Financial Responsibility: Preparing teens to make the best financial decision – Nairametrics

Growing up in a family where the discussion of money was the white elephant in the room, I never realized how much or how little we had. I had no appreciation for the naira nor how to be a thrifty shopper. I was ill-prepared to manage a budget or make wise money choices as a college graduate. As I got older and more financially conscious, I realized that if it wasn’t for my minimalist parents, their wise decision to open a kiddies account for my siblings and me, as well as generous relatives with deep pockets, I couldn’t have imagined where we would be today, financially speaking.

Several life lessons opened my eyes to the importance of financial responsibility, which is why I think it’s incredibly important to teach young children how money works and how to wisely use it.

If you ask most teens or kids in their pre-teens what it means to be financially responsible or if they have teens accounts, I am sure you will get a lot of remarks mired in confusion.

This is why I will like to share some practical ideas for imparting financial responsibility in your teenagers, as you prepare them for their future.

Having that money talk with your kids as they grow older may be a hard nut to crack. With this in mind, I have curated a checklist to help you prepare your kids as they navigate the tricky waters of personal finance.

[READ MORE: Money mindsets that rich kids learn from their parents)

  • Be the example

Several teens rely on their parents to set the right examples when it comes to money management. As parents and guardians, we play a crucial role in shaping our children’s financial habits and attitude towards money.

A great way to set the right example as your teens grow older is by including them in some of your financial decisions, for example, showing them how you get better deals on groceries, or how you use a budget planner for your monthly expenses.

Let them in on your budgeting process for household supplies, essential bills and gradually introduce them to how you sort your taxes or pay your mortgage.

Very often, children mimic the financial habits of their parents or guardians. If your children see you as the type of person who saves up to buy something, then they are more likely to do the same but if they notice you’re quick to turn to credit to fund non-essential purchases, they most likely follow suit.

  • Give your teens the freedom to manage their own budgets

This will teach a vital lesson and help them understand that money is not an unlimited resource.

Allowing your teens manage funds early will help them recognise the value of money and teach them the importance of spending only what they can afford, and help them avoid the drawbacks caused by unplanned expenses.

You can also introduce them to banks with teen accounts and talk them through everything they need to know to ensure they open the right account.

  • Pocket money and budgeting

One of the ways to teach teenagers financial responsibility is giving them a set budget for a specific task.

Pocket money offers the first taste of financial responsibility to a lot of children. Giving your kid a regular amount of money and the sole responsibility of paying for things they like, offers them the first glimpse into life and how to stick to a budget.

An example could be providing them with a monthly budget for their meals and allowing them spend the funds as they like; if they choose to spend the money on other things other than their meals and they run out funds, they’d learn a valuable lesson about budgeting and discipline.

Teenagers, who receive regular, fixed sums, are likely to keep track of their financial incomes and spending. A crucial part of teaching your teenagers how to manage their finances is to be strict with the money you give them and ensuring you rarely ever bail them out when they overspend. This will teach them that overspending can lead to the problem of debt.

  • Share tales of your financial mistakes

Opening up to your kids about certain financial mistakes you have made in the past and how they hindered you is a good idea. These stories are a great way to highlight the dangers of poor financial habits. This could mean telling them about how you incurred debts because of a bad spending habit on unnecessary items.

By sharing some of the financial mistakes you made when you were about their age, you will be teaching them valuable financial lessons.

[READ ALSO: How much are you worth in naira per hour?)

  • Help them Develop a Savings Culture

Teaching your kids, the importance of saving and only buying the things they need is a crucial part of shaping their adult lives.

This could mean encouraging your kids to set aside a small amount every month to buy a new pair of shoes, or teaching them how to save long-term for bigger projects.

This habit and financial discipline will make it easy for them to achieve their long term goals of going to college, paying their mortgage or buying a car as they become adults.

Talking to teenagers about the need to save can be quite tasking, so it’s a great idea to introduce them to saving by leveraging their interests.

If your kid is interested in fashion, you can help them work out how to meet the cost for items they will like to get. This could mean teaching them to set aside a certain amount of money monthly, or helping them secure part-time jobs.

  • Teach them how to manage their first wage

Helping your teenager secure a job is one of the important steps to financial independence. This will also help increase the amount of disposable income they have access to.

Younger kids who still go to school can take up informal employment like babysitting for family friends, while teenagers over the minimum school leaving age can take up full-time employment. This will play a key role in preparing them for the future and is also a great opportunity to instil in them the importance of saving some of their earnings for rainy days.

An example could be, if your teenager would like to buy some fashion items, makeup or the latest PS4, you can show them how to set-up a standing order to their savings account on every payday. This way, their savings is automated and it so much easier to stick to a budget.

Written by Mariam Barry

Living with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip – TechCrunch

The Galaxy Z Flip ships with the same “Care Instructions” as the Fold. It’s a five-item list with the following basic points:

  • Don’t scratch the screen with a pen or fingernail
  • Don’t stick stuff between the screens when folding
  • Don’t get it dusty, wet or feed it after midnight
  • Don’t stick stickers to the screen
  • Don’t get it near credit cards or your pacemaker

Unlike the last time around, however, these warnings seem to have been included out of an (understandable) abundance of caution. As stated in my hands-on the other day, the Flip feels more solid than the Fold in just about every way, from the folding mechanism to the display, which now sports foldable protective glass.

A couple of notes before we start here. First, and most importantly, this is a rare 24-hour device loan. Short loan times are not entirely uncommon with high-end products, but a single day is a bit extreme. I’m being upfront about this because:

  1. You can only go into so much depth with limited time.
  2. It’s worth noting what appears to be a bit of caution on Samsung’s part.

This isn’t a case of an early product in limited supply. The Z Flip went on sale today (happy Valentine’s/Sonic the Hedgehog Day to you and yours). If I had to venture a guess, it would be that Samsung is still reeling a bit from fallout from the Fold, which found a number of review devices breaking prior to the product hitting the market.

For all of the downside, however, I would argue that coverage that pushed the company to reinforce the product before actually selling it for $2,000 a pop was ultimately a good things. Besides, as was pointed out to me, most if not all of the faulty Folds went sideways before the 24-hour mark.

See also: the Moto Razr. Reviews of the product have started filtering in a week or so after the product hit the market. Seems the company opted not to give out review units until the product was already available (full transparency: I still haven’t gotten my hands on a review unit). The analogy I keep coming back to is movie reviews. If you don’t see any professional reviews by the time a movie hits theaters, that probably doesn’t bode well for spending $10 of your hard-earned cash.

None of this is an indictment of the Galaxy Z Flip, which so far is proving to be a pretty solid device. It’s more a comment on the optics of it all. Give than the handset is roughly the same price as 150 movies, reviews are all that much more valuable to consumers — many of whom are understandably wary after the category’s rocky start.

It’s a shame, because I’ve been enjoying my time with the Galaxy Z Flip. In many ways, this is exactly the device Samsung’s original foldable should have been. For starters, the form factor just makes more sense. The “why” of the Fold was significantly more difficult to explain to those outside the industry (and frankly, many of those inside it, as well).

Anyone who’s ever used a clamshell phone, on the other hand, will immediately get the Flip. You’ve got a roomy 6.7-inch screen that you can snap shut and stick in your pocket. It’s pretty much as simple as that — it’s just that there was a lot of innovation that had to happen in order to get us back to square one with a larger, uninterrupted touchscreen display.

Also of note is the price. Of course, $1,380 isn’t cheap by practically any measure, but that’s a pretty big drop down from the $2,000 Galaxy Fold. The argument that Fold users should have been extra careful with the device given its price point have always struck me as somewhat counter-intuitive. If anything, a device that price ought to have added safeguards built-in.

The Flip has implemented a number of learnings from the earlier product, namely a glass covering, edges hidden beneath (sizable) bezels and an advanced folding mechanism designed to keep dust and debris out. In fact, this time out, the folding mechanism itself is considered a marquee feature. Per Samsung’s press material:

Inspired by a lotus blossom, the Hideaway Hinge is precisely articulated for a satisfying folding motion — even allowing you to adjust the folding angle. Sweeper technology helps repel dirt and dust to keep your folds as smooth as your style.

That’s a marketing way of saying that it’s a lot harder to get crap trapped behind the screen, which could eventually break it. The folding mechanism is, indeed, a nice step up. It feels more robust than the sometimes floppy Fold. You can keep it open at different configurations, like a 90 degree “L” shape for watching videos.

The biggest downside of the more robust mechanism is that it’s harder to flip open with a single hand, owing to resistance, and it doesn’t have as satisfying a snap shut. Those all seem like pretty minor quibbles, to be honest — especially if it means a more robust product. Samsung rates the Z Flip at 200,000 folds — same as the Fold. Of course, in CNET’s testing, the Fold lasted about 120,000 mechanical folds.

Not terrible, and definitely better than the 27,000 or so the Razr made it through. Also, unlike Motorola’s device, the Flip doesn’t make a troubling creaking sound when it opens and shuts. The Razr really does seem awash in first-generation problems. Motorola can’t be pleased that Samsung introduced a competing device with the same form factor soon after its own product and was able to bring it to market roughly a week after the Razr.

I can’t imagine either of these devices will prove huge sellers for their respective manufactures, but if I was Motorola, the Flip would be cause for concern. The Razr went from an exciting new entry in the foldable category to another strike against it when it was released and both consumer and professional reviews began trickling in.

A little bit of the novelty has worn off for Samsung. That’s honestly not a bad thing. By the second generation, the product should no longer be reviewed as a sort of oddity. Instead, it should be regarded as a, you know, phone. And as such, should be subject to the same sort of regular wear any smartphones go through.

In other words, it’s reasonable to expect that it can withstand, say, a hard press from a finger but not necessarily a five-foot drop onto concrete. Again, this is only after a day of use, but so far, so good on that front, at least.

The 21.9×9 aspect ratio is an odd one. The phone is really tall and skinny. Also, the crease is still very noticeable — that much hasn’t changed. But the Flip looks mostly unremarkable when open. I was using it open on the subway ride home and no one seemed to notice (New Yorkers, amiright?). The Fold, on the other hand, drew curious looks every time I used it. If having strangers notice your expensive new phone is an incentive for spending $1,400, then that’s a downside, I suppose.

There haven’t been too many updates to the Android UI to accommodate the new screen paradigm. The biggest change is the ability to have two windows open in a vertical configuration. There’s also Flex model, which is currently limited to a select number of applications. Open, say, the camera app, bend the phone so it holds at a 90-degree angle and the app will adapt. In this case, the view finder moves up, occupying the top half of the screens while the controls take up the bottom. It’s a cool feature, with the device essentially serving as its own kickstand for things like taking selfies or reading the news.

Utilizing it more broadly is going to require more work on Google’s part — and more adoption from app developers. The latter especially is going to depend quite a lot on how many of these devices are actually sold. For now, YouTube is the one pure video app that utilizes it.

That’s fine, honestly, as turning the device to landscape mode and opening it to about 130 degrees is actually an even better way to watch widescreen video. There are a smattering of other tricks here and there. Holding up a palm in selfie-mode, for instance, let’s you snap a photo without touching a button or using voice.

The Flip is the first Samsung device to bake Google’s Duo video calling directly into the UI. It’s a nice choice, too, since the Flex mode is basically built for video calling. Oh, and to answer the question I’ve been asked the most since the Flip was announced: yes, you can end a call by closing the phone. And yes, it is satisfying to give the person on the other end a tactile snap.

The feature is on by default and can be disabled in the settings menu. It won’t work if you have earbuds in, however, because in many cases you’ll want to be using them to chat while the phone is closed in your pocket.

As for the outside, Samsung’s gone decidedly minimalist. The inclusion of an exterior screen was a big selling point on the Fold, but honestly it was too skinny with too small an aspect ratio to do much. The outside of the device has a glossy mirror finish — black in my case. And yeah, it’s a complete fingerprint magnet.

There’s a one-inch display of sorts on the outside of the Flip, but it’s only large enough for small at-a-glance information like battery life and time. It can also show off notifications, but it’s too small to accomplish much without scrolling. If you’ve ever attempted to read a notification on a hybrid smartwatch, the experience is fairly similar.

The little window is actually a touchscreen. A double tap will turn it on, and from there a swipe with show off information like the music you’re listening to. Attempting to click into an app icon for more information on a notification, however, will prompt you to open the phone for more information. Interestingly, the tiny screen also serves as a view finder. Double-clicking the fingerprint reader/power button will fire it up. It’s okay for getting a rough approximation of what you’re shooting (likely yourself), but is pretty useless beyond that.

And honestly, I think that’s fine. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I think that’s actually a strength. In an era when so many of us are grappling with smartphone use, there’s something to be said for the ability to snap the device shut and disconnect for a bit. You can keep streaming music or listening to podcasts, but when the phone is closed, it’s time to engage with the world around you.

Or not. I’m not going to tell you how to live.

Hey, it’s your $1,400. There are plenty of other ways to spend that much money, of course. You could also pick up the Galaxy S20 Ultra — the mega premium version of Samsung’s latest flagship. For that price, you get the same-old boring form factor, coupled with some crazy high-end specs, including a 5,000 mAh battery, 12GB of RAM and the latest Snapdragon 865, versus the Flip’s 3,300 mAh, 8GB and Snapdragon 855+.

The Ultra also has an extreme edge on cameras, including a 108-megapixel wide angel, 48-megapixel telephoto, 12-megapixel ultra-wide and a time-of-fight sensor for depth. The Flip, meanwhile, sports a 12-megapixel zoom lens and 12-megapixel super-wide. There’s no competition, but Samsung’s breadth of imaging experience makes for a solid experience regardless.

Again, my time with the device has been limited, but so far I’m pretty satisfied with the combination of hardware an software options. The shots look good and have a nice color balance even in low light. I can’t see myself using Single Take too often, but the ability to get multiple different shot options with a single press could certainly prove useful for amateur photographers.

Perhaps the most notable omission of all is 5G. While it’s true that a number of other companies (*cough* Apple) don’t even offer the option, Samsung introduced a 5G version of the Fold last year (in select markets) and went all in on 5G with the S20 line. It’s clear that the company took feedback over pricing concerns to heart with the Flip. The device is only available in a single configuration, highlighting the gulf between it and the Fold.

Which is to say, it’s still expensive, but that $500 or so makes a difference. So, too, does more robust build and new form factor. I’m recommending you buy the Flip. We’re still very much in the early stages of foldables here. That said, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Flip over the Fold. And while I haven’t really spent time with the Moto Razr, well, that seems like a slam dunk, too. 

Again, if I was Motorola, I would be considering, at very least, a significant price drop. While the Flip likely won’t convince the skeptical that foldables are the future, it should, at very least, be a heartening indication that Samsung is headed in the right direction.

Students Build Tiny Homes in Vans and Trucks While SF Rent Soars – NBC Bay Area

What to Know

  • At City College of San Francisco, a dozen or so students have formed a community, living off the grid in solar-powered camper vans at the edge of campus
  • The students work on their vans together, sharing tools and building supplies, and say it’s a smarter way to spend their money than San Francisco’s sky-high rent
  • As student homelessness climbs, California lawmakers are looking at ways to provide community college students with housing, or at least safe overnight parking

At the edge of the City College of San Francisco main campus, there’s a small, invisible neighborhood.

Its residents look out for each other, keep the sidewalks clean and sometimes throw quiet dinner parties. They share tools and recipes, help each other out with projects and give a friendly welcome to newcomers.

But of the 60,000-plus students who attend City College, it’s likely that many walk through this neighborhood every day without knowing it’s there. And that’s exactly the point.

“It is a bit of a paradox,” Kyle Murphy said. “Create community, keep below the radar.”

Murphy is, according to his friends, the unofficial mayor of this small and flourishing neighborhood. Dotting the edge of campus along Frida Kahlo Way, somewhere around a dozen nondescript vans and work trucks are hiding the handcrafted tiny homes of City College students, attending school in the face of San Francisco’s record-high rent.

“This, financially and educationally, makes more sense for me,” Murphy explained.

Murphy is in the process of building his second tiny apartment, in the back of what used to be a FedEx truck. Every weekend, he drives down to The Home Depot where he can pick up supplies and get advice from fellow community members working on upgrades to their own homes. 

“Everything that will be in my living space will be designed by me, for me,” he said.

Kyle Murphy has already put up insulation and plywood walls inside this former FedEx truck. Running his power tools off solar panels attached to the roof, he said he’s planning to build a full kitchen, a shower and seating for eight people inside the vehicle’s spacious cargo area. A folding couch will flip down from the wall and conceal his memory foam mattress during the daytime.

For Murphy, who loves to cook, that means a full kitchen with a gas range and a refrigerator. Others have outfitted their vehicles with home theater systems, fine artisan-built furniture and ergonomic workspaces. 

“This used to be, like, an ambulance,” explained Jimmy Wu, who parked his high-roof Ford van next to Murphy’s truck as he worked on upgrades to its solar power system. 

In the next parking space, a fellow student was applying thick coats of polyurethane to a kitchen countertop he’d just cut for his Dodge ProMaster. 

Though they’re all studying different subjects, and all at different points in their schooling, the three students have something in common: they’re all U.S. military veterans, attending school with the help of the benefits package known as the GI Bill. 

“It pays for tuition, and it also pays for housing,” Wu explained. “You can spend it, get an apartment or a house, or you can save it — it’s up to you. I chose to save it.”

This Dodge van houses an ergonomic workspace that converts into a queen-sized bed, and a kitchenette with propane-fired burners. Hot and cold running water will ultimately feed both a sink and a pop-up shower, which collapses into a raised floorboard when not in use.

Veterans who’ve served on active duty since 9/11 are eligible for four years of college tuition, plus a monthly housing allowance that varies based on where they attend school. That allowance is based roughly on the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment near campus. In San Francisco, the monthly housing allowance is a little over $4,000 — the highest in the country, according to a VA spokesperson.

Murphy said he feels that banking the monthly stipend, instead of renting an apartment, “will allow me to save as much money as possible, to set myself up for success when school ends, and the paycheck that comes with it ends.”

Wu and Murphy acknowledge that van life isn’t for everyone. It helps that among their community members, they have military experience in carpentry and electrical work, and plenty of practice sleeping in small spaces.

Jimmy Wu’s home inside this former ambulance is made for cooking, studying and relaxing with movies on a giant foldable projection screen. Powered with rooftop solar panels that charge a bank of batteries under the bed, Wu has enough electricity to keep his laptop charged while making an Instant Pot full of curry.

“I’ve slept in holes on the side of a mountain, hoping someone doesn’t come up the hill in the middle of the night, trying to kill me,” Murphy said. “For me, those inconveniences, to find myself in a more comfortable situation down the road, is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

It’s not only veterans in the community. Michelle Dao and Austin Demott are the most recent additions to the neighborhood, after deciding that comfortable housing wasn’t worth a mountain of student debt. Dao recently graduated, and Demott is working on his bachelor’s degree after transferring to San Francisco State.

“After I graduated, we went on a backpacking trip around Europe and Asia, and that lasted for 6 months,” Dao said. “When we came back to San Francisco after that trip, we realized that it had been really easy to live out of a backpack this whole time.”

After making repairs and upgrades to a well-worn Chevy van, the two say they’ve adopted a minimalist lifestyle that also allows them the freedom to take road trips during winter and summer breaks from school.

The community members say they’ve forged a good relationship with campus police, keep quiet at night, and pick up trash — even if it’s not their own. But the fact remains that they’re parking on a major public street, with cars whizzing by at all hours of the day and night, and relying on campus facilities for some of the things their vans don’t provide.

“Real talk, the biggest challenge is probably finding a bathroom, like, late at night,” Demott said.

Some of those unpleasant realities would be eased, Murphy said, if City College would allow the students overnight access to a large parking lot on campus that currently sits mostly empty after nightfall. 

“To close your eyes at night and get some sleep without all of the noise, I think, would be a huge improvement,” he said, adding that sleep hasn’t come easily for him since his time as an Army combat medic in Afghanistan.

A California Assembly bill, AB302, would require community colleges to allow overnight access to campus parking — and bathrooms — for students who live in their vehicles.

“This is a choice that students in 2020 have to make, that students in 1970 did not,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, the bill’s author. “AB302 was meant to be a band-aid, it was meant to be a short-term solution, to help these students now — while we also work on the bigger, long-term solution of building more housing.”

In a survey published by The Hope Center in 2019, 19% of California community college students who participated said they had experienced homelessness in the past year, and 20% of those students — or 4% overall — said they had lived in their vehicles. 

“19% of community college students experiencing homelessness is a crisis,” Berman said.

In researching the bill, Berman said he held community meetings in several California cities to understand why so many students were resorting to non-traditional living quarters.

“They were kind of deciding between the necessities of life — housing, food, healthcare, education — and they were prioritizing education over housing, which was amazing that they had the strength to do that,” he said.

Berman has placed AB302 on hold after he objected to amendments it received in the Senate, amid strong opposition from the California League of Community Colleges. At issue, he said, was how much it would cost the schools to implement safe overnight parking.

A spokesperson for the City College of San Francisco said the school’s leadership is still discussing the future of the parking lot and isn’t ready to offer a comment. 

Until they hear from college administrators, Murphy and his van-dwelling neighbors say they’ve created a workable situation — one that works, in part, because they’re doing it together.

“I don’t think it would be doable if it was just me alone in a van on the side of the road,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he knows that to be true because he’s lived it. In a downward spiral of self-doubt, he said, he emerged from his vehicle one day about two years ago and knocked on the window of a truck with New York license plates just up the block. Making friends with the couple living inside, he said, was a turning point.

 “That kind of started the community that we have now here, and it is that community that we founded that has made this doable,” he said.

Students Build Tiny Homes in Vans and Trucks While SF Rent Soars – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

What to Know

  • At City College of San Francisco, a dozen or so students have formed a community, living off the grid in solar-powered camper vans at the edge of campus
  • The students work on their vans together, sharing tools and building supplies, and say it’s a smarter way to spend their money than San Francisco’s sky-high rent
  • As student homelessness climbs, California lawmakers are looking at ways to provide community college students with housing, or at least safe overnight parking

At the edge of the City College of San Francisco main campus, there’s a small, invisible neighborhood.

Its residents look out for each other, keep the sidewalks clean and sometimes throw quiet dinner parties. They share tools and recipes, help each other out with projects and give a friendly welcome to newcomers.

But of the 60,000-plus students who attend City College, it’s likely that many walk through this neighborhood every day without knowing it’s there. And that’s exactly the point.

“It is a bit of a paradox,” Kyle Murphy said. “Create community, keep below the radar.”

Murphy is, according to his friends, the unofficial mayor of this small and flourishing neighborhood. Dotting the edge of campus along Frida Kahlo Way, somewhere around a dozen nondescript vans and work trucks are hiding the handcrafted tiny homes of City College students, attending school in the face of San Francisco’s record-high rent.

“This, financially and educationally, makes more sense for me,” Murphy explained.

Murphy is in the process of building his second tiny apartment, in the back of what used to be a FedEx truck. Every weekend, he drives down to The Home Depot where he can pick up supplies and get advice from fellow community members working on upgrades to their own homes. 

“Everything that will be in my living space will be designed by me, for me,” he said.

Kyle Murphy has already put up insulation and plywood walls inside this former FedEx truck. Running his power tools off solar panels attached to the roof, he said he’s planning to build a full kitchen, a shower and seating for eight people inside the vehicle’s spacious cargo area. A folding couch will flip down from the wall and conceal his memory foam mattress during the daytime.

For Murphy, who loves to cook, that means a full kitchen with a gas range and a refrigerator. Others have outfitted their vehicles with home theater systems, fine artisan-built furniture and ergonomic workspaces. 

“This used to be, like, an ambulance,” explained Jimmy Wu, who parked his high-roof Ford van next to Murphy’s truck as he worked on upgrades to its solar power system. 

In the next parking space, a fellow student was applying thick coats of polyurethane to a kitchen countertop he’d just cut for his Dodge ProMaster. 

Though they’re all studying different subjects, and all at different points in their schooling, the three students have something in common: they’re all U.S. military veterans, attending school with the help of the benefits package known as the GI Bill. 

“It pays for tuition, and it also pays for housing,” Wu explained. “You can spend it, get an apartment or a house, or you can save it — it’s up to you. I chose to save it.”

This Dodge van houses an ergonomic workspace that converts into a queen-sized bed, and a kitchenette with propane-fired burners. Hot and cold running water will ultimately feed both a sink and a pop-up shower, which collapses into a raised floorboard when not in use.

Veterans who’ve served on active duty since 9/11 are eligible for four years of college tuition, plus a monthly housing allowance that varies based on where they attend school. That allowance is based roughly on the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment near campus. In San Francisco, the monthly housing allowance is a little over $4,000 — the highest in the country, according to a VA spokesperson.

Murphy said he feels that banking the monthly stipend, instead of renting an apartment, “will allow me to save as much money as possible, to set myself up for success when school ends, and the paycheck that comes with it ends.”

Wu and Murphy acknowledge that van life isn’t for everyone. It helps that among their community members, they have military experience in carpentry and electrical work, and plenty of practice sleeping in small spaces.

Jimmy Wu’s home inside this former ambulance is made for cooking, studying and relaxing with movies on a giant foldable projection screen. Powered with rooftop solar panels that charge a bank of batteries under the bed, Wu has enough electricity to keep his laptop charged while making an Instant Pot full of curry.

“I’ve slept in holes on the side of a mountain, hoping someone doesn’t come up the hill in the middle of the night, trying to kill me,” Murphy said. “For me, those inconveniences, to find myself in a more comfortable situation down the road, is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

It’s not only veterans in the community. Michelle Dao and Austin Demott are the most recent additions to the neighborhood, after deciding that comfortable housing wasn’t worth a mountain of student debt. Dao recently graduated, and Demott is working on his bachelor’s degree after transferring to San Francisco State.

“After I graduated, we went on a backpacking trip around Europe and Asia, and that lasted for 6 months,” Dao said. “When we came back to San Francisco after that trip, we realized that it had been really easy to live out of a backpack this whole time.”

After making repairs and upgrades to a well-worn Chevy van, the two say they’ve adopted a minimalist lifestyle that also allows them the freedom to take road trips during winter and summer breaks from school.

The community members say they’ve forged a good relationship with campus police, keep quiet at night, and pick up trash — even if it’s not their own. But the fact remains that they’re parking on a major public street, with cars whizzing by at all hours of the day and night, and relying on campus facilities for some of the things their vans don’t provide.

“Real talk, the biggest challenge is probably finding a bathroom, like, late at night,” Demott said.

Some of those unpleasant realities would be eased, Murphy said, if City College would allow the students overnight access to a large parking lot on campus that currently sits mostly empty after nightfall. 

“To close your eyes at night and get some sleep without all of the noise, I think, would be a huge improvement,” he said, adding that sleep hasn’t come easily for him since his time as an Army combat medic in Afghanistan.

A California Assembly bill, AB302, would require community colleges to allow overnight access to campus parking — and bathrooms — for students who live in their vehicles.

“This is a choice that students in 2020 have to make, that students in 1970 did not,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, the bill’s author. “AB302 was meant to be a band-aid, it was meant to be a short-term solution, to help these students now — while we also work on the bigger, long-term solution of building more housing.”

In a survey published by The Hope Center in 2019, 19% of California community college students who participated said they had experienced homelessness in the past year, and 20% of those students — or 4% overall — said they had lived in their vehicles. 

“19% of community college students experiencing homelessness is a crisis,” Berman said.

In researching the bill, Berman said he held community meetings in several California cities to understand why so many students were resorting to non-traditional living quarters.

“They were kind of deciding between the necessities of life — housing, food, healthcare, education — and they were prioritizing education over housing, which was amazing that they had the strength to do that,” he said.

Berman has placed AB302 on hold after he objected to amendments it received in the Senate, amid strong opposition from the California League of Community Colleges. At issue, he said, was how much it would cost the schools to implement safe overnight parking.

A spokesperson for the City College of San Francisco said the school’s leadership is still discussing the future of the parking lot and isn’t ready to offer a comment. 

Until they hear from college administrators, Murphy and his van-dwelling neighbors say they’ve created a workable situation — one that works, in part, because they’re doing it together.

“I don’t think it would be doable if it was just me alone in a van on the side of the road,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he knows that to be true because he’s lived it. In a downward spiral of self-doubt, he said, he emerged from his vehicle one day about two years ago and knocked on the window of a truck with New York license plates just up the block. Making friends with the couple living inside, he said, was a turning point.

 “That kind of started the community that we have now here, and it is that community that we founded that has made this doable,” he said.

Building on the Momentum of the 30th Anniversary, DKNY Celebrates Halsey’s Unique Bond and Intimate Connection to New York Hustle and Drive for Spring 2020 – Yahoo Finance

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — New York. The city of wild dreams and infinite energy where genre-bending pop star Halsey harnessed her creativity and personal style to propel her career. Last season, the global artist and powerhouse celebrated DKNY’s 30th anniversary with a buzzing collaboration that, like New York, was multi-dimensional, energetic, and unexpected.

For Spring 2020, Halsey launches a new chapter in her DKNY story. New York is more than a city for her, it is the forefront of her career. It is her invisible partner who challenged, inspired and pushed her to achieve the absolute most. New York has an irresistible calling letting all who embrace it seize opportunity and be who they want to be.

“Life is confusing when you’re young and figuring it all out. The only thing that could pacify the hunger and bewilderment of my adolescence was finding my calling. The “thing” that makes me wake up everyday determined to evolve into a better version of myself than I was yesterday. I partnered with DKNY to reminisce on my days in New York when I first began songwriting and performing. For all of its success and excitement and the terrifying days in-between where I wondered if this path was truly mine to call my own. What’s your calling?” -Halsey

Shot, styled, and filmed by the all female team of Zoey Grossman, Zoe Costello, and Nathalie Canguilhem, the campaign exudes a fresh urban attitude that builds on iconic DKNY styles. Multimedia artist and model David Alexander Flinn joins the campaign in sleek, sporty day-to-night pieces – the ultimate New York uniform. Fueled by the city’s bustling rhythm and vibrant attitude, the Spring 2020 #DKNYCALLING collection offers wear-everywhere, elevated essentials perfect for the season.

Minimalist, fluid lines pair with razor-cut fits for the ultimate urban wardrobe combining uptown elegance and downtown edge. Classic trench coats and leather jackets are defined by clean whites, bursts of citrus, and flashes of neon. For men, neutral tailored suits and relaxed knits contrast with camo prints and sunny yellows. The collection embodies Halsey’s and Flinn’s rebellious, youthful style.

The campaign, infused with blue tones and dramatic washes of purple and pink, uses the New York City subway, the beating heart of the city, as a backdrop. The dream-like hues of the campaign undoubtedly pay homage to New York City’s alluring drive to dream big and change the world.

Everyone can be a part of the campaign using new DKNY branded filters that transport users to iconic Times Square to try on their favorite spring collection styles. Halsey’s voice declaring ‘New York calling’ alongside her own hit ‘Graveyard’ is a soundtrack that resonates throughout the season and allows users to be a part of her personal dialogue with New York City.

The campaign will culminate in a worldwide movement for all dreamers to share their calling in DKNY-branded phone booths in major cities globally – New York and London – beginning in March. Participants will be able to physically pick up the phone in each phone booth to enter for a chance to win special prizes tied to their respective city.

Find your calling, make your mark. #DKNYCALLING.
DKNY Spring 2020 launches February 14th globally.