The current college admissions scandal spotlights the competition for, and what some parents are willing to do, to get their children into top schools. This scandal draws attention to the perceived impact of college on lives. Yet, the cost of a college education prevents many from attending college. While we cannot condone what these parents did, we relate to a parent’s desire to help their children succeed and improve their lives.
Today, I would like to address some appropriate things that parents can do to help children qualify and win thousands of dollars in scholarships or free money for college. As the father of six children and grandfather of 14, I recognize the delicate balance required to support and guide teenagers without hovering, antagonizing, or creating codependent behaviors. I hope these suggestions help you with your children or grandchildren.
Parents can enhance their children’s probability of earning scholarships with the following actions;
Monitor and record their achievements beginning at young ages. Ensure you record the numbers, dollars, or improvements generated by your children’s activities. Help them continue to record achievements themselves as they get older.
Help them identify themes in their lives that describe who they are and what they love to do. Such themes may include: academics, activism, athletics, creative talent, entrepreneurship, ethnic background, leadership, service, survivor, or others.
Help them create short, factual statements of their achievements that they can copy and paste into scholarship applications. You can help them remember what they have done by brainstorming both as a family, and with their friends. The brainstorm can be structured on the themes, with everyone writing down as many specific examples as they can for everyone in the group.
Help children complete profiles on the scholarship search engines: Fastweb.org, Chegg.com, StudentWallet.org, and others. Remind them of activities, organizations, and other aspects of their life as they review the questions listed in the profile.
Encourage them to consult with the high school guidance counselor responsible for the school’s scholarship web site page. Using the phrase “I will be applying for 50-150 scholarships. I hope that you will help and support me as I do so.”
Motivate them to apply for 2-3 scholarships a week.
These are just a few ideas that may help your children earn scholarships. I welcome your comments adding what else you found that could help others.
Betsy Jaffe, Director
of Marketing and Public Relations for the Employee Benefit Institute,
released a report on April 23, 2019. Confidence in Retirement Security Rebounds to Pre-Financial Crisis Levels stated
“The 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) finds 82 percent of
retirees are confident in their ability to live comfortably throughout
retirement, up from 75 percent last year and comparable to highs
measuared in 2005 and 2017. Furthermore, the percentage of workers who
say they are very confident in their ability to live
comfortably throughout retirement reached 23 percent, up from last
year’s 17 percent and now reflecting levels measure more consistently in
the late 1990s and early 2000s.”
I rejoice that confidence increased, and site these quotes for good news:
“Retirees are also much more likely than last year to be confident
in their ability to afford the lifestyle they are accustomed to (77%)
and having enough money to last their entire life: including enough to
cover overall expenses, health care expenses, and long-term expenses”
“67% of working Americans “feel confident in their ability to retire comfortably, with 23 percent feeling very confident.”
“Workers reporting they or their spouse have money in a defined
contribution plan or IRA, or have benefits in a defined benefit plan,
are nearly twice as likely to be at least somewhat confident about
retirement (74% with a plan vs. 39% without a plan).
I still find disturbing statements in the report
They seem to concur with my findings in my book 7 Reasons You May Not Get to Retire and How to Fix Them. I list some quotes from the release:
41% of workers “are not confident about their ability to cover
medical expenses and nearly half (48%) do not feel confident about
having enough money for long-term care in retirement.”
61% of workers say “debt is a problem for them, compared with 26%
of retirees”32% or workers with major debt problem are not at all
confident about their prospects for a financially secure retirement,
compared with 5% of workers without a debt problem.”
Lisa Greenwald, executive vice president of Greenwald &
Associates was quoted in the report as saying “Three quarters of workers
believe work for pay will be a source of income in retirement and only a
quarter of retirees actually receive income from work. It is risky for
workers to assume they will be able to work into retirement when, for so
many retirees, this has not been the case. I understand there’s a
strong desire for income stability, but for many, continuing to receive a
regular paycheck from work may not be a solution.”
As I read the report, I see confidence among retirees high, while
they report that they aren’t getting the additional income they
expected. While confidence increased, working Americans share more
concerns for problems that may affect their retirement: health, debt,
low pensions, and inadequate work income in retirement. We suggest
watching this discrepancy over the next decade to see the how currently
working Americans fare as they retire.
The study surveyed 2,000 Americans age 25 or older. Half of those
surveyed (1,000) were still working, while the other half (1,000) were
retired. You may see the entire report at ebri.org.
We were teaching a job search workshop several years ago. One of the participants, I’ll call him Paul, attended as part of his employer’s lay off program. They had informed him he would be laid off, but gave him time to look for a new job while still employed. We were teaching how to communicate return on investment (ROI) to potential employers. The group were quietly preparing statements listing their accomplishments. When suddenly, Paul blurted out “Look at this! They are crazy to let me go. Look what I did for them!”
Members of the group asked him if he had told management what he had done. His answer, “No, it’s their job to notice.” The group helped him understand the error of that statement. He listened to them, pondered what they said, and did not return from lunch. We didn’t see him the rest of the day.
Before I finish Paul’s story, I wanted to address this concept shared by so many: “Its management’s job to notice my contribution.” As the management span of control expands, supervisors frequently don’t work on the same continent (let alone in the same building), and organization’s increasingly treat employees as interchangeable parts; communicating your contribution or ROI becomes more important.
Employees who regularly report their achievement–and verify that the results meet or exceed management’s expectations–establish a baseline value for performance evaluations. We suggest the following actions to ensure your performance aligns with organizational directions and desires.
Clarify, by asking, the key performance indicators (KPI) assigned to your job
Closely monitor, with your own graphs and charts if needed, your daily or weekly performance to the KPIs
Prepare a statement at least once a month reporting how you improved KPIs, decreased costs, or in other ways provided an ROI to the company. Use a different vehicle each month to deliver your statements: verbally, email, handwritten cards, or text.
Keep all of the statements and recopy them into your performance appraisal or evaluation at the end of the year.
Include the following information in your statements:
“You indicated that you wanted to improve YY”
“This month, I YY and NN.”
“As a result we increased BB generating an additional $$”
“Are those results you hope to achieve?”
Returning to Paul’s story. We didn’t see him the rest of the day. We worried that we had offended him with our comments. Imagine our relief when he returned the next day and shared the rest of his story. He returned to his manager the day before declaring “I think you are making a mistake laying me off. May I share what I have done for the company?” Then, he shared the statements he had prepared in class. The manager asked a few questions and excused himself from the room. The manager returned 20 minutes later and said “I reviewed what you told me with my boss and with Human Resources. We’ve agreed that your value to the company suggests that we should keep you. You’ve been taken off the lay-off list.”
Expecting management to notice the good you do for them (ROI) can lead to frustration and disappointment. Providing them with solid, well-documented evidence of your ROI helps them make good decisions when it comes time to assign raises and valued assignments.
My father, a master teacher as well as world renowned graphic designer, used aphorisms to teach us as children. Some that he had to frequently repeat to me included “The guilty man fleeth when no man pursueth” and “He that must be commanded in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant”. As a result, I’ve developed some aphorisms of my own to guide people looking for a job.
Don’t Get Eaten by the Bear
The story is told of a man and a woman walking through the forest when a bear bolted out of the bushes and started charging them. The woman immediately dropped down and started lacing on some running shoes. The man looked at her and said, “There’s no way you’re going to outrun that bear!” She said, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”
Frequently, people looking for a job perceive the company as their adversary. The reality, their competition are other people looking for the same job. You must convince decision makers that you 1) can do the job they want done, 2) will fit into their team, and 3) will deliver a good return on investments (ROI).
Don’t get eaten by the bear! All you have to do is convince the decision maker of those three issues better than the other people applying for that job.
Make Your Mistakes Where They Don’t Count
Looking for a job requires several skills that most people don’t use regularly when they are unemployed: doing due diligence, interviewing, completing online applications, writing resumes, negotiating salaries, among others. The lack of practice causes people to make mistakes until they have enough practice to perform the tasks well.
Unfortunately, most job seekers, when they lose their job, immediately contact the companies they want to work for the most. As a result, they make all their mistakes with those companies that matter the most.
This aphorism encourages you to practice with family, friends, former co-workers, and other companies first. Then, contact companies that do not meet your desired requirements. Make your mistakes where they don’t count.
Make Decision Makers Feel Wonderful
Your purpose in all interactions with companies and decision makers is to make them feel wonderful. Too many focus on themselves when entering into an interview that they neglect considering the needs and concerns of the person sitting across the desk–who has more to lose than the job seeker.
Instead of focusing on your self in interviews and applications, focus on making the decision maker feel wonderful. Let your smile, tone of voice, and demeanor calm the interviewer, rather than build tensions or anxiety. Let your answers calm their concerns about your ability to 1) do the job they want done, 2) fit into the team, and 3) provide a good ROI.
At the end of a long day of interviews, you want them to say “I don’t know what it is about <you>, but I just feel good about <you>”. The reason they feel good about you, you were the only focused on making them feel wonderful.
The Government Office of Accounting* (GAO) released a letter to
the ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Budget on March 26,
2019. The letter, written by Charles A. Jeszeck Director of Education,
Workforce, and Income Security Issues, lists statistics from a study
conducted February to March 2019. The study, with a 95% confidence
intervals, was compared to a Survey of Consumer Finances conducted in
A brief table** in the letter shared the following statistics.
Households with “No Retirement Savings” dropped from 52% to 48%–a
positive trend, but still disturbing that this many have nothing. “No
retirement savings and no defined-benefit (DB) plan” maintained at 29%.
“A DB plan but no retirement savings” dropped from 23% to 20%.
“Retirement savings but no DB plan” increased from 23% to 26% (another
positive movement). “Retirement savings and a DB plan” indicated 25% to
26% (however the letter specified that this change was “not
This data confirms the assertions in my book 7 Reasons You May Not Get to Retire and How to Fix Them
that almost half of the people will not benefit from 2 of the 5
traditional pillars of retirement: a pension (benefit-defined or poorly
funded contribution-defined) pension, and savings. In addition to the
two pillars mentioned above, many people will not be able to rely on the
equity of a fully paid off mortgage or sufficient investments. Finally,
few people maintain confidence in the viability of Social Security to
last throughout their retirement.
This article does not address how the additional problem with
skyrocketing medical costs for people over 65 years of age combined with
decreasing health coverage and increasing life spans prevent the
ability to retire. Adult children (over 55) frequently see their parents
financial legacy–and their own financial resources–consumed by health
costs not covered by inadequate insurance and medicare.
Forecasts of an emerging bubble of retirees rising to the surface in
the next 5-15 years continue in publications. Yet, this report and other
data indicate that when this bubble comes of age, financially they will
not be able to retire. Most of us know people who retired and then had
to go back to work due to financial obligations. Some by choice, but too
many without a choice shackled by financial obligations they cannot
The purpose of this
article is to share the results from the World Happiness Report 2019. I
do not intend to comment or draw conclusions.
The World Happiness Reports 2019 (https://s3.amazonaws.com/happiness-report/2019/WHR19.pdf)
asks questions about why Americans respond that they are more unhappy
today than at any time in several decades. The report indicates that
Americans now rank 19th on the happiness scale compared to 156 other
An article in the report titled “The Sad State of Happiness in the United States and the Role of Digital Media”
by Jean M. Twenge states “The years since 2010 have not been good ones
for happiness and well-being among Americans. Even as the United States
economy improved after the end of the Great Recession in 2009, happiness
among adults did not rebound to the higher levels of the 1990s,
continuing a slow decline ongoing since at least 2000 in the General
Social Survey (Twenge et al., 2016; also see Figure 5.1). Happiness was
measured with the question, “Taken all together, how would you say
things are these days—would you say that you are very happy, pretty
happy, or not too happy?” with the response choices coded 1, 2, or 3.
Happiness and life satisfaction among United States adolescents,
which increased between 1991 and 2011, suddenly declined after 2012
(Twenge et al., 2018a; see Figure 5.2). Thus, by 2016-17, both adults
and adolescents were reporting significantly less happiness than they
had in the 2000s.
In addition, numerous indicators of low psychological well-being such
as depression, suicidal ideation, and self-harm increased sharply among
adolescents since 2010, particularly among girls and young women
(Mercado et al., 2017; Mojtabai et al., 2016; Plemmons et al., 2018;
Twenge et al., 2018b, 2019a). Depression and self-harm also increased
over this time period among children and adolescents in the UK (Morgan
et al., 2017; NHS, 2018; Patalay & Gage, 2019). Thus, those in iGen
(born after 1995) are markedly lower in psychological well-being than
Millennials (born 1980-1994) were at the same age (Twenge, 2017).
This decline in happiness and mental health seems paradoxical. By
most accounts, Americans should be happier now than ever. The violent
crime rate is low, as is the unemployment rate. Income per capita has
steadily grown over the last few decades. This is the Easterlin paradox:
As the standard of living improves, so should happiness – but it has
Several credible explanations have been posited to explain the
decline in happiness among adult Americans, including declines in social
capital and social support (Sachs, 2017) and increases in obesity and
substance abuse (Sachs, 2018). In this article, I suggest another,
complementary explanation: that Americans are less happy due to
fundamental shifts in how they spend their leisure time. I focus
primarily on adolescents, since more thorough analyses on trends in time
use have been performed for this age group. However, future analyses
may find that similar trends also appear among adults.” (https://s3.amazonaws.com/happiness-report/2019/WHR19.pdf page 88)
I found this related data very interesting “Other activities that
typically do not involve screens have also declined: Adolescents spent
less time attending religious services (Twenge et al., 2015), less time
reading books and magazines (Twenge et al., 2019b), and (perhaps most
crucially) less time sleeping (Twenge et al., 2017). These declines are
not due to time spent on homework, which has declined or stayed the
same, or time spent on extracurricular activities, which has stayed
about the same (Twenge & Park, 2019). The only activity adolescents
have spent signifiantly more time on during the last decade is digital
media. As Figure 5.4 demonstrates, the amount of time adolescents spend
online increased at the same time that sleep and in-person social
interaction declined, in tandem with a decline in general happiness.”
(ibid page 92)
During this season people tend to contemplate, with thanks, the good
fortune they receive in their lives. Friends and family gather round
tables laden with bounteous food and take a moment to share with one
another those elements in their lives for which they are grateful.
indicate healthy benefits that arise from a constant attitude of
gratitude. An attitude of gratitude enhances the probability you will
achieve your goals. The second step of the GoalsWork model recognizes
that others will help you achieve your goals. Common decency dictates
that you thank the people that help you accomplish you goals.This blog
outlines a few simple ways to maintain an attitude of gratitude and the
benefits you will accrue by doing so.
Send a Handwritten Thank You Card Each Day
Larry H. Miller,
billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, took time every day to hand
write and send a thank you card to at least one person. He attributed
this action as one of the keys to his success.
he said, knowing that he would write a card each day heightened his
attention to what people did. He looked for good work from employees,
colleagues, vendors, suppliers, and others. This focus on recognizing
the positive contributions people made lifted his spirits, eased him
through the trials, and brought perspective to his sense of ego and
self-importance. Recognizing the contributions of others helped him
realize how much he depended on others good works.
the handwritten nature of the cards touched people. They sensed the
sincerity of his gratitude. They worked harder to do add value to the
relationship professional or otherwise because they knew it meant
something to Mr. Miller. They also told others about the thank you cards
they received. Larry Miller’s reputation for gratitude increased his
stature in the community.
We encourage you to also
start looking for someone each day that you can send a simple,
handwritten thank you card. Buy one box of thank you cards and send one a
day until they are gone. Analyze how this actions made you feel and
changed your attitude.
List 10 Things Each Day
Another daily activity that can change
your view of trials and problems: end the day by writing down 10 things
for which you can express gratitude. Similar to the benefit Larry H.
Miller found, knowing that you have list 10 things each day, enhances
your attention to good things that happen in your life.
belong to a community service organization. The president of the local
chapter asked participants to participate in this activity for one
month. Several of the people who participated commented on the happiness
this exercise brought them. One lady who had experienced multiple
losses, despair, and negativity discovered an attitude of gratitude
changed her perspective on life.
Germany Kent declared “It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the
things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that
you lack.” (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/attitude-of-gratitude)
Today, we’ll examine the 5 keys to get a great job in 2
months The 5 Keys include:
Define your dream job with an employer description.
Adopt the how can I help attitude.
Ask questions to discover organizational wants and needs.
Prove that you are the solution they are looking for
Make your tens: 10 contacts a day and 10 meetings a week
We’re going to briefly describe each of them and go into much more detail in the later posts.
Define your purpose and passion in a written Employer Description.
The majority of people, especially high performers, are unhappy with their jobs. Many times, dissatisfaction occurs because people have not taken the time to identify what they really want to do, or they don’t describe it in enough detail to make it real. Identifying and pursuing your purpose, passion, and calling provides criteria to evaluate your options. This is done in three parts. First, discover your calling. Second, explore your favorite skills. Third, writing your ideal employer description.
First,let’s talk about identifying your passion and purpose. The six essential elements of a job. You need to decide are you going for a job, a career, or your calling? To do so. Every job has six essential parts:
The skills and responsibilities you love to do.
The industries that interest you. Industries change the nature of the job changes. For example, a manager in a manufacturing company, a bank, a fast food service. You have the same job title, the same kind of responsibilities of boy is the job different.
The size of the organization. Do you want to work for a startup, a smaller organization, medium, large or global?
Who owns the organization. Stockholders, private yourself, we the people or no ownership.That’s nonprofits.
Location, both the geographic locale (country, state, city). Locale means metro, urban, suburban, rural or virtual.
The most important and the most overlooked element of the job is the environment you want to work in, the physical, cultural, leadership style, and more. It’s the environment that usually impacts our happiness on the job and it’s the one we do the least to prepare for, identify and verify.
Adopt the How can I help? attitude
Next,you need to adopt the “How can I help?” attitude. This involves stop saying stupid stuff, maintain your professional identity, and then look for people you can help.One woman described a job search as the most demeaning experience in her life. She said, I felt like I was standing on the corner holding a sign saying “Will work for food”. But it was worse than that. I had to chase the cars down the street shouting. “Pick me,pick me”.
Now,contrast that with Vick who is an aviation flight test engineer. When he adopted the “How can I help?” attitude, he said (two weeks into his job search) “I am having so much fun on this job search!”; two phrases that usually don’t go together. But because he was working to help people achieve their goals, he not only had fun, he had a great job paying 15 percent more in four and a half weeks of being laid off.
Ask questions to gather information about wants and needs
The third step is to gather information about wants and needs. Remember, you ask questions to identify the organization’s goals or challenges that you can help them achieve or resolve. You do that in three ways:
Review the literature on their web site, annual reports, press releases, LinkedIn or professional association articles.
Ask people general questions.These are the people who aren’t doing the job you want to do, but they work in organizations that may have do the work you do. Ask how the organization they work for does what you do, what they do well, and what the could do better. Also ask who else you could talk to gather more information.
Ask people technical questions. Those are the people who are doing the job you want to do or related to it. These questions can be more detailed about projects, goals, and objectives they are trying to achieve; problems or challenges they are encountering; industry trends and news, software platforms and upgrades.
Prove you are the solution they need
Once you’ve gathered the information and found those people who need and want help,your next task is to prove you are the solution they need. You prove this in phone calls, interviews, meetings, reconnecting after interviews/meetings, and in your written materials. Prove you are the solution they need because you can 1) do the job they want done, 2) you will fit into their team, and 3) you are going to be a great return on investment.
Provide specific examples (including #, $, %s) to prove you are the solution. We suggest
your dessert tray of hobbies, civic service, education, work
experience, words that describe you, and home run statements
36 statements based on a ball diamond: 1st base=where you worked, 2nd
base=what you did, 3rd=the results your work generated, and home plate=a
question that applies the example to their organization (“Are those the
results you want?”)
Reframe their thinking about your weaknesses or negatives
Ask questions to gather information to be able to answer the questions.
Make your 10s: 10 Contacts a
day and 10 Meetings a week
Make your tens and that means 10 contacts a day, 10 face to face meetings a week. Remember, we’re not talking about only contacting job opportunities. We mean contacting people by phone:
4-5 of the10 conversations you will ask the questions you’ve prepared to gather information
2-3 of the 10 contacts will be to schedule face to face meetings
2-3 will be to reconnect on prior context or meetings that you have already had.
face to face meetings a week will involve
5-7 to gather information
3-5 to impress decision makers you can help them achieve their goals or solve their problems
In a future blog, you will learn how you can find all 50 of these people just two hours each Monday:
10 people from your phone or email contacts
20 from your LinkedIn,Facebook, professional associations and directories
10 following up on previous contacts for meetings
7 from advertised job opportunities
3 from other sources.
That’s 50 people a week,10 contacts a day. We know that this system works. We’re going to share successes on how it works. We hope you enjoy these blogs.
Alan worked for a high tech firm programming visual graphic displays for corporate security systems. He maintained his skills through regular seminars and workshops sponsored by the vendors of the programs he used. He also decided to earn a master’s degree. He petitioned his company for an educational reimbursement. They agreed to cover 80% of each class depending on his grades. He added two scholarships that covered his books and lab fees, plus gave him extra money for food.
Q: What are the reusable materials you suggest we prepare?
A: For 8 years, we’ve taught you to prepare the following reusable materials:
Reusable application including answers to all application questions, lists of awards and transcripts, and themes with subcategories and home-run statements
6-8 reusable essays that you can modify and adapt within 10 minutes
5 reusable letters of recommendation from school, church, work, community and other leaders
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
In that time, we’ve added a few additional reusable materials you may consider preparing:
Reusable and completely customizable resume
Reusable and completely customizable cover letter
Reusable phone scripts for setting appointments and reconnecting with local committees
Q: Why would we need reusable resumes and cover letters?
A: Many local companies and service organizations sponsor scholarships. The small amount of the awards prevent the committees from investing in building online applications or screening tools. Therefore, they may ask for a resume or cover letter instead.
In addition, you may use a reusable cover letter and resume for school or employment applications. Your reusable resume and cover letter use the same home-run statements as you prepared for your master application. You may copy and paste them into the body of the cover letter or summary of your resume.
Q: Why would I need a phone script for scholarships?
A: Local scholarship committees frequently talk to recipients as part of the award process. Scripts help you effectively communicate your value and why you deserve the scholarship.
Saturday we share several tips for enhancing your qualifications for scholarships
This blog will improve as you submit comments, questions, and experiences. We will answer your questions in future blog posts. Please submit your comments and questions so we can answer them.
Wendy needed more money to get through school. She singed a contract to attend a proprietary, for-profit school to study nursing. She needed $35,000 for her Associates Program. She used our program to find scholarships through search engines, financial aid counselors at the college, and scholarship books. Unfortunately, the more she looked, the more she discovered that students at proprietary, for-profit schools did not qualify for hardly any scholarship money. She also discovered that the contract indicated she had to pay for the schooling even if she did not attend.
Characteristics of Government Finance Officers Association
Frank L. Greathouse Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to two undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled in full-time study preparing for a career in state and local government finance. They award the scholarship at the annual conference
Qualifications: The web site says “Students must be currently a full-time student in an undergraduate or graduate accounting program that prepares students for careers in state and local government finance. Undergraduate students must be in the process of completing at least their junior year by the time the scholarship is awarded. Application must include a recommendation from student’s academic advisor or chair of the accounting program. Student cannot be a past winner of a scholarship administered by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.”
The Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship is available for award to a full-time graduate student who is pursuing an advanced degree and is preparing for a career in state and local government finance.
Qualification: Criteria for Scholarship Award: Statement of proposed career plan in state and local government finance and proposed plan of graduate study. Plans to pursue a career in state or local government finance. Past academic record and work experience.- Strength of past coursework and present plan of study, as it relates to a career in the public sector
Thursday we answer questions about applying for scholarships with reusable applications
This blog will improve as you submit comments, questions, and experiences. We will answer your questions in future blog posts. Please submit your comments and questions so we can answer them.