“Morale is when your hands and feet keep on working when your head says it can’t be done.”
– Benjamin Morrell

As you know, from previous notes we’ve exchanged, I really do try to steer clear of political disputes. My clients hail from all sides of the political spectrum, and it does me no good to tick off a bunch of friends to somehow “prove” my bona fides to another.

But I think we can all agree that our political system isn’t what it should be. That said, I still believe we live in the best country on the planet–despite how disappointed we can be with individual politicians. And with these individuals, I think it’s fair and appropriate to point out that “promises” made on the campaign trail sometimes must bow to facts on the ground.

Why do I write about this?

Well, it’s now in the news that President Obama may indeed be contemplating a tax increase on middle-class families, despite his promises to the contrary: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/2-Obama-officials-No-apf-2491158742.html?x=0&.v=7 . Again, people may (vigorously) disagree about the particular economic strategy of raising taxes in the midst of a downturn, but after working with the IRS for years, I’ve discovered this unassailable truth…

The government really likes to have your money.

And sure–putting yourself in their shoes, it’s hard to blame them! Of COURSE individual bureaucrats and politicians believe that THEIR particular initiatives deserve funding–it’s normal human nature, right? It’s just that the funding comes in the form of being taken from your and my paycheck.

Which is why we do what we do here.

I’m all for paying my fair share–I just hate when I see families hit with a “stupid tax” because they didn’t know all the relevant tax code…or because they worked with somebody who didn’t take the kind of time we take.

On to this week’s Personal Strategy Note: now’s a great time to get the education you’ve been putting off to advance your career. Once you’re done (hopefully) the job market will be MUCH better than it is now! I’ve got some money-saving tips for you this week…

“Real World” Personal Strategy
Go Back To School…At No Charge!

Recessions often see a “boom” in adult education, and this one’s no different. But if you’re seriously considering how to get ahead, do NOT leave behind these strategies to get the thing paid for!

Many scholarships don’t have age limits, which makes anyone eligible to apply. Check out www.Fastweb.com and www.SuperCollege.com to search for available scholarships.

Professional and Trade Organizations
Local and national professional and trade organizations often offer grants and scholarships. For instance, The San Diego Foundation (http://www.sdfoundation.org/grant/ ) has several scholarships for adults. Begin by doing an Internet search for your particular locale and specialty. You can also contact your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they have any information on local grants and scholarships.

Colleges and Universities
Many schools offer scholarships created especially for adults who are returning to school. Check a school’s individual Web site or contact the admissions office for details.

The Government
Individual states may also provide grants to help people attend re-training programs that they sponsor. Information and links can be found at www.careeronestop.org . In addition, the Obama administration has launched www.opportunity.gov to help unemployed adults return to college. The site includes information on a variety of federal student aid programs.

A large number of employers still offer tuition assistance, especially if you can show how the educational program will help your job performance. For adults who want to return to school while they are still working, this is another avenue to consider.

The Bottom Line

With a little research and a little effort, returning to school may be a whole lot easier…and a whole lot cheaper…than you think!

Hope this helps!