Crunch Time: Helping Your Teen Choose the Right Career
It’s stressful enough to watch your teenager grow up before your very eyes, and the ambivalence that most high school juniors and seniors feel towards their future careers only raises the stakes. You know from experience that it’s important to get into a good college and choose a career with plenty of lucrative opportunities. Aside from conveying that to your child, what else can you do to make sure that they stay on the right path? Use the following tips to help your nearly-independent teen make the right career choice.
1. Master the College Search
Kids these days can’t rely merely on a sturdy high school diploma to secure them a decent-paying full-time job with benefits. Be sure to attend your local high school’s annual college fair and talk to the admissions representatives there about your family’s financial situation and your child’s academic performance, focusing on:
- Standardized test scores.
- Class rank and grade point average, preferably un-weighted.
- Athletic and extracurricular participation.
- Existing college credits and AP or IB coursework.
- Areas of academic interest and potential career paths.
These and other metrics will help you narrow down the list of colleges that are likely to accept your teen.
2. Finding the Right College
Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly specialized, so it matters where your teen applies. If he or she wants to go into engineering, there will be a host of state universities and private engineering schools available. Likewise, the budding musician in your family should focus on schools with well-funded, quasi-independent music departments or on music-only institutions. If your teen is interested in going to law school or obtaining a liberal arts degree, the academic focus of their undergraduate institution is less important than its reputation and the robustness of its alumni network, both of which have tangible effects on the ability of recent college graduates to find good jobs or move into graduate schools.
Internships, many of them unpaid, are an important part of career preparation nowadays. Whether they’re in college or entering the workforce straight out of high school, make sure your teen takes on an internship at some point. Their utility is twofold: They look attractive to future employers who want to see employment experience on your teen’s resume and they give their participants an inside look at a potential career path.
4. Taking the Plunge
If tight finances or family circumstances make it difficult for your teen to transition to college right after high school, that’s fine. Help them find a job that offers potential for advancement in areas like restaurant management, logistics, the skilled trades, or clerical fields like accounting. In addition to offering immediate financial and insurance benefits, many employers offer scholarships and other assistance for employees who go back to school or pursue an advanced degree that brightens their job prospects.
Guiding your teen along the path to a stable, lucrative future career can be both frustrating and rewarding. College must be an option for most teens, so attend college fairs and be prepared to sell your teen’s academic and extracurricular activities. If they’re not going to college right away, help them choose a career with good benefits and opportunity for advancement. Finally, remember not to push them into an unattractive career: It’s their life, after all.
Eden Rabdeau writes full-time for education blogs nationwide. She writes for www.uc.edu where you can find out more about their education administration degree.
Guest Post: Growing up, we all listened to epic medieval tales of chivalrous knights and damsels in distress. While we might have loved those stories, there’s no getting around the fact that those antiquated representations of gender roles are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Women are damsels in distress no longer; we want to slay our own dragons and fight our own fights. Now that the female roles in these old tales have become irrelevant and borderline offensive, where does that leave the males in these stories? Is chivalry just a useless relic in these modern times?
What is Chivalry?
In order to answer that question, let’s take a look at what chivalry actually means. The concept of chivalry is based on a code of conduct that medieval knights were expected to follow. This code followed three major principles. The first is a sense of duty toward fellow Christians, and entails the virtues of mercy, courage, fairness, and protection of the weak and poor. The second is a commitment to God, which is carried out by protecting the innocent, being the champion of good against evil, exercising generosity, and, of course, being faithful to God. The third principle involves duties toward women, which include exhibiting gentleness and graciousness to all women, and the concept of “courtly love.”
Courtly love is a particularly interesting aspect of chivalrous conduct; it refers to the practice of nobly expressing love and admiration, and is a precursor to modern notions of romantic love as we experience it today. Francis X. Newman summed up courtly love quite beautifully as both “illicit and morally elevating,” both “passionate and disciplined,” “humiliating and exalting,” and “human and transcendent.” Sounds pretty incredible, right?
So now that we know the basics of what chivalry means, we can see that its basic guiding principles are quite impressive. Protect the weak and innocent, be courageous and generous, and treat women with respect and admiration—these values are just as important today as they were all those centuries ago. Even if we don’t really call it chivalry any more, chivalry is still valued in men, maybe now more than ever. Ultimately, women almost universally find men who follow the principles of chivalry undeniably sexy.
Examples of Chivalry
What are some ways men can exhibit the chivalric code? In relation to women, it’s pretty simple. It’s all about letting the woman in your life know how important she is to you, and how madly and passionately in love with her you are. Surprising her with flowers, a love letter, or a nice dinner will show her how much you care. Maybe you can even sneak her some jewelry—shop around for the best diamond value for a truly heart-stopping, yet affordable, surprise gift. Chivalry is about the little things, too; holding doors open, using kind words, and minding your manners are very impressive to current or prospective mates.
Chivalry is not just a man’s game, either. The chivalric principles are an inspiration to everyone, women included. We don’t have to toss out those medieval tales quite yet; we can modernize these tales by celebrating chivalric conduct as something we can all aspire to.
Madeline Marshall graduated with a history degree from UC Santa Cruz.
Paying taxes once a year is hard enough, but paying it four times a year? Well, in some cases it is necessary for the greater good. Paying quarterly estimated taxes can save you from underpayment penalties and a being hit with a whopping debt when you file your federal return. If you are not sure if you should file quarterly estimated taxes or not, here are five signs to help you figure it out.
If you, or your spouse, are self-employed, then filing quarterly estimated taxes is a very good idea. This applies to freelancers like writers and graphic designers as well. Typically, clients do not take taxes out of what they pay you, so at the end of the year when you file you could end up owing the IRS a lot of money. If you pay estimated taxes throughout the course of the year, you won’t be hit out of nowhere with a huge tax bill.
The Nanny Tax
If you pay someone more than $1,800 per year (as of tax year 2012), to take care of your children in your home then you have to pay taxes on that. The Nanny Tax is the equivalent of FICA taxes that employers pay. If the caregiver is a parent, spouse and or someone whose primary occupation is not household employment, then you are exempt. If you want to avoid potentially owing interest, it is a good idea to pay quarterly.
Say you cash in on a hot stock or you won big on Jeopardy. Whatever the case, if you have a large amount of extra income that is not listed on your W4 you should consider paying estimated taxes. There are separate rules for inheritances and gifts, so you should consult with a tax professional to determine if you need to pay ahead on your taxes based on the source of the extra income.
You Always Owe Taxes
If you seem to end up owing taxes every year, making quarterly tax payments throughout the year will at least take some of the sting out of it. However, the IRS has certain guidelines about the amounts you can pay and the requirement threshold, whether you end up paying right away or have to file an IRS tax extension each year. If you are not sure if you qualify, you can check the IRS’s website at www.irs.gov to find out. If you cannot find the right information on the website, ask whoever prepares your taxes if it is a possibility.
Other Forms of “Income”
Most people do not realize it, but there are things the IRS considers income that most people do not think of. For example, if you have a car that was repossessed and the company writes off your debt after the sale that is considered income. If you cash in a 401k early, you may own taxes in addition to the penalties. Student scholarships count as income too. If you are in any situation where you have additional income – earned or unearned – filing quarterly taxes may be a good idea.
No one wants to deal with the IRS, but it is part of life. The quarterly estimated tax system may not seem like a headache, but it is actually a relief system for taxpayers. If you can make quarterly payments instead of owing a lump sum all at once that you can’t pay, you will save yourself a lot of trouble negotiating with the IRS to pay your tax debt.
About the Author: Quinton Joice is a personal finance consultant who recommends everyone pay close attention to their income and expenses throughout the year; not just at the end of the year.
If you are a pet owner, then you know that pets can be like family members. That means that if you plan on going on an extended vacation, leaving your little friend behind is not always an option. Going on a trip and flying on a plane? It is most likely that you can take your pet with you. You just need to take certain steps to ensure your pet’s well-being during the trip. Here are some suggestions for how to safely travel by air with your pet:
Get a health check-up. Traveling can be very stressful for pets. Also, you need to remember that high elevations come with thin air, which means that your pet needs to be in good health to fly, or else risk breathing problems. (The exception is pug-nosed dogs, which should never be transported by air due to their build; they simply cannot take the lack of oxygen.) Be sure to take your pet to the vet for a thorough health examination before you plan on traveling.
The proper carrier. There are pet carriers that are specially built for airline travel. Invest in one that is just large enough to allow your pet to move around some – standing up and turning are priority; anything larger may be difficult to transport.
Safety check. Before you load your pet carrier aboard the plane, double-check all of the locks, bolts, and fasteners on it to be sure that they are tight and secure. Remove your pet’s collar, which it can get hung up on during flight. Contact information. Put all of your pertinent contact information – name, address, and telephone numbers – on your pet carrier, as well as on a tag on your pet. Since collars are unsafe, it is a good idea to attach a tag to a rubber band and place it around your pet’s neck or leg.
Choose your flight wisely. It goes without saying that direct flights are ideal (after all, the less time your pet has to spend in a virtual shipping crate, the better). Avoid travelling during peak seasons, when there is likely to be a flight delay due to congestion, and try to travel during mild weather. If you must travel during the hottest part of summer, then choose a night flight, and if you must travel in the middle of winter, check the weather for possible snow delays.
Air travel can be a very safe bet for your pet, as long as you are conscientious of how you do it. Keep in mind that each airline may have different standards for transporting pets, and you should therefore plan ahead and check with your chosen airline way in advance before your departure date, just to make sure you are in compliance.
About the Author: Blondell Bruschke loves to travel with dog in tow and spends a lot of time booking flights with animal-friendly airlines. When she’s not traveling she loves to put her spare room up for rent on AirBNB so that she can meet fellow travelers and animal lovers.