Ever since the summer before his senior year in high school, the marshmallow rule has guided Brian Perez’s decision-making for the future. “I was talking to a professor from the University of Albuquerque who told me a story about a parent who teaches their child a lesson in saving for the future. The parent offers the child one marshmallow brian-perezand says you can have one now or ten marshmallows a week from now.”

To Brian Perez, financial literacy means “wisely putting your income where it will benefit you in the future versus the present.”

Thinking back to the marshmallow rule this meant starting to save for college and managing his time better rather than purchasing and playing video games. These changes paid off and Brian received the NAU Lumberjack Scholarship for his academic merits and saved additional money through Earn to Learn to help support his academic and living expenses. He is the first in his family to attend college.

As a freshman at NAU, Brian is studying dental hygiene and plans to pursue orthodontics. “As someone with braces in high school I was always curious about dentistry and would ask dentists lots of questions.”

He then discovered that NAU offered a dental program. “I knew that in order to make it, I would need to increase my income. I was already working part-time and taking three Advancement Placement, two online and two other classes, so balancing things was difficult.”

Luckily, Brian’s employer at a Sedona hotel was both understanding and flexible. “I needed to work at least twenty hours to meet my savings goals and pay for my expenses, but I could work more if I had the time and needed the money.”

He also credits his mother for helping him be successful. “My mother supported me when I was overwhelmed and everything seemed like too much. She helped rationalize things and make each task smaller and clearer. After talking with her, I would have a plan.”

Brian is grateful for Earn to Learn and the financial literacy training it provides. “It is an amazing program and unfogs your lens towards your finances and how you spend. I’ve learned how to truly save.”

Posted on: October 19, 2016