Howard Community College

Due to the staggering rate at which college tuition prices have increased over the last 30 to 40 years, going to a traditional four-year university isn't in the cards for everyone. There's a significant amount of social pressure to attend college, but if a high school senior doesn't know exactly what they want to study–and by extension do for the rest of their life– it can be hard to justify taking out a six figure loan. And even when you do know what you want to do, it often may not feel worth it. The era of finding oneself while away at college is over; most people don't have that luxury anymore.

With more and more students opting to go to trade school or eschewing post-high school education altogether, liberal arts–that is courses that don't necessarily translate directly into specific career paths–are beginning to lose their prestige. Once the foundation of higher education, the humanities are catching a lot of flak because their practical application isn't abundantly clear. It's certainly understandable. Spending hours grappling with Foucault and Kierkegaard isn't going to make someone rich, or help them pay off their student loan debt. That said, for many, Community college has provided the most feasible means of getting a well-rounded education without taking out exorbitant loans. Community college allows would-be university students to knock out their general education courses at a fraction of the price. With this in mind, here is a quick rundown of the benefits of starting out at a Community college.

Saving Money

Saving money is perhaps the best argument for attending community college

This one's a no brainer. The average yearly tuition at a two-year Community college is a little over $3,000 per year, about one third of the cost of an in-state public school. Prices increase for out-of-state tuition; if you were to leave the state for public school, tuition fees average at about $24,000 per year. Private school is even more expensive, with an average cost of around $35,000 per year. Even if you eventually want to go to a private school, lowering your loans by around $70,000 by taking your first few years of class at Community college is definitely a smart move.

Transfer Credits

If the credits transfer, why not take them for cheaper?

Most Community colleges have specific programs set up with state and private universities in their immediate vicinity. These programs are designed to help funnel students into the schools they want to go to and sometimes even give scholarships to students with outstanding grades. Still, it's always important for students to check exactly which class credits transfer, as most universities have limits on the amount of credits they'll accept.

Figuring out what you want to do

Deciding what to do can be tough

Community college might not be free, but at $3,000 per year, it's more feasible for students who live at home to be able to work and save money to pay for their tuition. This affords Community college students a level of freedom that many university students just don't have. Those at Community college have the opportunity to explore their interests and find out exactly what career path they want to follow. Want to take an experimental dance class? Go ahead. Want to take photography? Knock yourself out.

It's Easier to Go Part-Time

Working and going to school at the same time can be a balancing act. Community college makes it easier.

For people who never got a college degree, Community college is the perfect way to get back into academics. It may be more realistic for some to attend classes part-time or take night courses so that they can still work while taking classes. And if someone wanted to take one class per semester, it'd be easier to facilitate at a junior college. Most major universities have either a credit minimum, or charge an additional price-per-credit that makes part-time study uneconomical.

Smaller Class Sizes

Get to know your teachers better.

While almost every American university boasts "small class sizes," Community colleges tend to actually deliver on this promise. The class sizes might not be as small as some private universities, but classrooms tend to average around twenty students. This gives students an opportunity to form relationships with their professors and get more access to one-on-one instruction.

There are certainly advantages associated with going to an accredited four-year university. These schools often have more resources and by extension better facilities than most Community colleges. That said, Community colleges are beginning to improve as more students are finding they can't afford the traditional route. There's no one correct path. Both Community college and four-year universities have different things to offer. The reality is, success in college is predicated on a student's willingness to learn, not the classroom they're sitting in.

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When you are newly hitched and learning how to combine your essential legal and financial information as well as your accounts, it can be confusing.

Many people live together before getting married and have begun the process of combining accounts and sharing responsibilities. However, some people wait to do this only after marriage, and others wait until they're married to live together. Whichever path you've chosen, it's still crucial to know a few tips to manage money together as newlyweds to determine where you should begin and how you can remain on the same page.

Discussing Money Motivations

As we begin to share money with our significant other, we soon find out what one person may rank as a priority regarding money and the other may not. As such, sitting down and discussing money motivations is important. Two people who cannot agree on how to handle money may cause serious issues. This should include:

  • How to deal with money following payday. Is a percentage put into savings? Is that the day to splurge on dinner, drinks, and more?
  • The frequency and size of payments made to debts. Some people like to pay minimums, whereas others pay in full or make double payments.
  • What do you each consider money well spent? Is it a new 70" 4K television? Is it an investment? Is it paying as much debt off as possible?
  • How do you go about consulting each other before making purchases over a certain amount?

Establishing Financial Goals

After you evaluate the motivations behind your money and how it should be spent, you'll need to spend time together hashing out financial goals. As newlyweds, there are certain things on your list that you're going to want to save for. How do you go about that? How much of each paycheck will you dedicate to a particular fund?

Some things in the future worth making a financial plan for include savings and paying down debts. This is the time to be honest about your current financial standing. If you're looking to buy a home, you'll want to assemble a first-time homeowner financial checklist to begin to develop topics of conversation. Some of the things to consider setting goals for are:

  • Student loans
  • Car loans
  • Future children
  • A house
  • Medical bills
  • Delinquencies on credit reports
  • Vacation and rainy-day funds
  • Emergency funds

Budgeting Together

The more honest and open you can be with each other about the money you have and now the debts you share, the better. Implementing plans for the best ways to have the things that you both desire while still taking care of existing demands is important. These can be uncomfortable things to talk about; however, these conversations are necessary.

Following these tips to manage money together as newlyweds will allow you to have a starting point for conversations that can be tough to start. The sooner you and your partner get on the same page with finances and the responsibilities that come with them, the easier the transition will be and the sooner you'll find success.

It's the dream: money you can count on to keep rolling in, even while you sleep.

Passive income isn't entirely passive, of course. You'll put in work up-front to get the profits rolling, so don't relax in your recliner just yet. But with so many potential sources of passive income available to you, picking one or several will mean that the day you can finally kick back will draw steadily closer.

Rental Properties

Real estate is a tried-and-true wealth builder for a simple reason: people will always need somewhere to live. Research the market in a growing community until you know a good deal when you see it. You can maximize rent by fixing up a deteriorating property or upgrading a mediocre one. The key is to hire a property manager to do all the day-to-day landlord duties for you—and you'll need a good one. Smart investors put their profits in another property and repeat the process until they have a diverse portfolio.

A YouTube Channel

You can start a blog if you're more comfortable hiding behind a computer, but consumers are more likely to prefer video content. Post a series of “how-to" videos to answer questions about whatever you're an expert in.

You can put up any content you want, but if you don't want to commit to regularly updating it, focus on “evergreen" topics that will draw clicks for eternity. Ads will create your income, especially if your channel grows in popularity. Better yet, sign up for affiliate marketing. If you recommend a product and provide a link to buy it, you'll get a small percentage of those transactions.

Auto Advertising

If you don't mind vinyl-wrapping your car with an ad for a company, you can get cash just driving around and running your errands. Make sure you contact a reputable company that doesn't ask for any money from you; if they're the real deal, they'll evaluate your car, your driving habits, your area, and more. Bonus: the brighter the ad, the easier it'll be to find your vehicle in the parking lot.

Digital Products

What's something that people will pay for but doesn't require shipping on your part? Finding that item is what can supplement your income indefinitely. Write an e-book, charge for your cross-stitching patterns, design prints that people can digitally download, invent an app, record a “masterclass," or whatever else you want. Every time someone new discovers it, the cash register rings. With a little more effort, this is a potential source of passive income for you that can continue to grow. Once you build up a customer base, they might want more products. The good part is that it's up to you whether you wish to give it to them.

Airbnb is a great option while traveling, but you should protect yourself from damage charges from unscrupulous hosts.

Airbnb offers an affordable option for people looking to be more comfortable as they travel.

However, there are downsides to staying in a host's home rather than a hotel. Whereas hotels are designed for constant streams of visitors and often have furniture built to last, at an Airbnb, you may be staying on old or cheap furniture that a host is using in order to maximize their profits.

And while most reputable hotels will have regular room inspections from staff to check for any wear and tear, Airbnb damage disputes are oftentimes he said, she said situations. If you are in an Airbnb and something breaks, there are a few steps you should take in order to ensure that you are not on the hook for damages out of your control.

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