Financially fit

December 11, 2015

Future financial adviser Gregory Choong is already making good money decisions

Gregory Choong wants to help people be healthy – financially healthy – so they can make the most of the resources they have. He’s learning how to make that happen at Johnson County Community College.

As the son of immigrants from Malaysia, Choong was supposed to be an engineer. His parents, who both work long hours in food service, wanted him to help others while making a good living.

As a student at Blue Valley North High School, he worked hard, bringing in credits from five different advanced-placement classes. It was in his junior year, though, that he “found” finance, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Smart with money

“I want to be a financial adviser,” Choong said. “My parents got by, but I saw how difficult it was.”

His compared financial planning to personal training. One helps your financial health. The other helps your physical health. But either way, Choong said, “you get in a rut, and you need help getting out,” he said.

By attending JCCC, he’s already setting a good example for his future clients. Tuition and fees are low, and living at home brings down his costs even more.

Choong also won the President’s Scholarship, which covers the costs of tuition and fees for 12 credit hours.

He said some influential teachers pointed him to JCCC. “(They) kept saying, ‘Go to Johnson County.’ And now I’m glad I listened,” Choong said.

A ‘kick into adulthood’

His older sister attends the University of Kansas, and she, too, received scholarships, which kept her student debt at a manageable level. Her goal is to teach biology at the high school level.

Choong said he’d like to finish up at KU, too, but financially, starting at JCCC just made sense. It made sense for other reasons, too.

“I just wanted JCCC to be my kick into adulthood,” he said.

With the help of the Presidential Scholarship, it’s been a gentle kick.

“If I hadn’t gotten the scholarship, I probably still would have come to JCCC, but I’d definitely have loans. And my parents would have to work even harder than they do now,” he said.

He would have been forced to work longer hours on the job, too, just to pay for school.

“I would have had to miss out on a lot of experiences here at JCCC,” he said.