Kayvon Coffey’s Story
At 19, Kayvon already grasps how to budget and save, and he understands that money doesn’t buy happiness. A dedicated violinist since age 6, Kayvon is now majoring in economics at Dartmouth College while continuing to study music. He hopes to one day combine these interests into a financially sound yet fulfilling career.
OYO: How did you feel about money growing up?
Kayvon C.: Since the beginning of high school, my parents made it a big part of my education to make sure I understood money and knew that it was important. They’d give me a monthly allowance of $20 or $30, and I’d have to budget for the entire month. Anything I wanted that wasn’t a necessity would be part of that budget.
OYO: Did you have a job in high school?
KC: My parents’ ideology was that I shouldn’t work a typical job that high school kids get, like scooping ice cream. I should instead get an internship or do some kind of musical thing that would look good on a résumé so I could hopefully get a better job down the line.
OYO: What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
KC: I think it was a music score, a piece I’d really liked for a long time. My teacher wouldn’t let me play it yet because it was too advanced, but I’d been saving up, so I bought it.
OYO: Will you pursue music as a career?
KC: It’s definitely something I love and really want to do. But I have trouble committing to music simply because it’s not a very stable lifestyle financially. If I can find a way to combine it with my other interests that allows me to lead a more stable life, which would be wonderful. If not, I’ll always play music but it may not be my career.
OYO: When do you think you’ll feel financially independent?
KC: Probably when I start paying my own rent. When graduation comes, I’ll be on my own. But until I pay for my own expenses, that’s what really makes the switch.
OYO: Is there any aspect of money that feels scary or threatening?
KC: I really look forward to going out into the world and supporting myself. But that also has a flip side that’s a little scary, like, what if you screw up and lose all your money?
OYO: Looking ahead, what is your personal philosophy about money?
KC: Money is necessary but not sufficient for happiness. I know a lot of people who have a lot of money and are still very, very unhappy. And I know people who have less money and are extremely happy. Basically, money will buy you safety and time to explore other things that could lead to a more meaningful life.
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