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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Mental health and suicide prevention

Recently, in a middle school -level health class that I assist in from time to time, two wonderful speakers from the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) branch in Waukesha (Wisconsin) presented on the topics of mental health and suicide prevention. They shared with the class a number of valuable resources that youth and teens can turn to for help or simply to get some questions answered.

I, in turn, am sharing those resources here. Feel free to bookmark this page and share it with others, and never be afraid to seek help. Know that you are never alone. A special thanks to NAMI Waukesha for sharing these resources.

If you're in a crisis:
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, or text 839863
  • The Center for Suicide Awareness: Text "HOPELINE" to 741741
Web sites:
  • The Virtual Hopebox
  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • My3

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Being an entrepreneur in high school

Entrepreneurship for high school students

Recently, in a high school business course I assist in called Employability, I had the wonderful opportunity to offer some advice to a student on the subject of entrepreneurship. It developed into an engaging, fruitful conversation with him and a couple of his classmates sitting at his table.

This student loves rollerskating. Not rollerblading; not ice skating; but classic, old-school rollerskating. And I could see and hear the passion and excitement in his eyes and in his voice when talking about it. He loves meeting up with friends at the local skating rinks and giving them lessons and pointers.

Now, here's where I interjected with the topic of entrepreneurship. He was explaining to a couple of other young men at his table that his dream job right now would be to work at a rink as one of the people that get to skate all the time in those black-and-white striped referee shirts. I recommended to him that he instead consider starting his own business giving rollerskating lessons. If his rollerskating skills are as solid as he says they are, and if he genuinely loves the sport and teaching others how to roller skate, then he may as well go into business for himself. It's easy to create a Web site these days. Social media has made advertising and marketing affordable (virtually free), easy, and fun to do. And he can use the power of networking to find clients and others who can help him grow his business.

Additionally, because he would be owning and running his own business, he can set his own work schedule and decide for himself how much he wants to charge his clients for lessons. If he works for a business owned and manged by someone else (like one of the rinks in the area), he'll have to work when they want him to work, do what they want him to do, and he'll only earn whatever they think he should be paid. This can potentially be a far lower amount of money than he could make by being in business for himself.

I'm sharing this with all of you to get you thinking about possibilities - exciting opportunities - that perhaps you haven't thought of yet or given much consideration to. If there's something that you're really good at and genuinely love to do, then perhaps going into business for yourself, rather than performing all the work for someone else's benefit, is right for you. Just a thought.  

Now, it won't always be fun and easy. It's important that you understand that. Let's be realistic. It will take a lot of dedication and, at least for a while, putting in long and maybe odd hours. There will be stretches where there isn't any money coming in. There could be competition out there, and you'll have to find creative and innovative ways to stand out from that competition. But the many potential rewards sure make it all worth doing.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Money tips from Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary

Came across these two videos on YouTube this morning while browsing for retirement and financial literacy resources for high school and college students.

Here are some excellent money tips and life advice offered by Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary, both of Shark Tank fame.

Unsubscribing to marketing lists

Save money by unsubscribing to marketing e-mails and texts

It's hard not to be tempted by marketing e-mails and text messages. After all, they're designed for one purpose and one purpose alone - convincing you to buy whatever it is a company is selling. Unfortunately, the more you give in to temptation, the more likely it is that you'll be short when it comes time to pay for necessities like food and rent.

So, what is the easiest way to stop yourself from being tempted by marketing e-mails and texts? Simply unsubscribe to them. While the process may be lengthy if you're currently on several mailing lists, unsubscribing should help you save money if you're the kind of person who's easily tempted.

How to unsubscribe will depend on the particular set of e-mails or text messages you are receiving. Most marketing e-mails include an unsubscribe link somewhere near the bottom of the message, which, upon clicking, will remove you from the mailing list. Unsubscribing from marketing texts, on the other hand, is generally done by replying to the text with the word STOP.

Be aware that certain companies send personalized offers and coupon codes in their marketing e-mails and texts. If you rely on such offers or codes to save money, then you may wish to continue receiving marketing communications from those companies. If you are unsure about unsubscribing from a particular company, carefully examine their past communications so you can determine just how beneficial their marketing e-mails or texts actually are.

How to save money while dining out

If you're on a tight budget, you may try to save money by avoiding certain activities like eating out. While eating out is generally more expensive than dining at home, there are ways to spend less while enjoying a nice meal at a restaurant. If you'd like to save a little money while dining out, consider making these money-saving changes.

1. Go for lunch.

Many restaurants have separate menus for lunch and dinner. While the portion sizes are generally reduced at lunchtime, so are the prices. By choosing to go out for lunch instead of dinner, you can save money.

2. Stick to water.

Beverages can add a substantial cost to your overall bill, whether it be soda, coffee, or especially any alcoholic beverage. You can save quite a bit of money while dining out by forgoing pricier drinks and sticking to water.

3. Skip dessert.

A round of desserts won't be cheap when eating out, so keep down your costs by skipping dessert. If you really can't go without dessert, then stop by the grocery store on the way home. You'll likely find several dessert options at a fraction of the cost.

4. Utilize coupons and discounts.

Keep an eye out for restaurant coupons when going through your mail. Also, inquire with your server about any available discounts for students, veterans, seniors, etc. that you or anyone else in your party may qualify for. By utilizing coupons and discounts, you can further reduce your bill.

Teenage weight and adult heart disease

Teenage weight linked to heart disease in adults

A study led by Amir Tirosh of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston has found a possible link between teenage weight and heart disease in adults.

The study looked at the medical history of 37,000 people and determined that the more a person weighed at the age of 17, the more likely they were to develop heart disease in their 30s and 40s - regardless of whether or not the participants grew up to be overweight.

This is clearly a cause for alarm, as researchers had previously thought that adopting a better lifestyle later in life would reduce the risks of heart disease substantially. This appears to not be the case, however. As this study implies, cardiovascular disease may be more closely linked to a person's weight during their critical teenage years than it is later on in adulthood.

On the flip side, the study also showed that a person's weight during their teenage years had little to do with developing diabetes later in life. It was only the people who failed to lose their extra teenage pounds upon reaching adulthood who had a greater risk of developing diabetes.

The study looked at a person's body mass index (BMI) compared to the risk of heart disease, which was defined as the, "narrowing of at least 50 percent in one major artery supplying blood to the heart". Using this data, the study determined that each point above a BMI of 20.7 resulted in an increased risk of 12 percent for heart disease and 10 percent for diabetes.

Collecting freelance payments while studying abroad

Seven ways freelancers can collect client payments while studying abroad

Freelancing is often a perfect fit for those studying abroad. After all, if you're willing to embrace the freelance mentality and you can conduct your business either online or over the phone, then you can keep earning money, no matter how far from home your adventures happen to take you. So, without further ado, here are seven options for freelancers looking to collect client payments while studying abroad.

1. PayPal (

PayPal is one of the world's most well-known and popular online payment processers. Its secure services provide instant invoicing and reliable payment options for many freelancers and their clients.

2. Escrow (

Another popular service used by freelancers is Escrow. Escrow helps remove the risk of online transactions by holding payment until agreed-upon conditions are met by both parties. This can be especially useful when dealing with larger projects and new clients.

3. Google Wallet (

Though Google Wallet can only be used to transfer funds within the United States or the United Kingdom, it can be a good option for freelancers studying in either of these countries due to its lack of fees. The service, which can be used to send funds at no cost between family and friends, is also free to use for sole proprietorship businesses.

4. Square (

Square card readers can be used to accept in-person and over-the-phone debit and credit card payments in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Upon acceptance to the service, freelancers are given a free card reader that can be used to securely collect client payments.

5. Western Union (

Western Union helps facilitate client payments by processing transactions either online, by phone, or in person at a branch office, ATM, or kiosk. Western Union currently operates in over 200 countries and has more than 500,000 agent locations.

6. MoneyGram (

Like Western Union, MoneyGram operates both online and through branch offices in over 200 countries around the world. MoneyGram, however, has fewer branch offices, ATMs, and kiosks than Western Union.

7. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Another popular option used by freelancers is Electronic Funds Transfer. To accept payment by EFT, you simply need to provide the necessary banking information to your client, who can then direct their payment to your selected account.

Please note that in many cases, payment processors charge one or both parties a fee for handling the transaction. As such fees are not standard from one company to the next, it can be worth shopping around before deciding on which payment option will be right for you and your clients. If you and your clients are comfortable sending and receiving payments through one of the cheaper options, you could end up saving a lot of money in the long run.

Freelancing is a great way to earn money while studying abroad. Thankfully, no matter which type of freelancing work you specialize in, there are several reliable ways you can be paid for your services. With so many payment options available, freelancers should have no trouble collecting client payments while studying abroad.