Higher Education ROI


Here’s something I didn’t have to worry about when I went to the school of hard knocks…ROI. That stands for ‘Return On Investment’ when deciding to continue studies with higher education.

The days from the classic film, Animal House, are over. Attending college for 6 years partying. We all know about the spiraling higher education costs per year can go well above $30K! I can safely say graduating with a 4-year college degree in Liberal Arts has gone out with the horse and buggy.

So before going into high debt you should ask yourself what will be my return on the investment I make on my major? How many years will it take to pay back my loans in the field I’ll be working in?

Will the job you get after getting the degree pay off with you making more money over time?You’ve heard the saying ‘Time is Money’? Well in this case it’s ‘Is My Return Be Worth Investing The Extra Money’?

It’s probably a good idea to limit the total amount of debt to one year’s starting salary when it comes to college loans.

It’s okay to pursue your interests but also give yourself a good honest talking to, and a little detective work wouldn’t hurt either, as to whether this investment really going to be worth it for me. Check me out on your local public television station – my show Talkin’ Money Minutes is seen nationwide.

The Magic of Compounded Interest

As my daddy used to tell me, “Detective Frank Money, never under estimate the power of Compound Interest.” We were very close, especially when it came to this subject – you might say we had a ‘Compounded Father-Son Relationship’.

A perfect example comes from another wise man, you may have heard from him, Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin decided to leave about $4,550 at the time of his death each to his native hometown of Boston and adopted hometown of Philadelphia on the condition that it gather interest for 200 years. Franklin believed 200 years was the maximum length of time any person should be able to control assets from beyond the grave.

It could have theoretically reached well over $78,000,000 if the two cities had never spent any and had managed it well.

The point of Franklin’s experiment was trying to illustrate the tremendous power of compound interest for future generations. The longer you keep your money invested, the more amazing the power of compound interest. So start saving today, and put your money to work for you! You’ll have a case with a happy ending

Granted we’re not going to be around in 200 years to see our money grow, but if you start investing when you’re young, invest wisely, you’ll be able to enjoy retirement later on down the road due to the power of compound interest.

Remember, don’t work hard, put your money to work for you and that’s called working smart.

Insurance is the Policy Here

When you think about it, and I often do because that’s my job as Detective Frank Money, that there are a heck of a lot of insurances out there: homeowners, auto, life, health, flood, dental and if you’re still in college living off campus, rental insurance. Like changing tax laws, insurance rates and coverage change, as well.

Insurance is the perfect definition for Risk Management. And insurance is another facet of being financially literate.

It’s always a good bet to have the proper insurance to protect you, your property and your loved ones from harm. Now that’s good financial literacy.

Peer Pressure

No matter which way you turn someone wants you to spend more of your money. On your cell phone, social media, movies and the endless ads on TV, you’re nobody without that expensive cologne or how much you can save on a 10 day trip to Italy.

This is Detective Frank Money and I’m telling all you college kids on a tight budget to stick with the plan! Don’t go showing off to your friends by picking up a tab or eating out every night.  Think of your college days as a great warm up for practicing financial literacy when you’re a full time adult with a mortgage, kids, car and braces.

You’ll do fine if you just repeat after me…”Separate checks, please!”

Investing for Retirement

I know, I know, it’s a long, long way off: “I’m young, I have plenty of time.” -or- “OMG, I’m 55 years old and the only savings I have are in the coffee can on the bureau”.

I’m Detective Frank Money and my answer to that kind of reasoning is, excuse my French, baloney! The time to start your retirement is NOW – whatever your age! Believe or not, it’s the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make.

Have you seen how much everything cost today? Houses and condos starting at 350K and up; the average car is moving above 30K; and we’re all familiar with the cost of higher education. Don’t count on these prices coming down any time soon.

So it’s your responsibility to understand and execute investing, tax saving, company matching and automatic deposits from your paycheck.

Take immediate steps to make retirement savings something that is automated, so you don’t even think about it. If you work for a company that matches your retirement contributions, that’s like free cash!

If you don’t want to take my word for it, start practicing saying: “Do you want fries with that?” when you’re 65!

A Fiduciary Is Your Friend


Now that’s a scary sounding word – what the heck does it mean?

It’s about your finances and believe me – ‘fiduciary‘ is your friend. The definition of this word is “involving TRUST, especially to the relationship of the trustee and a beneficiary.”

When you are ready to invest your money in places like the stock market, IRA’s or annuities, and are looking for a financial advisor for assistance, it is in your best interest to ask if it comes with a FIDUCIARY DUTY on their part. This means they will manage your assets FULLY for your benefit and NOT for their own profit.

In other words – their M.O. (see below) is to work in your best interests above all others, including themselves – they want what’s best for your money to be their number on motivation.

Now don’t get me wrong, the institution or person should get paid for their expertise but they shouldn’t be getting additional money from these investments by steering your hard earned money over just to them. So don’t hesitate to ask!

Sidebar – What the heck does M.O. mean you ask? While some may think M.O. means motive, it is actually the abbreviation for the Latin term modus operandi, which means way of working, or method of operation.

Apply Good Consumer Skills!

When there’s something you really want to purchase, here are a few tips before running out and buying it without putting a little thought into it. I’m Detective Frank Money and my partner Shamus who can sniff out a good deal. We both frown upon buying things you can’t afford or throwing away the opportunity to get it cheaper.

Let’s go through this process step-by-step:

1 – Think through carefully if this is the item or service you really want.

2 – Check out other offers for the same thing.

3 – Then weigh out the alternatives and consequences of each option.

4 – Time to make your decision on the best offer.

5 – You’re not done yet. Now check out how your choice turned out. Did it work out to be the best choice, and if not, what could you have done for a better result?

Now that’s what I call using good consumer skills. Try it out on other things, as well. Like buying a car, or a smartphone, or even dog food! Remember, when you take a little time to think about what you want to buy, you could save yourself some lettuce, I mean, some big bucks!

Identity Theft

Ouch! This subject really hurts. Even your very own Detective Frank Money was hoodwinked once when I was very young, of course, but I made certain never to get high-jacked again!

Your personal information is like a t-bone steak for crooks so that’s why you never go online in public places that offer free Wifi to look at your bank statement or investments. They are not protected sites. Hackers can be sitting right next to you at a lunch counter with their cell phone getting a free ride directly into your bank account.

Here’s a tip for you. On the back of your credit card, instead for scribbling your signature, print out: ‘CHECK MY ID’. Works for me. It’s a jungle out there so be prepared!


It’s Financial Literacy Month!

What’s my favorite month of the year, you ask? Well, even if you didn’t ask it’s April, the National Financial Literacy Month. That’s how important financial literacy really is!

No more excuses about what you need to know about money. There’s plenty of free information out there to do your detective work for you. From how to achieve your money goals, stay within your budget, best ways to save and keeping your credit score as high as it will go, it’s all out there for you to keep finances on track.

You can even watch Talkin’ Money Minutes on you local public television show – I am proud to say, we are seen nationwide!

You might say your financial future starts right now with the National Financial Literacy Month beginning on April 1st…and I’m not foolin’.