I’m probably dating myself here, but for those of you on the planet for awhile, you may remember Dana Carvey on SNL and his Choppin’ Broccoli song. If you don’t know it, do yourself a favor and hit the Google.
You may wonder why I’m talking about broccoli, but it’s been on my mind. Earlier this week I was at USD doing a presentation about budgets and credit for some of their students. It was about time to begin, and not many young people had shown up. So the hall directors went knocking on doors to roust a few souls to the cause. For better or worse, we were facing a bit of competition in the form of a game night, getting a cool cup and stickers to put on it, and some other fun things they had planned for the first week of classes. As my co-worker Dawson and I were waiting for some participants, he said something that is sticking with me, which was that we were “the broccoli in the midst of a bunch of tasty snacks” or words to that effect. Meaning that broccoli is good for you and many times a delicious choice, but that where there is something more tempting, the broccoli might get left on the plate.
Talking budgets to a young crowd can be a hard sell. We need to put a little cheese on the broccoli to make it more attractive. Many of these young people are out of the parental home for the first time, or even if they are upperclassmen, they are still living in the dorm and haven’t stepped completely into the “real world”. But when they settle down and start to listen and hear the stories and examples of people who have done those financial face plants, they begin to engage. We also talk about building credit, and how mistakes they might make now can stick to them for several years, like letting the phone bill go unpaid, putting too much on a credit card saying they’ll worry about it later, or blowing all their school money in the first few weeks of classes and then having nothing to live on until January. A bill sent to collection will be a negative on their credit for 7 years, which means when they are ready to move into the real world, they’ll have to deal with those consequences.
One of the most striking things about working with young people is that the ones that set up the classes, the teachers and mentors, etc. get as much if not more out of the classes as their students. It’s not uncommon for a teacher to say to me after a class, “I wish I had known all this 10 (or 15) years ago!” In other words, they wish they had eaten more broccoli when they were young. They aren’t alone in that.
The truth is, for both young and old, that the more we take charge and the more thoughtful we are about where our money goes, the more we want to make better choices and keep moving forward. Which is sort of like eating the broccoli without the cheese! Wait, what? Just broccoli? Yup, we eat our broccoli without cheese and we like it! (Another dated SNL reference)
If you are thinking you’ve a hankering for some broccoli (in the form of financial help or education) the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources can help. Contact us at 1-888-258-2227 or www.lsssd.org to make an appointment.
We can help with or without the cheese.
Written by Sylvia Selgestad, Financial Counselor and Educator
Photo credit: flickr.com
LSS Center for Financial Resources
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