There has been a sea change when it has come to business funding – crowdfunding. The concept of micro investing has been around for a while, but the general public now has the ability to “invest” in a new concept or idea with no barriers – they just enter their credit card info – and BAM! they are an investor.
But it isn’t true investing. You don’t really get a return on your investment. You get the promise of a prototype – if the product ever gets made – or a nifty t-shirt and bragging rights. I don’t know about you, but I think I have a better return on keeping my $10 in my savings account (at .75% interest).
But this is how companies are founded, and I think great ideas do have merit and should have the ability to thrive. If you have a great idea, then you should have the ability to ask for money (in whatever capacity) and thrive. I am a capitalist in that regard.
But there is another offshoot of the crowdfunding game that just utterly annoys me. There has been a rise in the market of personal-gain crowdfunding. I have seen several laughable requests – please buy me a treadmill (I decided I need to lose 20 lbs), please help with my “educational” vacation to Bali, etc.
But the hands-down most annoying is the new face of crowdfunding – tuition. I know there is a large percentage of the population where college is not a given. It is expensive and shows the large gap in our classes. Middle class is starting to become less able to afford what was once a certainty.
Understanding that college is not a given, this still speaks to a rise in what I call the “hand-out culture.” The rise of millennials and the expectation that you are entitled to everything and anything starts to seep into what could be a great vehicle for charitable donation and social responsibility.
But the problem becomes that social responsibility is now society being responsible for your wants and needs.
I am a millennial. I was born at the very beginning of the millennial generation, and I do see some qualities that embody millennials. I am totally into instant gratification. If I call you, I want you to call me back – same day. I want immediate responses to emails and reports done before deadlines. It borders on OCD.
But the last time I asked for a handout, I was in college, and it was from one of my parents. My parents have since both asked me for some type of handout. I was a victim of having baby boomer parents, and that is a whole other Oprah.
But tuition. As touchy a subject that it is, I don’t understand asking friends, strangers, and social media connections for help paying for college.
I went to school on financial aid. The joke in my house was that my college savings went to the attorneys in the divorce. I had about 80% of my financial aid in free money – between scholarships and income grants. If I hadn’t have gotten such a great aid package, I would have picked another (probably cheaper) school. I don’t even think I picked the best rated school when I made my decision.
I worked three jobs at a time in college, and went to a pricey private school. I walked out with about $20,000 in loans, and he did the same. I knew I was going to college and worked hard to keep my grades up in high school. I also worked during high school – for my family and at a horrible waitressing job. Basically, I busted my butt and planned well in advance.
I don’t understand the kids that decide at the 11th hour right before they graduate that they want to go to college. They also want YOU to pay for it.
How do I know they waited till the last minute? Easy. They have no money for college. Their parents can’t pay for it for whatever reason, and they had no plans in place. If you plan ahead, then you will be worrying about your grades (or athletics, or whatever) so that the “free money” from the schools starts to roll in. You are also filling out your FAFSA (Federal Application for Free Student Aid –free money! From the government!) well in advance. If that isn’t enough – you are applying for scholarships (hey, I am 1/18th Native American!).
In short, I knew there was no option but to go to college. Yes, I got a handout – from the government. Because I did what I was supposed to do. The burden was not on my friends and family to come up with the money. I didn’t ask (bully) my 50,000 twitter followers to pay for my books and lodging. And frankly, any extra money I needed, I worked for.
My husband and I have already started working on saving for our college savings for our kids. A little late, since we have a 4 year old, but it is now an active savings goal. Our social responsibility is to provide for our children with the means that we have. We also will be kicking them in the pants to have a work ethic and make sure they are getting the best deals for college.
Because there is an entire crop of entitled kids ruling our world today, I think it is important that as parents, we put the responsibility back in our own court. If you don’t have the money to save for college, know your options. Research all of the opportunities for schooling, grants and free money. Be frank with your children and let them know that they need to contribute. Make them aware of the loan process and keeping costs in mind when picking a school.
Basically, teach them responsibility.