Shellee Howard – How to go to college debt free.
My next guest is an entrepreneur who has built a company that helps students go to college debt free. In this episode, we talk about various strategies such as how to negotiate tuition, how to get school paid for by the school itself, and how to earn grants from the school or people associated with the school. If you’re thinking about going to college but worried about the costs, this episode is for you. Please welcome Shellee Howard.
Payback Time Podcast
A Podcast on Financial Independence. Hosted by Sean Tepper. If you want to learn how to escape the rat race, create passive income, or achieve financial freedom, you came to the right place.
- (00:43) – Show intro and background history
- (06:08) – Deeper into her background history and business experience
- (09:40) – How she started the educational business model
- (12:01) – How her business model works, and how can it help students
- (15:12) – Deeper into her strategies to reduce educational costs
- (16:30) – What types of degrees she helps students to get
- (20:58) – Deeper into her business strategies
- (24:55) – Deeper into her philosophy
- (35:09) – How to create educational and career options
- (36:44) – A key takeaway from the guest
- (39:30) – What is the worst advice he ever received
- (40:31) – What is the best advice he ever received
- (41:48) – Guest contacts
[00:00:04.480] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tepper, the host of Payback Time, an approachable and transparent podcast on financial independence. I’d like to bring on guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go. My next guest is an entrepreneur who built a company that helps students go to college debt-free. In this episode, we talk about the various strategies, such as how to negotiate tuition, how to get school paid for by the school itself, and how to earn grants from the school or people associated with the school. If you’re thinking of going to college but worried about the costs, this episode is for you. Please welcome, Shellee Howard.
[00:00:43.380] – Sean
Shellee , welcome to the show.
[00:00:44.990] – Shellee
Thank you so much for having me.
[00:00:46.770] – Sean
Good to have you here. So why don’t you kick us off and tell us about your background?
[00:00:50.880] – Shellee
I’m happy to share. I actually am five generations from Southern California, and that shocks most people because it is a very transient place. But why I love it so much is when I travel the world, internationally or domestically, it always takes me back to home, which is Laguna Beach, one of my favorite places. And that’s actually my foundation. So I went to a very small public school, graduating class of 200. And I remember coming home to my parents my senior year and saying to entrepreneurs keeping my mom and dad. And I said, Hey, the counselor said I should consider college. This is a long time ago for your listeners. I am not a yesterday college student. And it was a very interesting conversation. My dad says, Yeah, I think it would be a really good idea. It never hurts to be educated, and it’s a lot more fun to learn on somebody else’s dollar. When you’re an entrepreneur and you make mistakes, it hurts worse when it’s your own money versus going, getting educated and working a J-O-B for a little bit. My mom says, No, you need to go to work. That’s what entrepreneurs do.
[00:02:05.160] – Shellee
I’ve been working since I was 16, and that’s just what we do. And I’m like, Oh, what do I do with that information? So I went back to my high school counselor and I’m like, Okay, now I’m really conflicted. And my counselor said, Just apply. You don’t have to go, but you will miss the window of opportunity if you don’t just apply. And I’m like, Awesome, I can do that. So I applied to two schools. I had a great plan. I was either going to surf at San Diego State or I was going to snow ski at University of Colorado, Boulder. And then I learned, Oh, you have to go to class too. But that wasn’t the point. So I got into both and I now have the big dilemma. What do I do? I sat my parents down again. I said, Listen, I got into bull shocker. And my dad says, I’ll make it real easy for you. You go to San Diego State and I’ll pay. You go to University of Colorado and you’re on your own. I’m like, I’m going to be an Aztec. I love that idea. Back in the day, that was a few thousand dollars.
[00:03:07.720] – Shellee
We’re not talking a massive investment like it is now. I’ll fast forward because it could be a long, drawn out story. But why I share that is because that’s my foundation of who I am and how I got started. I knew when I got to college that I needed a plan. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one, and I changed my major five times. And every time I changed my major, it costs me time and money. I ended up going to summer school in winter session just to graduate in four years because that was my father’s deal. Graduate all As and Bs in four years, and he would fit the bill. So I didn’t take out a loan. I was very fortunate, but it was a very small amount. I actually could have worked my way through it if I really needed to. But that set in my mind all of the tragedy that went into that. No plan, no discussion, nobody to help me, nobody to support me. And I said, You know, I’m going to do that very differently when I have children. Fast forward, when my oldest was in eighth grade, he came home and he said, Mom, I know exactly what I want to do when I go to college and after college.
[00:04:23.670] – Shellee
And I’m like, Great, share it with me because I did it all wrong. And he says, Yeah, I want to be a brain surgeon and go to Harvard. And I’m like, Okay, that’s great son. And he walked away and I had a mommy moment of panic. Fast forward from that, I went back to school, got my Master’s, then became an Independent Certified College Consultant. In, worked 20 to 30 hours a week helping my son over the next four years. And he got into seven top tier schools, ended up going to Harvard four years premed for free. First job out of Harvard never worked a day in his life, $106,000 a year. And I’m like, Wait a minute. I made $23,000 a year with a college degree. He made 106 with a college degree from Harvard. There’s a big difference. I share that because many people are talking about, Is college worth it? I have many students now who want to be influencers or entrepreneurs or whatever that is, and I honor every student. But what I can now share is my son is an orthopedic surgeon with $30,000 in debt in total. He will have that done within his first year.
[00:05:41.110] – Shellee
That is what I want for families. It is possible because I have three other children that I’ve done it for as well. Sixteen and a half years it’s been since my son first told me he wanted to do his dream. I’ve helped thousands of students. Last year in ’21-’22, our students earned 23.2 million in scholarships. That is how I like to help families.
[00:06:08.190] – Sean
And first off, thanks for giving me the context there on the educational side. Before we dive, and I’ve got a bunch of questions here, we’re going to dive into what you should go to school for, what really has an ROI, what doesn’t. And we’ll talk about different fields, different majors there. And of course, how do you get school paid for for free? That’s the big question everybody here is looking for. But first off, before we hit record, you said you had prior business experience. You started several businesses. Can you give us context on that?
[00:06:38.170] – Shellee
So having two entrepreneur parents, it was just a very natural thing for me to think out of the box. And I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but my dad’s wisdom came first. Just to give you a brief, I started at age 12. I created Bourrette. My mom was a hairdresser. She blew them out of her salon quicker than I could make them. That’s when I said, Wait a minute. This is pretty awesome. I have an idea. People want it. I sell it. I make money. And then from there, I’ve had seven of them. College Ready, like all the rest of my businesses, happened to me, which means I had a problem. I found the solution and people wanted it. That’s how College Ready got started. I was sitting at my son’s graduation and a young man sitting next to me said, Dude, I didn’t even know that kid was smart. And he was talking about my son who went to Harvard. So these kids can be fun, athletic, sports people, and still have the opportunity to go to college without debt. And that is the entrepreneur spirit that I talk about. But every one of my businesses were truly because I figured out a problem solution.
[00:07:56.610] – Sean
Got it. Okay, so you had College Ready, which is your current business, which is a service entity, okay? Correct. Did you go through any exits?
[00:08:05.870] – Shellee
I exited all of them at different points. Before College Ready, I actually was a professional photographer, and I did that for about 27 years while I raised my family. While I also did other, we call them side hustles, but basically they were businesses. But that one I started from scratch. It had to do with I sent out a Christmas card that everybody loved, and then I created a business. So it’s very unique. And I’ve been a personal trainer. I’ve been a nutritionist. I’ve done so many different things because there’s always a need. And if you solve the problem, that’s how you do it. So all of them were successful.
[00:08:49.710] – Sean
Got it. What I was looking for is typically when Exit is used is usually selling an entity for a multiple against EBITDA. Did you have any circumstance like that?
[00:08:59.350] – Shellee
I sold them to other people, but I didn’t sell them for a ton of money. It was more like just- Their service. -selling my customer base. That wasn’t what any of them were meant to be. College-ready definitely is going to be my first. But I don’t know if I’ll ever retire. It’s a pretty challenging idea. I love what I do, and I have no idea what I would do differently. So hard to say. Each business started while I was working in another business. So I’ve never truly sold off and left it. I’ve just moved on and sold the list.
[00:09:40.140] – Sean
Got it. Okay. That gives us context. It’s a service business background. I hear personal trainer, photographer, in this case, consulting firm, which makes sense. And that really… Let’s lead into what this is about, which is really education. Now, your son went to Harvard, and he went to school for free or a lower cost. Is that correct?
[00:10:01.350] – Shellee
Yeah. He graduated debt-free. So we had so many scholarships. Actually, what ended up happening, the whole story, because everybody wants they want to know this part, is he had a full ride to USC, Southern California-based school, which was my dream for him because it’s an hour away from home, right? So I’m like, Yes, we bought the sweatshirt. He got the presidential full ride. It was a beautiful thing. And then a week later, Harvard accepted him. And I’m like, Sorry, Harvard, too late. We’re going to USC. And my son’s like, Mom, it’s Harvard. And I’m like… So we went toward the school and Harvard matched USC. So it was a business negotiation, a commodity, which was my son and him being successful and a school wanting him. So it was really all about that resume, right? For business people like yourself, this is how I can help you understand. If you owned a business and I came to you and I’ve never had a job, I have no resume, but you really liked me, you would give me the job but minimum wage. If I came to you with years of experience and I could absolutely blow your business out of the water with a deep resume, you are going to pay dearly for that.
[00:11:22.630] – Shellee
That’s how colleges work. It’s a business. It’s not an emotional thing like people identify it. It’s a business. They need students in their seats as much as students need their degree. That’s how people have to change their mindset. So when I built my son strategy, I built it like a business. And I started with what are colleges looking for? They’re looking for students to come in, make their school better, leave, put the diploma on the wall, be awesome. Everybody else now wants to go there. And guess what? It’s the same business model that we would use as an entrepreneur.
[00:12:01.140] – Sean
What I did, this is crazy. The dynamic has changed. It’s been almost 20 years since I graduated, and we did not have the upper hand back then. You and I want to phrase this back to you, you can correct me if I’m wrong. You created leverage by getting the USC tuition and use that. In other words, listeners out there or parents out there, if your kids are going to school, apply to multiple schools, figure out what the cost is, and use that cost almost in a T-chart and Excel is what I’m thinking. That’s what I would do and go right to the school and be like, Look, this school is looking to charge me this much. What can you do? That sounds like that’s what you did?
[00:12:41.140] – Shellee
Yes, and it’s even more important that that college list be strategic because you can’t take Cal State Fullerton and go to Harvard and go, But look, Cal State Fullerton. You know what I mean? Totally. You have to be mindful. Lads in business, I always say in real estate, right? You could buy a home and negotiate the deal. But if you have something to leverage, you’re going to get a better deal. It’s the same business concept with college. Yeah.
[00:13:10.160] – Sean
I think of top tier business schools. I’m in Milwaukee, so just south you have Northwestern Mutual, Kellogg. You can get a master’s degree there, or you go to Wharton School of Business and you want to go to those tiers, that tier of MBAs, and compare them against each other to get the lowest price.
[00:13:28.450] – Shellee
Absolutely. And people just don’t know that you can do this. We know how to leverage people to get off the waitlist. We lead with return on investment, because I don’t believe every student has to go to college. But I do believe, I had a student the other day, she said, I want to be a botanist and I want to go to NYU. And I’m like, I could see the parents just freaking out in the background. And I said, I love that you love plants, but you told me that you also want to buy a new car every year. So what if you went to business school and opened multiple nurseries and you still got to play with plants? Wouldn’t that be a better strategy? And she’s like, Yes. And the parents are like, You’re hired. So it’s really helping people think it through, because if you just want a J-O-B, you don’t need a college degree. But if you want to be a dentist, a doctor, a lawyer, a CPA, there are degrees that you must achieve. Also, there is a new degree called entrepreneurship, and it is brilliant. My fourth child is actually doing something way out of the box.
[00:14:41.080] – Shellee
She is getting a dual degree, European and US, studying at AAU in Prague, international business, three and a half years for 27,000 total. And she gets to tour Europe on the weekends. So how do you turn down? When people say, I can’t afford it, or there’s no return on investment, I’m like, I beg to differ. You just are not thinking out of the box. There are 10 colleges that are tuition-free. All you have to do is work.
[00:15:12.790] – Sean
Yeah, explain that. Because we talked about the price negotiation, but the end result there is there’s still a price. So how do we take that price down to no cost? Did you just reveal the answer to that as work for the school?
[00:15:27.160] – Shellee
There’s so many different paths. There’s actually 27 different paths that a student can take. So there are 10 schools that you work at the school in lieu of tuition, okay?
[00:15:40.550] – Sean
[00:15:41.920] – Shellee
So if it’s truly, I can’t afford college, that means you can’t work. And that’s the problem that I see.
[00:15:48.950] – Sean
Are these well-known state schools or what schools are these?
[00:15:52.060] – Shellee
They are not on the East Coast or West Coast because those are the most competitive schools. They’re in the middle of the country. They’re actually chapter nine of my book, How to Send Your Student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money. You can get the book on Amazon. Actually, as your listeners, I’m going to give them a free opportunity to get the book at the end of the show. So just know, it’s like being an entrepreneur. You have to think outside of the box. You can’t do what everybody else is doing and expect to go for reduced or free. It doesn’t work that way.
[00:16:30.450] – Sean
Right. Jump me back here because I know my audience is tapping me on the shoulder, like ask this question. All right, I’m not going to ask what schools, because we want our listeners to grab your book, but are these technical degrees or four-year colleges?
[00:16:44.330] – Shellee
[00:16:45.260] – Sean
They are. Okay. I assume based on the 10 schools that are mentioned, there’s a wide range of degrees you can go for, from engineering to if you want to be an architect, okay, a doctor or whatever. Good. So that’s another strategy. What other strategies can people use to reduce the costs of college?
[00:17:09.040] – Shellee
Well, the other one is back in the day, we could go to community college and then transfer. That has become a very difficult thing, especially on both coasts, East Coast, West Coast, because our California state schools, and this applies to East Coast as well, they’re so overcrowded because the state schools are overcrowded because they’re a less expensive option. The problem is they’re now capping them at 16 units a semester, which means you can’t graduate in four years, which means now that four-year degree is going to take you five years, six years. That is not a good strategy or return on investment of time. Because when you look at the whole picture, your time is money. You have retirement, you have… There’s so much we can impact there. But what I want listeners to understand is some people believe that public schools, specifically community college or state schools, is the cheapest plan, but it is not always that case. Private schools have huge endowments. Their alumni are very generous, and they are very generous to students who catch their eye, who have a standout strategy. So how we help families do it is we create that standout strategy, or in your world, a business plan, for the student to stand out because when they stand out, they get money.
[00:18:39.070] – Shellee
And that is how we’re able to get them in and out with return on investment.
[00:18:43.960] – Sean
So you’re saying that you can position, let’s say it’s a student, maybe they’re involved in a certain nonprofit, or maybe it’s, I’m thinking of the arts or maybe a sport, if they really stand out from other students, you can get grants, not loans, but grants from people have some money. Is that correct?
[00:19:01.720] – Shellee
Correct. Here’s an example for your listeners.
[00:19:03.850] – Sean
I was just going to ask for a case study. Yes.
[00:19:06.280] – Shellee
I’ll give you a brief one. I had a student about almost three years ago now, and we do what’s called a passion with Purpose Project. That’s part of our standout strategy. We help the student get clarity. What are they good at? Their gifts, their talents, their advocacy. And then we help them to create this plan. This young man says, I don’t like people. And I’m like, Wow, all right then. This is awesome. We’re going to do.
[00:19:33.160] – Sean
All of this. And I said, Well, help me.
[00:19:35.020] – Shellee
Understand what you do like. And he goes, I like comic con. I’m like, What is comic con? So I Googled it because I didn’t know. And I’m like, Oh, so you like comics? He goes, Oh, you’re just like everybody. It’s not just comics. And he told me about the comic con convention. He got super fired up. And I’m like, Oh, we’re onto something. And I said, What do you like to do with comic-con? He goes, I love to go on eBay and buy it and fix it up. I’m like, All right, like comic books? Oh, those little action figures things? And I could tell he’s getting irritated by my lack of experience with comic con. And so I said, No, help me understand. If you like to buy and fix them up, why don’t you sell them and donate that money to a charity you care about? That’s brilliant, Shelly. I love that idea. He got a full ride to Chapman, and he has the number one eBay, comic-con store.
[00:20:34.590] – Sean
Because the nonprofit helped pay for school?
[00:20:37.270] – Shellee
No, because Chapman saw that entrepreneur spirit and that ability to serve his community with his funds as outstanding.
[00:20:49.300] – Sean
Okay. So in that case, they reduced the tuition.
[00:20:52.520] – Shellee
Well, reduced it to him not having to pay anything. Yes, a full ride of his education.
[00:20:58.590] – Sean
Interesting. Okay, so you will help create this business plan and then get it sent off to the right people. Are you doing this thing behind the scenes, like you’re building relationships with different universities? Or do you start from scratch and like, Okay, so this is a university you want to go to. I will help get to the right people?
[00:21:18.250] – Shellee
No, I do not know any universities behind the scenes. And no, I’m not part of any scandal. Everything I do is with the student. It has nothing to do with anything.
[00:21:29.710] – Sean
No, I wasn’t implying a scandal. It’s like business relationships. For example, in the enterprise sales world, it’s very hard to sell a software to a GE or Microsoft or whatever. You have to know somebody. And just knowing them on LinkedIn is enough. It’s got to be like, Well, my friend plays golf with this person. I can get you a phone call. And that’s how you start the conversation, it’s not how you end it. So that’s what I was implying there is, do you know people?
[00:21:54.090] – Shellee
No, we don’t. I know the same people that any family would know. In other words, I know financial aid phone number for whatever school. But I don’t have any personal relationships with any schools. But what I do know is over 16 years building the student to be the best version of them. And by the way, college is a stepping stone, it’s not the finish line. So what we do is we focus on helping the student be the best version of them with leadership, extracurricular, community service, and- Sure. -all of this. And then they have an interview and they’re just like, whoa, whoa, whoa. They just blow their mind with all the amazing things they’ve done. And that’s what opens the door. They do it. I don’t do it. I only work with the student.
[00:22:45.970] – Sean
And what I’m trying to do is connect the dots between them working with you to getting the full ride. So it sounds like you really polished their, if you will, their presentation for going to the school and set everything up. So when they’re in that interview to go to the school, at that moment, they see all the green flags and they’re like, Hey, this kid, we want to offer them the scholar. Is that how that happened with this comic con kid?
[00:23:13.080] – Shellee
Yeah. So it goes back to, remember the no resume and the big resume? You’re the owner, and it’s the same concept. You own a… So there’s the college, which is a business, and they’re looking to get the best person to go into the school to make the school better, get out of the school and advertise for them. It’s a whole marketing play, but nobody’s tapping into college like that. They’re only looking at it as, My kids are so amazing. They went to Yale. Yale. Okay, that is not our strategy. If they want to go to Yale, they better work real hard to get there. And we’re going to tell them how to do it, but nobody does it for them. They just don’t know how to do it. I want and we’re the how, and then they get. So it’s really just helping them. As I do entrepreneurs. Creating a business plan is the same as a standout strategy. What’s the need? How am I going to build this business? It just happens to be a child. That’s what it is.
[00:24:18.470] – Sean
Let’s take a quick commercial break. Hey, this is a quick heads up that we have a second podcast titled Top Stocks. With Top Stocks Podcast, I talk about investing, business, and finance. The audio content is published on your favorite podcast platforms such as Apple, Spotify, Google, or Amazon. And the video content is published on the Tykr YouTube channel, so you can either watch or listen to each episode. These episodes are just me, so no interviews. And the overall goal is to help you become a better investor. Go ahead and look up Top Stocks Podcast or check out the Tykr YouTube channel. All right, back to the show. And going back to… Actually, I’d like to summarize the three things that I’ll touch on the first one. So the three ways this will be helpful for the audience to put this in a framework. This is just a starting list, I imagine. If they go to your book, they’ll probably find more ways or they can talk to you on Zoom to get more. But it’s really I’m looking at negotiate price, so get multiple price quotes from multiple colleges you get accepted to. That’s step one.
[00:25:20.380] – Sean
Step two is there’s 10 schools you can go to and work for in lieu of tuition. I love that strategy. And then this would be a third. So that’s the first two options, third option or strategy is this passion with purpose business plan is really polishing their presentation, their resume, getting into the school, make that wow factor. And at that point, that child, young adult, I should say, is in the driver’s seats and really can negotiate a lower tuition or learn what options are from there. I think those three options, those three strategies, they make sense. They check out.
[00:25:58.570] – Shellee
Yeah. I would out of all of that, if I could help parents put the icing on the cake is picking the right school for the student academically fit, socially fit, and financially fit. That has to happen in order for this program to work. Of course, we want it all. And that’s when you get the full ride. But even a partial savings, if you did two of the three, or even scholarships if you did one of the three, would be helpful. And that is our goal. We let the family decide what’s most important, scholarships, social fit, or academic fit. We can help them get any of it. Having all three is what it takes to get the full ride.
[00:26:42.170] – Sean
Yes. In my day, my focus was scholarship based on athletics. I was on the slow end of D1 swimming. I was not like you compare my times to kids, what they’re doing today. It’s like I’d be treading water or standing still. But I was just fast enough to make it to D1 and get partial scholarship there, which was nice. But for context, I went to a state school, UW Milwaukee, and tuition at the time was between $2,500 and $3,000 per semester. We’re talking six grand a year. You can work a job and pretty much pay for that. That’s what I did. I was able to pay for it with some help from parents. But anyway, let’s jump into degrees. I know this is a hot topic, and I’ll give you my thoughts here, and I’d love to hear you jump in here and prove where I’m wrong. But I remember through the years, people who would skip the four-year college route and get into trade jobs. And I remember this in the late 2000s, especially when the recession hit, a lot of us that were getting degrees, we really had a hard time, I would call it ramping up the revenue machine.
[00:27:51.520] – Sean
It took a long time to make some money, whereas my friends who worked in trades were making double what we’re making. And it’s like, oh, my gosh, these guys went for welding or plumbing or electrical work and just making a ton more money. And now these people are hitting 40 years old. They live relatively frugal lives, not buying expensive cars every two years, you know? It’s like living well and investing wisely. They’re hitting 40 and retiring. And I’m like, well, that right there, that’s the strategy. So I tell kids, if you’re not going for engineering, one is I say four-year tech or not tech four-year-degree, go for engineering. That’s a great degree to go for. Finance is another good option. If you go to school like your son did in the medical field, a lot more school, a lot more. It can be double the school. But of course, you can come out making some more money. And I’m more in favor of get the four-year degree if it has a high ROI, but immediately start investing. Otherwise, because a Tykr, we’re big on in the stock market doing the heavy work for you, go to a trade school, get a trade job, and get that revenue machine moving as early as humanly possible and start investing in the market.
[00:29:02.690] – Sean
Because you can go from age 20 to 40, and by 40, you can be like, Do I really need to work?
[00:29:07.870] – Shellee
I would love to speak on that because I, too, coming from an entrepreneur’s perspective, interesting thing I like students to think about, and I walk them through this exercise, and I’m going to do it briefly for you. I asked them, if I gave you a million dollars cash today and you had 24 hours to spend it or you had to give it all back to me, what would you do with it? This tells you about what they weigh as important. If they’re going to spend their million like, These are the things, man, that I really want. And then you dig in deeper for all you listeners. Ask that to your children tonight at dinner. What you hear, if you can keep a straight face and not show any reaction, is what they value. So if you hear a child say, Well, first I take my friends on a yacht and then I travel the world and then I would buy an airplane. No, this happens. It’s a real thing. These kids have no… 75 % have no concept of money. Actually, I’m an investor in an app called Gravy Stack. I highly recommend it to your listeners with young children.
[00:30:23.400] – Shellee
It teaches financial literacy fun. But back to your question of trade school. Trade school is very… It’s a good plan, short term if you don’t have the desire for all the fast cars, for the big trips, for the extra things in life that one might choose to do and wear and tear on your body. So plumbers, knees, backs, electricians, necks. So when that happens, if you have not saved properly, now what? You have no degree to fall back on. If you have four years of growing up and don’t go into debt, that is my thing. Return on investment number one. I’m not saying go to college, have a party, and come out with 300,000 in debt. I’m not saying that. But I’m telling you, when my son called me from Harvard his first week and he said, Mom, I have a huge problem. My heart sink. I said, What? And he goes, I wash the red and the white and now I have pink everything. What do I do? And I’m like, That is a quality problem that you learn in college, son. So sometimes people forget that college is a gentle way of growing up because you’re going to work for the rest of your life until some people retire.
[00:31:49.070] – Shellee
I call it freedom, choice. I don’t believe in retiring. But when you think about life, you have to think about your quality, what you want, not what anybody else wants. Because I agree. When I got out of college, I started work four days later, I had no debt, just like my kids. It was awesome. I was way ahead of all the other kids who did community college and trade school, never looking back. So I tell the people who are listening, you first have to get clarity about where you want to live. If you want to live on the beach, you better figure out the stock market really well, really fast, or you have to have a plan A and a B and a C and a C. And that’s what I think is missing in today’s society is it doesn’t have to be this or that. It can be, you know what? Go get your plumbing certification and then own a plumbing company and have a lot of other people doing the hard, physical job. Do you see where I’m going with this?
[00:32:50.980] – Sean
Oh, yeah. And I 100 % agree. And I got a funny story for you. Timing is perfect on this. So you’re right. With The Trade Jobs, there’s wear and tear in the body, so you have to factor that in. You got to have that communication with your kids. Usually by like, yeah, upper 30s, younger 40s, you want to be moving out of the hard, heavy work. And there’s a scenario. I was actually at my bank the other day, and the woman I was speaking to was telling me a story about her husband was in flooring. He had his own flooring company for a long time, but he got to, I think it was his upper 40s and decided let’s sell the business because he’s starting to see somewhere and tear, yet he wants to enjoy time with grandkids and be able to run around and play with them. So she’s like, yeah, he decided to sell the business and then went to be a salesperson at a larger flooring company. And it was like a dream come true for the guy because he could take some capital. He probably sold the business for two or three X, I think it was revenue.
[00:33:46.650] – Sean
But he was able to walk around comfortably. He’s not on his hands and knees like you just mentioned, which is brutal on your knees. He can walk around. He can go sit at a desk. He’s on a computer, can make his own hours somewhere between 8:00 and 5:00 PM or something like that. But he’s got his weekends off, and he’s like, It was perfect. And he decided to do that up until he recently retired, which is more now he works on projects at home. But I was like, That was a really cool story about if you go into the trades, yes, you can make some money right up front, but don’t think you can do this your entire life. Nobody has that physical strength or endurance. No.
[00:34:23.000] – Shellee
Yeah. That’s why I gave up photography. Lugging my gear around. Oh, sure. Yeah. It was heavy and the equipment is… So that’s why I say I’ve bopped and weaved. I watched, my mom was a hairdresser growing up. Her knees went bad, her feet went bad, her hands went bad, her back went bad. We just watched her whole body start to fall apart. And yes, she made really good money. But now she’s in her 70s and she’s hurting with arthritis and some of those things I don’t think people play into. Again, it’s what do you want for your whole life? And that’s what I want children to really look at. And they don’t know, but it’s up to us to help them.
[00:35:09.450] – Sean
To circle back, you made a really wise comment, which is the options. You lean into what did they want to do? What are they passionate about? And then lay out the options from there. So if somebody is waffling between a tech degree and four years, it’s like, Okay, look out 10 years. Look out 20 years. Look out 30 years. Let’s paint that picture. I think that’s brilliant because, of course, when I was at that age, 18 years old, nobody had that conversation. And it’s a.
[00:35:37.900] – Shellee
Hard one to have as a parent because they think they know you wouldn’t approve, basically, is what teenagers tell me. Oh, my parents would never let me do that. And I, a total stranger, they tell me everything, how they really feel. And it is so helpful because then I can guide. What does that plan A and that plan B and the plan C look like? Because I don’t judge them. I help them go get what the life they want. And trust me, I wish I had a me when I was my age. That’s for sure. Oh, yeah, absolutely.
[00:36:15.500] – Sean
Before we jump to the rapid fire round, one more question would be, is there a key takeaway you can give either maybe a student, somebody who’s making transition from high school? Maybe they’re a little older and want to go back to school or advice for a parent.
[00:36:32.660] – Shellee
So if you are working and want to go back to school, pick a company who will pay for it. That is my advice. That is my return on investment of that education. And what was your second.
[00:36:46.520] – Sean
Part of that? It was a poor question, but yes, great recommendation there. I love that. Because I’ve known people to do that. They’ll work for a company and they’re like, Yeah, I just got my education paid for and I was paid a salary on top of it. I was like, Now that is a smart play. This next question is the second half of that, which is for the parents out there. Any advice you can give to a child or to them that they could pass on to their child?
[00:37:14.060] – Shellee
I have two things. One, teach them to love to read. It is so critical for their future. And hide your phone in a book or a magazine because it’s a monkey see, monkey do situation. If they see you reading, even though you know you’re on their cell phone, bath time, they’re in the bathtub, pull out a book, pull out a magazine, sit right next to them. They want to do what you do. And that has been huge for my oldest. The second piece is plan early. We start planning with students in seventh and eighth grade to get them ready for college. You can no longer wait until your junior year if you want reduced or free. We have to start in eighth, ninth grade to get the big scholarships. The longer you wait, the more it’s going to cost you.
[00:38:05.000] – Sean
Yeah, that’s smart. Good idea. All right, let’s transition to the Rapid Fire round. This is the part of the episode where we get to find out who Shelly really is. If you can, try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less. You ready?
[00:38:19.510] – Shellee
[00:38:20.140] – Sean
All right. What is your favorite podcast?
[00:38:22.730] – Shellee
Mine. Parents Is Your Team College Ready.
[00:38:25.960] – Sean
You listen to your own podcast?
[00:38:28.290] – Shellee
I do. It’s brilliant because when I’m in it, I’m in the interview. When I hear it and hear what my guests have to say, it’s massive learning. So I truly listen to my own podcast.
[00:38:40.310] – Sean
Interesting. I’ve never listened to my own. You should do it. I’m like, I was there. I know what was said. I’m moving on. Listen to something that’s more comedic is my jam. But anyway, next question is the book question. What is a recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:38:58.250] – Shellee
Do What You Love and the money will come.
[00:39:00.880] – Sean
Nice. I’ve heard of it. All right, movie question. What is your favorite movie?
[00:39:05.710] – Shellee
[00:39:06.920] – Sean
The new one or the original?
[00:39:08.770] – Shellee
That’s tough. I like them both, but probably the original.
[00:39:11.830] – Sean
[00:39:12.490] – Shellee
Okay. It’s tough. I like them both.
[00:39:15.090] – Sean
I have to admit, I was not a big fan. Movie nerds are going to be surprised out there. Not a big fan of the first, but the new one was incredible.
[00:39:22.630] – Shellee
That music gets me every time.
[00:39:24.560] – Sean
Kenny Loggins to start your day, right?
[00:39:27.560] – Shellee
[00:39:29.020] – Sean
All right. A few business questions here. What is the worst advice you ever received?
[00:39:35.700] – Shellee
This is a little bit harder. I don’t often listen to a lot of people’s advice. Probably that is invest in diversify my investments and just do it where it was bad advice because I did it before I really knew what I was doing. I took it literal, just go and do it before I got educated. I did on it. I had a couple of investments that I learned some lifelong lessons.
[00:40:04.600] – Sean
Right. There’s a lot to unpack there at a good point because there is wisdom to just do it because there’s people that sit in analysis paralysis for years. It’s like do some homework, become educated, but at some point, you have to pull the trigger. You’ve got to move forward. I see too many people that they just sit and they think about it and they tell their others they’re thinking about it. You’ve done your homework. Let’s go. Yeah, so that’s my comment on that. Let’s flip the equation here. What is the best advice you ever received?
[00:40:36.200] – Shellee
That was my dad when he said, You know what? Go and get a college degree, get a job with a Fortune 500 company, learn on their dime, then go start your own business, but don’t do it on your own dime.
[00:40:48.400] – Sean
Yeah, I’m smart.
[00:40:50.090] – Shellee
[00:40:51.190] – Sean
Your parents are smart, but that comment there, I love that.
[00:40:55.630] – Shellee
For sure, yeah.
[00:40:56.980] – Sean
Yes. All right, and last question here is the time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:41:06.130] – Shellee
I would visit my college years and not be so much in a hurry to get married like everybody else was doing. I have two of my children in that stage right now. My daughter is doing seven weddings this summer. And I just remember the pressure. And so I tell students, I say, We live longer than we’ve ever lived. I’m not saying don’t get married. I’m saying enjoy life while you’re young and healthy and travel together and do wonderful memories. Just don’t be in a hurry to grow up.
[00:41:37.630] – Sean
I have passed those years where everybody was getting married. Yeah, it was a big wave. I remember that. Yeah. 20s and 30s indeed. All right, where can the audience reach you?
[00:41:51.630] – Shellee
So I’m going to give two options. One is a free copy of my book. It’s freebook. Collegereadyplan, P-L-A-N. Com. Com, and my website, www. Collegereadyplan. Com.
[00:42:07.570] – Sean
Nice. Shelly, thank you so much for your time. I really enjoyed this conversation.
[00:42:11.060] – Shellee
[00:42:11.540] – Sean
My pleasure. All right.
[00:42:12.930] – Shellee
We’ll see you. Thank you.
[00:42:15.920] – Sean
Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. Also, if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple Podcast and leave a review? The more reviews we get, the more Apple will share this podcast with the world. So thanks for doing that. And last thing, if you do hear any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not make a buy or sell decision based solely on what you hear. All right. Thanks for your time. I’ll talk to you later. See you.