“The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit.”
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
As I told you in the last post, the economic part of being an international student-athlete in the United States is never something simple. And today, dedicating myself to doing this job, that is to help international student-athletes to get to US universities through scholarships, made me reflect on how these students become, over time, economically independent.
During my first year as a college student-athlete, I happened to buy a few things online, usually CDs, DVDs, or others of little value. At some point, I received a student credit card in the mail that I hadn't requested. The Clout card was dedicated to students and came with a credit of US$600. For the first time in my life, I had a credit card with money to spend! I was excited and immediately started using the card to continue making these small purchases, signing up for online sites like Netflix (which in the early 2000s was a sort of DVD rentals by mail), always trying to pay off at the end of the month at least the minimum amount.
This way, and without even thinking about it too much, a few months later I was notified that my credit had been increased to US$1,000; a few months later to US$2,000 and before I knew it I had more than US$5,000 to spend on credit.
As I later discovered, the banks "talked" to each other and, after the first credit increase, I received other credit card proposals, some with advantages such as the accumulation of miles or points to be spent in many other forms: proposals which I gladly accepted, always maintaining at least the payment of the minimum amount and, when possible, a little more so as not to have to pay too much interest (of course it is not free to have a debt)!
In this way, and I would say with almost no effort, I was able to create a credit of over US$12,000 by the end of my studies that allowed me to be able to make trips, small investments and also to pay for more important items such as a personal computer and other equipment.
The question you will surely have asked yourself is how I managed to pay for these expenses: you would be amazed to know that with the work on campus of 20 hours a week and the summer volleyball camps, the infinite variety of jobs for students in the families close to the athletic department of the University as well as the professors (house-sitter, babysitter, dog-sitter, gardener, etc.) I was able to cover most of these expenses and thus take the first step to become economically independent.
The curiosity that created this credit card experience fired in me the curiosity about other possibile financial activities that led me to study what other things could be done with the little money I had available. But this perhaps will be the topic of a future post.