Recently reflecting upon my good old high school years in the late 90s, I am reminded of the overall satisfaction of and value that I placed on my education. I took advantage of the challenging honors and college-level courses that my school had provided and made it my mission to work hard, earn good grades, abide by the rules, and graduate with pride. I followed the paved path with ease and never thought twice about the premeditated curriculum offered… neither had my immigrant parents, who had so graciously sent my sisters and me to private high schools in California. They wanted their children to start off on the right foot and stressed the importance of obtaining high school and college degrees, hoping such accomplishments would open doors for life opportunities that they never had. So as planned, I had earned my Bachelor’s degree, landed a great job in my field, and began to live my independent, young adult American life. Within six months, I had maxed out my credit cards and struggled to make my minimum payments, taken out an auto loan to purchase my first vehicle, was almost delinquent in monthly rent, and needed to start paying back my college loan. Geez, talk about living the American life- what a mess! Too embarrassed to confront my parents with my dilemma, I read self-help tips through electronic financial management magazines and derived a personal plan-of-action to dig me out of my financial woes. I thought to myself, of all the formal education that I had undergone for the last seventeen years, why am I struggling to live financially stable? How can I be so uneducated about my own finances? Ah, probably because it was a subject never taught to me nor to my fellow classmates! Many of us young adults were sinking in the same boat, and we had to learn how to keep afloat the hard way. Are these rough experiences of financial hardship truly necessary? Must we really learn the hard way? I had just spent years...
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