give to anyone trying to make it in the world of fashion? Based on your own personal experience and as far as starting their own brand etc.

Sachee: You really just gotta take a seat and realize what you really want to do in the fashion world. I believe some people are in it for the lifestyle, some people just want to create a clothing brand and have it be popular. Some people want to do it for the business side, not gonna lie – I want to do it for both. But, for the business first and then for the lifestyle. You just have to realize what you really want out of the fashion world, what your stamp is gonna be on the fashion world. Mine is tied with the message of present moment awareness and that’s tied in with cool looking clothing. And I want the message to be represented as much as the clothing. So you just gotta find out what your message is but, not every brand has a message. But, I believe a brand that doesn’t have a message won’t stand as long as a brand that does have a message. You can always rely back on your message. A person just has to find their style and realize what they actually want to bring to the game. They have to know what they want to see in the fashion world that hasn’t been created and if it’s already created, what kinds of tweaks would you do to it to make it your own and then actually put that into the world. It’s all about self realization, see what your take on fashion is in the world and then take it from there.

Paul: You covered a lot of the other questions I had in your answers to these questions, so that’s great [laughs]

Sachee: [laughs]

Paul: But thank you for everything man, taking the time out to do this and all of that

Sachee: No problem, I definitely want to introduce myself to the world on this platform. Amani hit me up and has always been a cool friend so when she reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be apart of this I said of course, whatever I can do to help. This will be beneficial for the both of us and our teams so it’s actually great. But, the interview was dope bro, I appreciate you taking the time out to interview me and looking forward to working with you in the future bro.

Paul: Thank you man, have a good rest of the day

Sachee: You too bro, enjoy yours.

You can follow Sachee on Instagram: @vuhsacee and see his clothing line launch at bceofficial.com

Dating in College: Abstinence or Not

In 2018 dating is a whole thing. Everyone wants to tell everyone the right and wrong way to do it, who to do it with, when to do it etc. Sure some of this advice is helpful but sometimes it goes back to the old joke of the relationship advice expert being single. One of the most challenging times to date for some people is college. It can be difficult balancing academic tasks and dating life or it may be hard to find people that want more than that thing (that thing, that thing, that thiiing). As cliche as it sounds people may even begin dating outside of their usual sexual preferences (A.K.A experimenting) I surveyed a few current and former college students to see how dating went/is going for them during their time at school.

Brandy (Female, 19, Class of 2020)

Paul: Did/do you practice abstinence while dating in college?

Brandy: I did.

Paul: Did practicing abstinence while dating make things easier or harder?

Brandy: It made things easier, I was more focused on my schoolwork. Plus there wasn’t any drama with guys or anything.

Paul: How was balancing dating and schoolwork for you?

Brandy: Pretty easy to me, I didn’t get my feelings involved if it wasn’t anything serious so it wasn’t hard for me to stay focused. So basically I just put myself before anything else.

Paul: I feel that. Would you say you learned anything new from the guys you dated?

Brandy: I guess not to give myself up easily. Also, to state what my intentions are because if you don’t then they’ll just try and do what they want with you.

Kennadi (Female, 19, Class of 2021)

Paul: Did/do you practice abstinence while dating in college?

Kennadi: It depends but mostly no. I’m really in between.

Paul: Does not being abstinent make things easier or harder when dating?

Kennadi: It could be either way to be honest. You can have sex and have a nice fling going with somebody or you can have sex with somebody and they ghost you after. I think it’s really about the people you deal with. But having sex doe put that extra stress of trying to doge pregnancy and STDs.

Paul: How was balancing schoolwork and dating for you?

Kennadi: For me it wasn’t hard, school always comes first. It’s just about managing your time.

Paul: Did you learn anything from the guys you dated?

Kennadi: People will treat you however you let them.

Kenya (Female, 23, Class of 2017)

Paul: Did you date while you were in college?

Kenya: Yes

Paul: Did you practice abstinence while you were dating?

Kenya: No

Paul: Did that make things easier for you?

Kenya: Up to my junior year I was in a long term relationship. But, my boyfriend wasn’t in school with me. It was beneficial but at the same time it wasn’t. The distance caused him to assume I was cheating/”getting it from someone else” but I wasn’t. It was easier to practice abstinence because I didn’t see him too regularly but when I was with him I wasn’t abstinent.

Paul: How was balancing school and dating?

Kenya: It was actually annoying most of the time. Mainly, because of trust issues and distance as well as scheduling conflicts. Also, he didn’t have a car so I was only travelling to see him. Sometimes I’d get back to campus late because of traffic (I was an hour and a half away) but I never planned to go out anywhere in general unless I was completely done with all my assignments or only had some very minor work to do.

Paul: Did you learn anything from the relationship?

Kenya: OH BOY. Okay #1: You can’t have a relationship without trust. Period. #2: Communication is vital to make sure the both of you are on the same page about things. Like knowing if you’re in the relationship for the right reason and stuff like that. #3: My happiness matters. I learned that I don’t need to compromise my happiness for someone else’s. Also, just because it’s your first love, it doesn’t mean it will be your only love. You shouldn’t feel like you need to stay in something just because you feel like you’ll never be able to achieve it again.

Jamaal (Male, 23, Class of 2018)

Paul: Did/do you date while in college?

RJ: I did, but I won’t anymore.

Paul: Were you abstinent while you were dating?

RJ: Nah I wasn’t.

Paul: Would you say that made things easier or harder?

RJ: I’d say it made things easier at first but hard after awhile.

Paul: Can you elaborate on that for me?

RJ: Like at first it was cool having relations but it got old and tiring after awhile.

Paul: Dang, that’s very interesting. How was balancing school and dating?

RJ: I tried to make sure my partner was on top of their school work and vice versa and at times we’d do schoolwork together.

Paul: Did you learn any learn any life lessons from the people you’ve dated?

RJ: Never go back.

Paul: Can you elaborate?

RJ: I’m talking to the girl I was in a relationship with freshman year and things are worse this time around even though we’re older.

Paul: Jeez I’m sorry to hear that man.

Kahlil (Male, 20, Class of 2020)

Paul: Did/Will you date while in school?

Kahlil: I have actually.

Paul: Did you practice abstinence while you were dating?

Kahlil: We didn’t have sex all the time, but we had sex.

Paul: Did that make things easier or harder?

Kahlil: It made things easier. There was a mutual understanding. The only complication was figuring out exactly when it was desired.

Paul: How was balancing schoolwork and the relationship?

Kahlil: It’s pretty simple. You do your work together or do it on your own time.

Paul: Would you say you learned any life lessons from the relationship?

Kahlil: Many lessons brother!

Paul: Such as?

Kahlil: Boundaries, it’s important to give your significant other their space. It’s okay to see them all the time but remember they need their time for classes and their social life as well. You learn to compromise and see life from their perspective, you have to respect their views and opinions.

Pushing For More (Accurate) Representation in Media

In 2018, it’s no secret that representation in media is important for all people. Proper media representation means that children of all shades, size, shapes and sexual orientations can see all the opportunities available to them. It means they won’t grow up thinking that they should look, speak or act a certain way to be successful.

However, representation can only mean these things when it is rooted in speaking the truth for everyone, not just a few. While it is a huge accomplishment to get POC, trans or disabled characters on screen, it’s not necessarily enough. The characters have to be as multi-dimensional and complex as the real people they are meant to represent.

Since 2017, Netflix has released a campaign called, “First Time I Saw Me.” In multiple, short online videos, Netflix representatives sat down with actors and directors of all races, genders, sexual orientations, shapes and sizes to ask them when they first saw themselves in an on-screen character. Netflix sat down with Black Girl Nerds; directors like Ava Duvernay and Spike Lee; and stars of Netflix originals like “Dear White People” and “Orange Is the New Black.” This June, the streaming service also created a YouTube playlist in collaboration with GLAAD for trans voices in honor of Pride month.

For actresses Selenis Leyva and Logan Browning, they saw themselves in Lauren Vélez’ character on “New York Undercover” and the Mowry twins on “Sister, Sister,” respectively. Comedian Marlon Wayans said he saw himself in his older brothers and Eddie Murphy. Early representation for them was crucial and made a difference.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone. In one video, Duvernay explains that although several characters from “The Cosby Show” were the same hue as her, she couldn’t relate to them because her parents weren’t a doctor and lawyer. Several of the trans people, including Jamie Clayton of “Sense8,” noted that they didn’t see themselves in on-screen characters, even the ones meant to represent them.

Proper representation in media is not just what characters look like. It’s more than that. Representation encompasses where they are from, how they think, what culture or subcultures they participate in. It’s about the entire characterization being presented. It’s important to have characters who are diverse in outward appearance, thought, action, etc.

Personally, the first time I saw me represented in media was Raven Baxter from “That’s So Raven.” I related to Raven for more than just her skin complexion. I appreciated the way her character was written and how she interacted with her family and best friends. For the first time, I saw a character that I actually wanted to be like. At seven years old, I didn’t realize how rare that feeling would be.

My freshman year of college, I began watching “A Different World” and found two characters that I love and relate to: Whitley Gilbert & Winifred “Freddie” Brooks. Now, I didn’t grow up watching “The Cosby Show” so I had no way of knowing about this spin-off. However, I gave it a try and was instantly hooked.

I identify with both Freddie and Whitley for a few reasons. For one, I have a big curly afro like Freddie and a part of me loves the activist in her. She’s literally always down for the cause. Whitley, as spoiled and bougie as she may be, wanted nothing but to work hard and be her own person. Okay, she really wanted a husband but that isn’t the point. The point is I identified with Freddie’s optimism and Whitley’s work ethic, even when they both did things I disagreed with. I don’t look exactly like either one, but that’s what real representation does. It goes deeper than the surface.

Today, there are shows like “Blackish,” “Fresh Off The Boat,” “Orange Is The New Black” and so many others that are taking steps toward diversity in its many forms, but there is still a lot of work to be done. It’s not enough to feature characters of color who are also LGBT+. Their storylines have to be about more than just the color of their skin or who they love.

No show on TV is a perfect representation of any group of people. From shows like “Empire” and they fit into a much bigger problem, to the ongoing need for representation of LGBT characters who aren’t white men, there is still a lot of work to do. The point isn’t that a character that represents an entire group of people. That leans toward impossible. The ultimate goal is to create a multitude of diverse, complex characters, so that everyone has someone they can relate to.

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-76RIIUuOwM(Black Girl Nerds)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhk6QJDMIDo&list=PLvahqwMqN4M2t9ZybbvJxnlkR5k97Txox(Playlist)

http://ew.com/tv/2017/08/01/netflix-first-time-i-saw-me-campaign/?utm_campaign=entertainmentweekly&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&xid=entertainment-weekly_socialflow_twitter(Campaign)

https://theblackdetour.com/stereotypes-black-people-media/(Representation of Black characters)

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ne3kdk/lgbtq-representation-on-tv-still-sucks(LGBT representation)

3 Things You Should Know About Finance As A Millennial

Was I the only one who learned how to balance a checkbook in elementary school? Most likely. Do I remember any of that information today? NO. As with a majority of things in school, people will often say “When am I going to use this in real life?” or the direct approach “I won’t need this information after I graduate”. When it comes to a person pursuing a career in the chemistry field, it’s not exactly beneficial for them to memorize the events that take place in each part of The Canterbury Tales. But yet, they need to pass that class to graduate. Things like ensuring financial stability should be mandatory classes for those in 11th and 12th grade who will be soon in the real world one way or another. And, with the knowledge gained from these classes students will feel confident about their financial futures. Now being that we all aren’t business or accounting majors we have to learn about these things on our own. Top priority subjects in the finance world include Credit Scores, Investments/Savings/401ks and Stocks and Loans. Let’s look into each one and educate ourselves!

Credit Scores

What is a credit score exactly? We’ve all see the commercials and ads for how easy it is to check it but what do you know what it’s purpose is? Investopedia.com defines it as “A statistical number that evaluates a consumer’s creditworthiness and is based on credit history.” Basically, this means your credit score determines how trustworthy you are when it comes to repaying a loan. Naturally, a higher score means a higher trustworthiness level. Lenders look at this number and use it to determine if you will be approved or denied for the loan. To keep the score high all you have to do is consistently pay bills on time and keep your debt low. Investopedia.com also says “A person’s credit score may also determine the size of an initial deposit required to obtain a cell phone, cable service or utilities, or to rent an apartment.” Majority of people need all of these things once they’re on their own and thus places the importance of knowing what your score is and how to manage it before it’s importance is mandatory to your life.

Investments/Savings/401Ks

When it comes to investments, one has to think of the long term – not the present. Investing in something guarantees you will have money in the future because whatever invested in will have gained a profit/risen in value. You can invest in something in several different ways: You can buy collectible items such as trading cards or POP figures and wait 15-20 years for them all to accumulate in value and then sell your entire collection for one price. Or, you can buy multiple cases of water in the winter and wait for the summer and sell them on the street and make a guarantee profit based on demand. The latter is generally known as “flipping”. Also, you can invest in someone’s business by buying a stake of their company. A stake is a percentage of the company that you own and in turn make a profit based on the percentage size of your stake. However, if the business does not do well you will end up losing money.

Saving money is something we all are familiar with and told to do. It can be very hard when there are so many things that you want right now though. But, when you save money you can get things you want that cost more – like a vacation. And, saving money is not always strictly putting money aside for the future. It can be using discounts, coupons or simply not eating out too much.. Of course, putting money to the side in a savings account is always a wise choice, especially when you do it consistently. This can be done by putting some of your paycheck into that account every other paycheck or even every paycheck. When it comes to cash and coins, instead of saying “keep the change”, pocket the bills and start putting the coins in a jar. This may seem old fashioned but at the end of the year who knows how much you’ll have?

A 401 K Plan is something you hear adults mention and joke about as a child but never understand. As you get older you still hear it regularly and see it when applying for jobs. But what is it exactly? Investopedia.com defines it as “a qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan that eligible employees may make salary-deferral contributions to on a post-tax and/or pre tax basis.” This basically means you are saving money for your retirement and this money comes directly out your paycheck each time.no, you have no access to this money until you are actually retired. Also, as with most things involving money taxes do play a role. Originally taxes would not be taken out when deposits were made into the plan, only when withdrawals were made from it. However in 2006 the Roth 401k was established which reversed when the taxes were taken out. This version of the plan is available for eligible participants at over half of the companies that offer a 401K Plan. 401K Plans are just like investing and saving – to truly appreciate them you must thing in the long term. Retirement is a long way away for us but we still must keep it in mind. The 401K will ensure when we’re grandparents we won’t have our family members worrying about our finances and we the option to give our grandkids $50 instead of $5 when they get all A’s.

Stocks & Loans

If you’ve listened to rap at any point  in the past 15 years you’ve more than likely heard a punchline that mentions something “dropping like the NASDAQ” And, more than likely when you first heard it you didn’t understand it then once you did you began to get tired of it. Anyway, NASDAQ itself stands for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations and it’s literally the stock market itself – well one of them. It’s the second largest one in the world trailing the New York Stock Exchange. A stock is defined as  “a type of security that signifies ownership in a corporation and represents a claim on part of the corporation’s assets and earnings.” by investopedia.com. Stocks can be either common or preferred. When you hold common stock you can vote in shareholders meetings and receive dividends. Preferred common stockholders do not vote in these meetings however they earn more of a profit. They also hold priority in the unfortunate case of a company going bankrupt. Actually buying stock is a multi-step process and not one of those “walk away and forget about it and just let the money pile up” things simply because you can also lose money in the Stock Market.You can learn about the process here

If you’re a student or have ever purchased a big ticket item than you are already familiar with loans. Loans are amounts of money given to you because you need the money – and they must be paid back. On the surface level, loans sound great because you spend less of your own money at the beginning. However, as interest adds up you’ll end up paying more and more. The percent of interest however depends on where you get the loan. Taking out multiple loans at once is not encouraged either as this is how you can end up in debt which will affect your credit score which is what we began this whole discussion with. Looks like we’ve come full circle!

In closing, I hope these quick facts taught you something or encouraged you to do more research on the topics I mentioned. As I said earlier, such information should be mandatory to learn while in high school in turn allowing college courses can enhance it. And, while in college or even as you reach the end of high school these concepts will soon become a part of your life both inside and outside the classroom. Some of us get this information from our families or members of our church and some don’t at all. The latter is why it’s so important to have it taught to students in high school.