Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg told students at Shelby-Rising City High School on Tuesday to have a plan for their lives, but also to recognize that their plans most likely will need to be adjusted over time.
“Your plan for your life may start in a very general way. I want to build buildings, or go into politics, or be a missionary, or be a farmer,” Treasurer Stenberg said at a school assembly. “As time goes by, you need to plan specific steps to accomplish those general plans. But you also need to understand that things almost never go exactly as planned, so you need to make adjustments in your plan or even develop an entirely new plan.”
Treasurer Stenberg spoke to 135 students at Shelby-Rising City High School at an event hosted by the Shelby-Rising City FBLA. Earlier in the day, he spoke to students in teacher Sara Jensen’s Entrepreneurship and Business Law classes.
“The key to being a successful entrepreneur is being able to recognize an opportunity – it may be an unfulfilled need; a better, more efficient process; or better marketing, for example. And most entrepreneurs start small,” Stenberg told Jensen’s classes. The Treasurer’s Office is offering an online entrepreneurship course is available at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov/financial-literacy/.
“For those of you who may be thinking about becoming entrepreneurs, this is the best news. Nebraska is a perfect place to be an entrepreneur,” he said. “Nebraska is very welcoming to small business and entrepreneurship ventures. Many resources are available across the state to help small businesses get started and maintain their momentum or even branch out to related or completely different services. With today’s technology, you can live anywhere in Nebraska and make a great living.”
As State Treasurer, Stenberg is Trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), Nebraska’s state-sponsored, tax-advantaged college savings program. He told students at the all-school assembly they should have a plan to pay for their education beyond high school, whether at a trade school, community college, or four-year college or university. A NEST savings account can be used at any of those institutions anywhere in the United States and in some institutions outside the United States.
Stenberg urged students to look for alternatives to borrowing money for college.
“What many young people and their parents forget to do is to consider whether they will be able to make enough money when they graduate from college to pay back the loan with interest and still pay for a car, gas and insurance for the car, an apartment, groceries, electricity, and so forth,” the Treasurer said.
He encouraged students still in high school to get summer jobs to save for college and to work hard in school to earn academic or athletic scholarships to help pay college expenses.
“When I was in high school, I mowed lawns, hauled bales, and lifeguarded at the swimming pool to earn money for college,” he said, adding that he graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1970 debt free.
During college, students can reduce costs by living at home or spending the first two years at a community college before transferring to a university. Students can also work part-time jobs or sign up for work-study positions at their schools. As an alternative, he said, students may choose technical education programs to prepare for skilled trades like welding, plumbing, and electrical work, which are in high demand and pay well today.
“Whatever direction you choose, I encourage you to build on the financial skills you have learned in high school and become as knowledgeable as possible about personal finance. Learn to save, spend, and invest wisely. Learn to go to trusted sources like your parents or banks for information and advice. Make sure you understand credit cards, debit cards, interest rates, credit scores, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and contracts.
For the past four years, the Treasurer’s Office has offered a financial education program, free to high schools in the state, called Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars. The online course was developed by EverFi, an educational technology company in Washington, D.C. A separate program for elementary and middle school students, called Vault, also is provided by the State Treasurer’s Office.
Both programs are available at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov.
“I hope every one of you in this room either has taken a course or will take a course that includes this curriculum. It is vital to your future. One hundred and eighteen Nebraska high schools are offering Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars this year, reaching more than 6,200 students,” Stenberg said.